Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meet our team: Lawrese Brown

Lawrese BrownWhat is your role at The Engaging Educator? I’m an engager.

Where are you from and how did you make it to NYC? I’m from New Jersey, but I’ve always worked in NYC. Right now, I’m also a Masters Student at NYU.

When did you first start to love Improv? I started to love improv two years ago after my first class. It became addictively refreshing to have a space where you’re supposed to be playful and mistakes are welcome.

What is something you want to Improv(e) on? Work/life balance. I’m convinced that’s not a real thing until post 40 or maybe when you have children – whichever comes first.

Where is your favorite place in the city? There’s a thrift shop near 8th street that I visit at least once a week. I’m certain my entire current wardrobe is from there.

What’s a not-so-secret skill you have? I love to cook. I don’t have time to cook as much as I’d like but my specialty dishes are eggplant parm with vegetarian spaghetti, stuffed peppers with quinoa and BBQ salmon cake wraps.

“AaahhhOOOgah” makes me feel fearless

“Yes, and” to late night carry-out Domino’s pizza, 75 degree weather, positive thoughts and new friends.

Meet our team: Minna Taylor

Minna TaylorMeet one of our newest Engagers, Minna Taylor of Energize Your Voice!

What do is your role at The Engaging Educator? I am an Engager!

Where are you from and how did you make it to NYC? I am from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and transplanted to NYC for college at NYU.

When did you first start to love Improv? I was obsessed with “who’s line is it anyway” as a kid. I was then exposed to live in-person improv in my hometown at my local coffee shop. I really started to love it as a practitioner when I was exposed to Grotowski in high school. What a visionary!

What is something you want to Improv(e) on? I would love to improv(e) my ability to approach strangers with confidence.

Where is your favorite place in the city? The Long Island City waterfront.

What’s a not-so-secret skill you have? I cook like a boss.

“AaahhhOOOgah” makes me feel Fearless.

“Yes, and” to coffee in bed on a cold Sunday morning.

Meet Our Team: Jill Frutkin

Jill Frutkin
-What do is your role at The Engaging Educator?
I am a new Engager, teaching Improv, Presentation Skills and Storytelling!

-Where are you from and how did you make it to NYC?
I’m originally from Western Massachusetts, moved to NYC for college and never left. My love affair with New York is going strong.

-When did you first start to love Improv?
I think I love it a little more everyday – seeing the ways it creeps into my daily life and the way I deal with embracing the present.

-What is something you want to Improv(e) on?
I want to find more joy in new situations! Also I really need to revisit driving an automobile.

-Where is your favorite place in the city?
Riis Park Beach, The Public Theatre, Prospect Park

-What’s a not-so-secret skill you have?
I can move my chin in a kind of unhuman way.

“AaahhhOOOgah” makes me feel freedom!

“Yes, and” to stovetop espresso, live music, green vegetables, and the library.

Learn more about Jill at www.jillfrutkin.com

Meet our Team: Erin Badenhop Moncada

ErinBadenhopMoncada-What do is your role at The Engaging Educator?
I joined EE in May 2015 as the Administrative Coordinator: I manage the calendar, liaison with venues, schedule instructors, serve as first contact for client inquiries, schedule pithy social media posts, write press releases, and exhaust the possibilities of Google Sheets!

-Where are you from and how did you make it to NYC?
I’m originally from Petaluma, CA, but spent most of my adult life in Seattle. I moved to NY in August ’14 with my husband, who’d lived here a while ago, and wanted to move back. I was game to try a new coast, and we took 6 magical days driving across the US to settle in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

-When did you first start to love Improv?
I did a fair bit of improv as a kid in various theatre groups, but it wasn’t until college that I really dove in. I joined the traveling drama team my Junior year, presenting improv shows and workshops regularly up and down the west coast. That was 11 years ago, and it was the last time I’ve formally done improv, though I use improv skills, onstage and in every day life, constantly.

-What is something you want to Improv(e) on?
I want to sharpen my marketing skills, and I’m always looking for ways to improve my efficiency and organization! And working for idea machines like Jen challenges me to dream big, and not limit myself.

-Where is your favorite place in the city?
I’m still learning about so many awesome places, but for now, there’s 2: The Brooklyn Flea Market, and Oak Wine Bar in Williamsburg.

