who we are


Aaron Goldschmidt, founder & director

Aaron Goldschmidt received his BFA in acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Experimental Theater Wing with a minor in child psychology. While maintaining a successful writing and performing career, he worked promotions for a major record label, coordinated special events for a bustling NYC hot spot, and even appeared on CBS’ The Amazing Race. True fulfillment, however, was discovered in working with children and families and he dedicated himself to teaching full-time. After a year in San Francisco apprenticing at the prominent California Street Preschool, Aaron took his newfound appreciation of the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophies and moved back to NYC. He then spent 6.5 years as the head teacher at The Educational Alliance’s Parenting and Family Center of the 14th Street/Sol Goldman Y in Manhattan’s East Village, where he developed and taught classes for children ages 1-5 and their families, as well as helped to run the department. Most notable was his popular 2×2 program, a year-long bridge class for 2 year olds, the success of which helped to solidify his reputation. Since then, Aaron has consulted and taught for a variety of businesses including the JCC of Manhattan and Citibabes, where he held the position of creative director and head teacher. Among other responsibilities, he created, implemented and ran CitiSchool, a renowned preschool program. Aaron’s multidisciplinary background directly affects his approach to early-childhood education and is evident in the classroom. His energy and passion, combined with his arts-based curriculum, have inspired both children and adults for years creating an outstanding reputation and large client following. Both his popularity and visibility in the community have lent themselves to securing him a local “celebrity status” with children, parents, and caregivers. Aaron’s stature as a respected and savvy educator has also been recognized by the global children’s publisher, Scholastic. He sits on the Teacher Advisory Board to the school Book Clubs, is an invited educator to the Scholastic Early Childhood Summit, and continues to help the company keep their finger on the pulse of what is happening in the urban early-childhood classroom. Aaron lives in Manhattan.

Emily Tafur, operations coordinator, educator

Emily holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Long Island University and an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology. Originally hailing from Colombia, Emily loves to bring her globalized and multi-cultural background and native Spanish tongue into everything she does! She has worked in theatre, multimedia production, content creating, podcasting, and as a Spanish interpreter and teacher. She has a passion for education and loves creating for and sharing with children. Emily has been with Shine since 2016 and helped create Shine’s Listillos program – Shine’s original literacy and creative-based Spanish classes. She especially loves designing custom scavenger hunts for Shine’s unparalleled parties and events.

Jayme Taylor, social media consultant

Jayme’s interest in family and parenting issues took shape in college during her time as project manager on youth-related topics for the K-12 Coordinated Health Department at the Diocese of Tucson. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a MA in Near Eastern Studies, she moved to Manhattan and shortly thereafter found herself immersed in the kid-world of New York City. She worked as the marketing coordinator for a private family membership club in SoHo, where she was the editor-in-chief of their blog and bi-annual magazine prior to becoming a social media consultant for NYC children’s companies and schools like Shine, Dental Associates for Kids Only, and Green Ivy Schools. When she’s taking a break from keeping up with the latest NYC kid trends and events, you can find her at her day job – hanging out with dinosaurs at a prestigious cultural institution on the UWS.


Danielle Balog, educator

Danielle earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and English from the University of Rhode Island in 2009 and was a student at The Art School at Old Church. In addition to teaching private art classes, she has been an early childhood educator for over four years with experience in both preschool classrooms and specialty art classes at the River School and Citibabes. Danielle spends her free time traveling, drawing, doing yoga, and seeking adventure!


Anita Boyer, educator

Anita Boyer found a passion for dance over 25 years ago and has been pursuing it ever since. She started her career as a dance and theatre educator when she moved to the East End 10 years ago.  It was there she founded a non-profit theatre education and performance organization, Our Fabulous Variety Show, and has produced over 40 works on stages from the John Drew Theatre at Guild Hall in East Hampton to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, as well as site specific and virtual original pieces.

Anita originally studied dance at Opus Dance studio in Ashland, Ohio and was a founding member of their Tap Company. She has trained at Broadway Dance Center, Steps, and FlamencoVivo in NYC and currently trains with her mentor, Riverdance’s Aaron Tolson. Anita brings technique, history, and stories from these classes to her own work, spreading the joy and importance of tap to her students.

Carolina Fuentes, musician/educator

Carolina Fuentes is a high energy drummer, percussionist, and DJ based in New York. She is the creator of “Drumanity”, a rhythm and movement workshop for adults and children that uses positive affirmations to increase self-confidence. She performs regularly in the Hamptons, New York City and was recently a featured artist at Envision festival in Costa Rica with her project Mila Tina. She also performs regularly with Dan Bailey Tribe, Abracadabra Field Trip, and Outernational.

Lesley Gold, educator

Lesley has been working with children for over 15 years either as an educator, tutor, coach, camp director, water sports instructor, party coordinator and babysitter.  She has a bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a masters degree in Students with Disabilities. Lesley is positive, outgoing and has a passion for watching children learn and building their self confidence. She loves the outdoors and is a strong believer that children benefit from learning, exploring and playing outside year round. She has taught and tutored children ranging from Pre-K to 6th grade over the past 15 years. Prior to taking this school year off to stay home with her newborn son, Lesley taught Pre-K for 5 years at a school in Sagaponack. Being a part of the community is important and the children enjoyed our beach and park clean ups. Lesley lives year round in Sag Harbor.

