Our Board & Institute Directors
The Board and Directors of the Atlanta Suzuki Institute are actively working to promote and provide opportunities for equity and diversity in our administration, faculty, student body, and program offerings. We stand committed to creating spaces where all are welcome, valued, respected, and included. We hope to create a model that other Suzuki Institutions may follow.
Erin Cassel received her Bachelor's degree in Cello Performance from University of Louisville with Paul York and her Master's degree in Cello Performance with pedagogue Martha Gerschefski, after studying with Felix Wang at Vanderbilt/Blair School of Music's preparatory program in high school. She has studied cello pedagogy with renowned teachers such as Melissa Kraut (Cleveland Institute of Music), Tanya Carey (Music Institute of Chicago), Gilda Barston (Music Institute of Chicago), and Rick Mooney (National Cello Institute).
Erin runs a private Suzuki Cello program in Atlanta, is the Artistic Director of the Newton County Youth Strings program, is Adjunct at Morehouse College, and is the current Board President of the Atlanta Suzuki Institute. She is a chair-sponsored member of Savannah Philharmonic and a member of Atlanta's eclectic cello quartet Celli.
She lives in Atlanta with her restaurateur husband, two kids, dog, and cat.
Erin has attended training on racial equity through A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth (Decide2Inspire), Ibram Kendi's talk "How to Be Anti-Racist", and Michelle Black's "Action During this Historic Movement: What Can I Do?". She has committed to joining the year-long Pillars of Change group through "A Long Talk" to further her education on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Rebecca Floyd has over 15 years of teaching experience, much of it on the faculty of the University of Georgia Community Music School where she has taught viola, violin, Suzuki group classes, and parent education courses. From 2012- 2014, Rebecca taught at Parker Elementary School’s Suzuki Strings Program in Houston, Texas. At Parker, a Title I Magnet school, she taught 50 private violin students from kindergarten to fifth grade, as well as daily group classes. She is currently the orchestra director at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, Georgia. Rebecca has taken Suzuki training with Lynn Baughman, Edward Kreitman, Betsy Stuen-Walker, Carrie Reuning-Hummel, Laurie Scott, and Teri Einfeldt. She is excited to be a part of the Atlanta Suzuki Institute board and hopes to help ASI as it strives to be an anti-racist organization making the Suzuki Method accessible to all children and families.
Virginia Sloan, a violinist and native Atlantan, is known for her work with young children using the Suzuki Method. While implementing other styles and methods as well, Virginia incorporates a wealth of performing experience, training and her love for children into her approach. Though she teaches all levels, she has found her niche with younger children.
Virginia completed Long Term Suzuki Pedagogy training at the University of Tennessee under teacher trainer Debbie Goolsby. Over the years she has continued her training with world renowned teachers such as Doris Pruecil, Dr. William Starr, Ed Kreitman, Louise Wear, Linda Fiore, Carrie Reuning-Hummel (Every Child Can), and Nancy Lokken (Suzuki Principles in Action).
In 1991 Virginia founded Atlanta Suzuki Violin in Buckhead where she currently teaches. In 1999 Virginia hosted the Georgia Suzuki “Play-In” which was part of an international event held in honor of Shinichi Suzuki after he died at the age of 99.
In 2018 Virginia joined the staff at the William Pu Music Academy in Johns Creek while continuing to work with and maintain her studio at Atlanta Suzuki Violin. She is registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, has served on the board of the Suzuki Association of Georgia and is currently a member. Virginia has participated in “The Long Talk” and the Pillars of Change program.
Kamal Carter, grandson of a Tuskegee Airman, inherited a spirit of service and advocacy. After graduating from Hampton University, with a Biology Pre-Med degree, Mr. Carter became a research fellow at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Kamal turned down two full scholarships to medical school to pursue his passion in science education. Throughout his career in education, Mr. Carter has held several leadership positions and received numerous awards such as serving on The State Superintendent's Teachers Advisory Council. However, what he is most proud of is volunteering everyday, for the past 10 years, to eradicate college access inequality. As co-founder of the nonprofit, Step Ahead Scholars, he is dedicated to disrupting educational inequality and systemic racism. Recently Mr. Carter began volunteering with A Long Talk to tackle dismantling white supremacy head on.
