Miss Pam has been teaching dance and piano since 1970. She is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College where she majored in piano and voice and earned a B.S. in Music Education. Miss Pam opened Parkside Academy in 1986. She both has studied and incorporates the Vaganova Method of ballet in her teaching and is a member of Dance Educators Association. Miss Pam is also a member of the Brandywine Harp Orchestra, which has performed both locally and abroad. Miss pam has been on staff at the Rocky Run YMCA since 2008 where she teaches Senior Strut and Silver Sneakers classes. She is also an avid wildlife photographer and presents lectures in the Tristate area. Miss Pam teaches Dance with Mommy, Kinder Dance, and Elementary 1 at PAMD. She resides in Delaware County with her husband Scott, her Mother in Law Miss Kit, her collie Ollie and her 3 cats. Her grown daughters, Kota and Crystal, both help with the production of PAMDs recitals in June.
Owner & Director of PAMD / Dance and Music Instructor
Miss Laura graduated from Virginia Intermont College in 1988 with a B.A. in Ballet. At college, Miss Laura was a member of the Bristol Ballet Company. She has been a full time instructor at the Academy since January of 1988. She has traveled abroad with Missionary Outreach Fellowship to Barbados (2003) and London (2004) where she taught worship dance. Miss Laura founded The Parkside Performing Arts Company which performs the Nutcracker annually. Under her direction the competition team has performed several times in Disney World and on cruises to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the western Caribbean. The competition team has been awarded the title of ‘Best Debut School’ at Access Broadway, Valley Forge in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. It also won the title ‘Best Debut School’ at Access Broadway’s National Competition in 2019. Miss Laura has choreographed for Hedgerow Theater and The Media Theatre. Miss Laura teaches Kinder Dance, Elementary 1, Elementary 2, Elementary 3, Ballet Levels 1-3 and Teacher’s Course.
Founder & Director of PPAC / Dance Instructor
Dance Instructor: Kinder Dance & Elementary I
Miss Debbie has over 40 years of experience in dance, musical theater, and drama. She holds a Masters Degree and a Doctoral Degree in Developmental Psychology from Temple University with a concentration in the study of developmental aspects of learning and memory in children and adults. She has taught for Penn State, Rowan, West Chester, Villanova and Widener Universities, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Education at Widener University. Miss Debbie is a former consultant for The Educational Information and Resource Center in New Jersey. She is also the author of 20 professional publications on topics such as teaching strategies, discipline, cognition, critical thinking, moral development and moral injury. In the past, Miss Debbie has taught our musical theater class and country line dance classes. She often teaches father-daughter, mother-son wedding dances upon request. She is the choreographer of PAMD’s annual Daddy-Daughter Dance and has been teaching at PAMD since1995. Miss Debbie was a finalist for the Widener University College Excellence in Teaching Award. She was also recognized as Parkside’s Outstanding Citizen in 2012. She is the mother of 4 PAMD alums: Renee, Aaron, Kaylyn and Kristin.
Tap Dance Instructor
Miss Tamera has been dancing at Parkside Academy since 2004 and teaching at Parkside Academy since 2009. She is a dedicated tap dancer who specializes in rhythmic tap. Miss Tamera has choreographed several award winning dances. In her spare time, Miss Tamera enjoys traveling to tap festivals all over the east coast. Miss Tamera graduated from West Chester University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree. She is a first company member of the Lady Hoofers, a professional tap dance company, and also serves as the youth company rehearsal assistant. She is the proud dog mom of her German Shorthaired Pointer, Maverick.
Irish Dance Instructor
Miss Jamie McPeak is our instructor of Irish Dance. Miss Jamie is a graduate of Rosemont College and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She currently holds a PA teaching certification for grades K-6. She has been involved in Irish Dance since age 6. Jamie has competed on both national and world stages with the McDade Cara School of Irish Dance and has been teaching with McDade Cara for many years. Miss Jamie is very excited to be back at Parkside Academy!
Intro to Modern Instructor
Miss Rachel Dutton is a 2020 graduate from Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School. She has been dancing at Parkside Academy since she was 2 years old and she completed PAMD’s 3 year teacher training course in 2019. She has assisted with all levels of classes and has choreographed for both class dances and competition dances. She won the All Star Performer Award at Access Broadway, Valley Forge in 2017. Miss Rachel is excited to be teaching the Intro to Modern class again this year!
