Since 2012, Clarissa Pilder Byer has been the head teacher of an English section of pre-kindergarten at Avenues. (In the immersion classes, nursery through grade three, children spend half their days in a class conducted in English and half in a class conducted in either Spanish or Mandarin Chinese.) Married this summer, she now has a new name and in the fall will become the head of grade of the nursery grade. From 2005 to 2012, Clarissa was the head teacher for a class of four- and five-year-olds at Merricat’s Castle School in New York City, where she designed, planned and executed a thematic curriculum for an inclusive classroom of both children developing normally and those with special needs. She developed and implemented differentiated instruction and behavioral plans to meet the individualized education program goals for each child.
On her experience with Ruhala Center and working with Mark…
“I was lucky enough to work with Mark Ruhala for over 6 years. I learned more about discipline, hard work and cooperation there than in any other school environment. Our work at the studio also gave me an incredible sense of responsibility. I knew that other people were relying on me and that I needed to take ownership of my actions. I also gained confidence, and was able to better express my thoughts and feelings. I learned both how to be a leader as well as a follower. These skills have informed the way I work with colleagues and have helped me throughout my career. I am so grateful for the education I received through my work with Mark Ruhala.”
Ruhala Performing Arts Student from 1992-1999
Currently lives in New York City:
His thoughts about training with Mark Ruhala:
“I have been extremely fortunate to have had Mark Ruhala as my friend and teacher for the past 15 years. He is a teacher thatinspires each student to find what is intrinsically beautiful in themselves and learn to express it with both generosity and confidence. He himself is a constant student–questioning his own process and pushing himself further for the profit of his students. I was fortunate to begin my relationship with Mark from a very early age. Already knowing that I wanted to spend my life in the theater, Mark quickly recognized the potential that I had, and helped direct me towards a path of living and working in authenticity.
Mark nurtured my dancing and later supported my desire to create my own work. He has always given me, as he does to all he teaches, the safety to explore and break new ground. I continue to turn to him at every junction in my life, and am always reminded of the integrity of his essence. What is perhaps most important is that while Mark inspires his students to achieve technical prowess and utterly human performances–he applauds the best in each of us without us ever needing to step onstage.”