Edward Kreitman is the founder and Director of the Western Springs School of Talent Education. Mr. Kreitman is known throughout the world as a guest clinician at Suzuki institutes and workshops and is a registered Teacher Trainer of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Mr. Kreitman is the author of Teaching from the Balance Point - A Guide for Suzuki Parents, Teachers, and Students and Teaching with an Open Heart - A Guide for Developing Conscious Musicianship
An advocate for social justice, Mr. Kreitman is passionate about creating racial and economic diversity within the Suzuki world. To further this work, he has participated in the Institute of El Paso Diversity and Resiliency Anti-racism training, The American Bar Association 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge, The New York Times Magazine 1619 Project, and A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth, an anti-racism activation experience. Mr. Kreitman was a member of the inaugural GEMS (Growing Equitable Music Studios) training with Clara Hardie, Director of the Detroit Youth Volume.
Liesl McWhorter is an Atlanta native who has been studying music for over twenty years. She first began her music studies at age six under Atlanta Symphony Orchestra retiree, Pat Vas Dias. Following her involvement in multiple youth symphonies throughout middle and high school, she continued her studies and received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Agnes Scott College. Currently, Liesl teaches and performs in and around the Atlanta area. As a product of The Suzuki Method, her goal is to continue learning as a Suzuki teacher, inspire young people to find the same joy in music that she experienced, and to encourage more musicians of color in the classical community.
Karla Tievsky is founder and director of Intown Suzuki Studio in Atlanta Georgia. She received Suzuki violin teacher training with numerous Teacher Trainers including Kimberly Meier Sims, Edward Kreitman, Teri Einfeldt and Edmund Sprunger. A strong proponent of continuing education, she is committed to ongoing teacher training during Institutes and throughout the year.
Karla received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and taught in Elementary Schools in University City Missouri for 5 years. After raising three children and also teaching violin in a number of private schools, she took Suzuki teacher training and opened her Suzuki studio in 1999. Over the years, she has played in both professional and community orchestras and continues to play chamber music for pleasure and enjoyment.
Karla has served on numerous boards and is a past president of Suzuki Association of Georgia. She is the past president of the Atlanta Suzuki Institute, and remains on the ASI Board as a member-at large. Karla enjoys gardening, gourmet cooking, and traveling to far-away places.
Dr. Rachael Fischer began her Suzuki violin studies at the age of four, and currently maintains an active schedule as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. Rachael maintains a Suzuki violin studio at the University of Georgia Community Music School, and has completed training courses with Linda Case, Teri Einfeldt, Kimberly Meier-Sims, and Carrie Reuning-Hummel. She is also a past president of the Suzuki Association of Georgia. In addition to her involvement in the Suzuki community, Rachael is Assistant Professor of Music at Georgia Gwinnett College. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her saxophonist husband, Stephen, and their cat, Sophie.
Kristin Jutras began her Suzuki violin studies at the age of 4 with Anastasia Jempelis at the Eastman School of Music. After receiving Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and a Performer's Certificate from Eastman, she spent 16 years as a full-time orchestral musician in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
In 2006, she and her husband joined the faculty at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Muisc, where Kristin became the director of the Community Music School, fulfilling her passion of teaching young students using the Suzuki Method. In 2015 she was awarded a Level 1 Certificate of Achievement from the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), and became an SAA Violin Teacher Trainer in 2019, allowing her to establish Suzuki Violin long-term training courses at the University of Georgia in 2020.
Along with the rest of the Atlanta Suzuki Institute Board and Directors, Kristin has committed to seeking opportunities to dismantle racism, and increase diversity, accessibility, and inclusion within her local community, and in all organizations to which she belongs. She has participated in A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth, and is now a member of the year-long Pillars of Change group to further commit to continued anti-racism education and action. In 2021, she was awarded a $35,000 grant by AthFest Educates to fully fund a Suzuki program in a local elementary After School Program, attended primarily by Black and Latinx low-income families. It is her greatest hope to someday demonstrate in her community that Every Child Can! truly have access to the Suzuki Method.