Elementary 2 and 3 Instructor
Miss Heather is a Parkside Academy alumna (class of 2016), and is
returning this year to teach Elementary 2 and Elementary 3. She holds a B.A. in dance from Muhlenberg College, where she studied choreography, performance, and dance education. Throughout her college career, she choreographed for and performed in a multitude of theatre and dance productions, most recently working as the Dance Captain in a production of The Bacchae. While attending Muhlenberg, she was the Vice President of the Muhlenberg Dance Association and a member of the Muhlenberg Jazztap Ensemble. She was also a teacher for Muhlenberg Community Dance Center, where she taught Jazz and Tap classes to elementary and middle school students. In addition to her training at Muhlenberg and Parkside, she has attended various summer training programs including the American Dance Festival summer intensive. She has attended two American College Dance Association conferences, and had her original work “Resurfacing” showcased at a 2019 conference. Last November, she performed in an original piece at the Koresh Come Together Dance Festival in Philadelphia. She is currently in process with Philly based choreographers Megan Flynn and Natalie Gotter. She is looking forward to returning to the PAMD community, where she first discovered her lifelong passion for movement!
Director of Student Relations / Asst. Director of P.P.A.C. / Jazz and Modern Dance Instructor
Miss Sarah teaches Level 1, 2 & 3 Jazz and Modern classes. Miss Sarah has a B.F.A. in Dance with concentrations in modern and jazz from Temple University and an M.S. in Higher Education from Drexel University. She is currently an Undergraduate Admissions Counselor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she recruits students from the city of Philadelphia and the West Coast! Miss Sarah is an alumna of PAMD and began instructing in 2007. You will also find her working closely with Miss Laura as the Assistant Director for Parkside Performing Arts Company. In 2017 Miss Sarah won “Best Choreographer” at PPAC’s Access Broadway Competition. She has helped lead the way to PPAC’s multiple ‘Best Debut Dance Studio’ Regional Division titles and a ‘Best Debut Dance Studio’ National Division title! Miss Sarah appeared in various lead roles for both PPAC and PAMD productions while she was a student. She has also performed with PPAC on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines sailing to Bermuda and at Walt Disney World. Miss Sarah has performed professionally in multiple Philadelphia Fringe Festivals as well as in New York while a member of Infatuation Dance Company.
Hip Hop Dance Instructor
Miss Kyla Preto is our instructor of Hip Hop. Miss Kyla is a dancer, choreographer and teacher who has technical training in many styles of dance since the age of two. Her training includes Touch of Class Dance Studio, The Dance Teacher’s Training Program, Koresch, Dance Educators of America and the New York City Dance Alliance. She has multiple certifications in Dance and Fitness, with her favorites being Jazz Funk/Hip hop & Pilates. Miss Kyla is a highly regarded teacher for local companies, and dance and fitness centers for all ages from toddlers through seniors. She has been the recipient of numerous regional and national awards for her performances and choreographic work. Her artistic collaborations include creating, choreographing and staging many dance recitals, holiday shows, parades, competition routines for cheer and dance, musical theatre shows and half-time entertainment performances. Miss Kyla is excited to return to dance after the births of her children and is committed to building strength through movement for the next generation of dance artists.
Sydney Gambrill is joining the PAMD staff as an office intern. She danced here at PAMD for many years. Miss Sydney and her family lived in Haiti for about 2 years to assist in earthquake relief and missions work. She intends on using this internship as an opportunity to learn the behind-the-scenes roles of running a dance studio in hopes of one day opening her own. Miss Sydney will be attending Delaware County Community College and majoring in Business.
Musical Theatre Instructor
Miss Elizabeth Mercier graduated from the Center for Performing and Fine Arts in 2020. She completed the 3 year teachers course program at Parkside Academy, and has worked with students of many different ages. Miss Liz has been in voice training since she was 5 years old and continues her training at her performing arts school. She won the Broadway Star for “Best Vocalist” at the Valley Forge Access Broadway competition in 2018. Recently, she has had lead performances at both her school and regional theaters around the area, such as MainStage Center for the Arts. Miss Liz plans to continue her education in college next year, majoring in theatre and minoring in business. Along with her passion for musical theatre, Miss Liz also loves dancing and the color pink.
Kelli O’Dell is our office Secretary. She began dancing at PAMD at 4 years old and graduated from PAMD (and Strath Haven High School) in 2010. She has traveled with PAMD on three cruises, was a member of PPAC’s competition team, and has danced in many Nutcrackers as both a student and alumna. Miss Kelli went to Albright College where she graduated in 2014 with Bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies. She has worked with and taught students from preschool through middle school, and she is currently a Creative Writing teacher at the Philadelphia Charter School for the Arts and Sciences. She loves supporting PAMD students by cheering them on at competitions and taking photographs at Nutcracker and Recitals. Miss Kelli also enjoys taking tap classes and occasionally running the music for classes as DJ Kizells!