-What’s a not-so-secret skill you have?
I was a competitive Irish Step Dancer until age 19. It’s mostly a party trick these days, but I can still bust some moves.

“AaahhhOOOgah” makes me feel excited and scared in all the best ways!

Help us engage SXSW 2016!

We need YOUR help…
To Engage the SXSW community in 2016!

Earlier this year, we presented at SXSWedu 2015, the premiere conference for the future of education (check out this post on our takeaways from the experience!). In 2016, we want to return to SXSWedu with 2 Improv based workshops. AND we are aiming to present at SXSW Interactive, which focuses on cutting-edge technology and digital creativity. You can help us return to Austin!

We have submitted 3 panels in consideration, and we would love for you to 1) VOTE FOR and 2) SHARE our submissions.

– Vote for our SXSWedu 2016 submissions:
Improv(e) The Writing Process
Improv(ing) Presentation Skills

– Vote for our SXSWInteractive 2016 submission:
Improv and Design Thinking for Collaborative Teams

Please click, vote (By September 4th!) and share these links with all you can. We appreciate your support!

Thank you – and all of the AaahhhOOOgahs!

Jen + all of us at The Engaging Educator

Wonder what happens after 150+ hours of Improv? This.

Jen shares reflections on a month of teaching improv basically non-stop in this article for Huffington Post. Check it out!

And you can see footage from our Tween Improv Camp, Teen Sketch Camp, and Teen Improv Camp!

Meet Our Team (Special Edition!): Andrea Kamins

Our 3rd “Meet Our Team” interview is a special one: Andrea Kamins, a long-time Engager at EE, is embarking on a new and exciting adventure: Attending graduate school in Ann Arbor, MI! We look forward to her continued involvement in EE, and wish her the best.

A Note From Jen: I met Andrea when she took a Level One class ages ago – I was getting on my feet with the company, just started pretty much. Even though EE was just beginning, I had taught improv A LOT, so I can recognize when someone “gets it”. Andrea got it from day one.

Over the next few months, she kept taking class with me. I had cycled through a lot of potential teachers…big surprise, people pursing acting and improv generally aren’t good fits for us…and I kept thinking about Andrea “getting it”.

Totally remember sitting down for dinner with her-as friends, to both vent about life, guys, NYC, and basically asking her “out” – to see if she wanted to teach for EE. It always feels like a relationship when I ask potential teachers if they want to be teachers. The company is so based on the connection between the teacher and the audience, and I knew Andrea had that level of detail and focus.

Fast forward to now – she’s one of the teachers that constantly gets amazing reviews. From her constructive feedback to her personality, it’s fantastic. As a friend, she’s been insanely supportive of my own NYC departure, and I know this is exactly the right thing for her.

I personally wish her the most heartfelt congrats, good luck and wishes for success. We’re definitely going to miss her, but know she’ll be involved in EE regardless of location. Ann Arbor, MI improv classes, anyone?

Meet Andrea Kamins:
-What do is your role at The Engaging Educator? I teach Improv for Professionals and provide career coaching for people looking to change careers or advance in their current jobs.

-Where are you from and how did you make it to NYC? I grew up in the Boston area and landed in NYC after college.  Now, after many years of living in New York, I’m taking a break from the big city and heading off to Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend graduate school this fall!

-When did you first start to love Improv? I had friends who did improv in college and always enjoyed watching, but didn’t think about trying it for myself until a few years ago.  I don’t think of myself as a “performer”, but when I heard about improv classes through The Engaging Educator, my ears perked up.  I’ve worked in education for over 12 years and thought taking an improv class could really improve my skills as a teacher and facilitator.  I loved it from the very first class and have been involved with learning (and teaching) improv ever since!

-What is something you want to Improv(e) on? I’m always trying to stretch myself, both personally and professionally.  I’m about to make a big change by moving to a new town and I’m trying to improv(e) my ability to embrace change, even when it feels a little scary.

-Where is your favorite place in the city? Greenwich Avenue in the west village.

-What’s a not-so-secret skill you have? I’m a really good listener.  (Try me!)

“AaahhhOOOgah” makes me feel able to take myself less seriously!

“Yes, and” to round foods.  (Think about it!  Bagels, cupcakes, pizzas)