Will Leet, musician/educator

Will is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, guitarist, and children’s musician. Originally from Connecticut, he graduated from UConn with a degree in business and music. For the past five years he has worked with multiple kids programs including Kidville, Stomp and Shout, Sunny Songsters, and most recently, Shine! Will also has his own original band under his name, and plays guitar in a few different NYC bands, including AOFine, and Imperial Cities. Will is passionate about writing music, performing for kids, and playing his guitar.

Nick Moran

Nick Moran, musician/educator

A New York musician & singer/songwriter, Nick brings his love of great bands and legendary artists to Shine classes and parties. Kids will rock, roll, shake, and sing in his highly interactive and entertaining classes. Kids and their adults will jam along to classic artists & bands like The Rolling Stones, Journey, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and more.

Amanda Mullin, Instagram coordinator

A graduate from Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in Musical Theater, Amanda grew up in the Hamptons and is still very connected to the East End. She has experience in management, communications, design, development, marketing, and events. Her recent transition into arts education and administration combines her love of performing with a desire to inspire young artists and support businesses that do.  Recently, she worked with Broadway Bound Kids and believes the arts can make a huge impact on children, as they have for her and her life.

Jess Nacinovich, musician/educator

Jess Nacinovich has been facilitating music and movement with children and their families in NYC as Jesse Jams for over a decade. When she’s not rocking out with her guitar at birthday parties, Jess is a board certified occupational therapist for the NYC Dept of education. She utilizes her diverse background in the performing arts and expertise in childhood development to create a unique and engaging experience for adults and children alike!

Megan Payne, educator

Megan Payne has been working with children for over fifteen years as an elementary school teacher, literacy specialist, and tutor. After graduating from Lycoming College with a B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education, she later pursued her Master’s Degree in Literacy Education. Megan has had the pleasure of working at a charter school in the Hamptons, which met the needs of both general and special education students. Megan believes in educating children in a creative, loving environment filled with fun ways that address the needs, as well as interests of children both academically and socially. Megan currently lives in the Hamptons where she spends much of her time with her family.

Sarah Rinaldi, educator

Sarah received her BFA in Art Education from Manhattanville College and a Masters of Studio Art from The College of New Rochelle. Sarah has taught art classes to all ages since 2008 and applies her love of different materials and techniques to her lessons.  For the last 8 years Sarah has worked at Citibabes in NYC. Her time at Citibabes allowed Sarah to grow from an enrichment teacher to director of programs where she was able to create curriculum and work with both staff and families to create a one of a kind experience. Along with Citibabes, Sarah teaches at the Rye Art Center as well as Manhattanville College.  Sarah manages to still find time to create her own art while also chasing her 11 month old around the home. As an artist Sarah works in a variety of mediums such as printmaking, watercolor, textiles, wood burning, acrylic and oil to name a few.

Christina Sahr

Christina Sahr, educator

Christina Sahr has been working with children in a variety of settings for over fifteen years. After graduating from Furman University with a B.A. in Art History/Studio Art and graduate work in Museum Education at George Washington University, she worked in the art departments of Princeton University and The Parsons School of Design and as a Photo Research Editor at Redbook Magazine. It was while her son and daughter were growing up, however, that she found her true passion was working with, nurturing, and being inspired by children in creative environments. She spent countless hours as director, prop mistress, and scenic designer in their school district’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts and eventually became a teacher at a Montessori pre-school and the Long Island instructor for a mobile art studio. Presently she is an Art Specialist for The Central Queens Y where she conceives of, develops, and teaches art classes in an after-school program at various elementary schools throughout NYC. Chris credits growing up in the Hamptons, surrounded by the stunning landscape and beautiful natural light, for instilling in her at a young age an innate connection to the arts and is thrilled to begin her association with Shine as an instructor in the summer Hamptons pop-up camp.

Emilie Stoll, educator

Emilie Stoll received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance at Connecticut College in 2017. Though the focus of her studies was in dance, Emilie found interest in Human Development and French, both deepening her passion for people and culture. Emilie took a semester off from school in the Fall of her Junior year to live on her own and dance in Paris, France. She credits those few months as the most rewarding and adventurous experience of her life. Her time away also taught her how the arts bring people together in such welcoming and open-minded ways. More recently, Emilie became a certified children’s yoga instructor, giving her the opportunity to teach and spread her love of movement to the next generation. On her free time, Emilie loves being outdoors, whether walking through scenic Central Park, or the serene beaches in East Hampton, NY.

Meredith Wright

Meredith Wright, educator

Meredith Wright is a creative play specialist and focuses on movement and music in early childhood programs. For over ten years she has taught, developed curriculum, and served as a consultant for play programs throughout New York City. Meredith received her BA in Theatre Arts at Barnard College/Columbia University. In addition to teaching, Meredith partners with the PJ Library Foundation to promote early literacy through a storytelling program and also writes and performs original music with her family project Sweetbeatz: soulful songs for city kids.

Meredith is a dance enthusiast and studies Caribbean Dance and culture in NYC. She is a featured vocalist with Oyu Oro Experimental Dance Ensemble.