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Music Preparatory School



Dr. Roosevelt Newson

Dr. Roosevelt Newson is passionate about music and loves teaching and performing. Armed with a doctorate in Performance and conservatory-trained (Peabody Conservatory and The Juilliard School), Dr. Newson has performed internationally as a soloist and as a featured artist with several major U.S. orchestras. In his teaching, Dr. Newson stresses the importance of building on a solid technical foundation, learning to enjoy oneself at the piano, and embracing opportunities to perform for others. Several of his students have won competitions; some have been awarded college scholarships and graduate assistantships while others have been successful in their respective entries into the professional arena.

John Peters

John Peters is a pianist, composer and teacher. He holds Bachelors and Master’s degrees in music composition from Georgia State University where he also studied jazz, electronic music, and pedagogy. He has taught piano in Atlanta for more than 25 years as well as theory/ear training, arranging/composition, electronic music, guitar and hand drumming. John has composed and arranged for himself and his students and has experience composing music for video and other media. He has directed music at First Baptist of Doraville and played piano for services at Absalom Jones Episcopal chapel. He is well experienced at preparing students for recitals, auditions and exams, RCM, ABRSM, NFMC, and National Piano Guild. John enjoys improvising and collaborating with other musicians and students while encouraging creative practice and performance.


Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller *

Tenor Kurt-Alexander Zeller began performing in his native Pacific Northwest at age eight. Since then, he has sung throughout the United States and has appeared on German television, winning acclaim for his memorable characterizations as a singing actor in opera and music theatre. He has toured Austria in a Kurt Weill revue, performed weekly “operatic soap operas” on the streets of Portland, Oregon, under a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and spent two seasons in the company of the Tony® Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  He has been stage director for several dozen academic productions of music drama with companies in Oregon and Georgia. A licensed Andover Educator since 2001, Dr. Zeller is co-author of What Every Singer Needs to Know about the Body.

Dr. Zeller holds undergraduate degrees in Theatre and Music from Southern Methodist University and graduate degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati.  He is now Director of Opera and Vocal Studies and Coordinator of the Division of Music at Clayton State University.

Dr. Francisca Vanherle Maxwell *

Soprano Francisca Vanherle Maxwell studied at the Royal Conservatorium in Brussels, department of the Erasmus Hogeschool, where she obtained a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Arts and a certificate in Vocal Pedagogy. In 1997, she was granted a Fulbright Scholarship and continued her education at the University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with a DMA in Voice Performance in 2002. A Belgian native, Francisca worked as a free-lance singer in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. She was staged in many operas and operettas, with lead roles in L’Incorronazione di Poppea, Dido and Aeneas, Rinaldo, Alcina, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Eine Nacht in Venedig and Paganini. She equally portrays herself in oratorio, recitals and chamber music. Francisca immigrated to Atlanta in 2009 and held a position as artist affiliate at Agnes Scott College before joining the faculty at Clayton State University this fall.

Clarinet, Saxophone

Stacey Houghton

Stacey Houghton has been an adjunct instructor at Clayton State University since 1997, where he maintains the jazz studies program, directs the Clayton Community Big Band and CSU Jazz Combo, and teaches individual students on classical clarinet and saxophone. At CSU Music Preparatory School, Mr. Houghton teaches students of all ages, as well as students of any instrument on jazz style and improvisation.

Being a professional musician and teacher in the Atlanta area since 1992, in his private studio Mr. Houghton offers instruction on flute, recorder, clarinet, saxophone, jazz studies, and improvisation to students of all ages and levels from the elementary school to university. He frequently prepares advanced students for auditions to university music programs, the Georgia All-State Bands, and the All-State Jazz Ensemble.

Violin & Viola

Dr. Annalisa Chang *

Dr. Annalisa C. Chang is Assistant Professor and Director of Music Education at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. She received her Ph.D. in Music Education from Florida State University. She also holds degrees M.M. and B.M. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow.

At CSU, Dr. Chang teaches music education courses, string methods, applied violin, and supervises student teachers. Her research interests include string teacher education, the inclusion of students with exceptionalities in string classrooms, music education for students in underserved populations, and traditional (folk) music instruction in the schools. Her research has been presented at state, national, and international music education conferences. Additionally, she has been a clinician at state in-service conferences, the American String Teachers Association National Conference, and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.  


Bridget Long

Bridget Long Mrs. Bridget Long graduated from Goshen College, a small liberal arts college in Northern Indiana in 2001 where she focused on violin and music education.She completed her Master’s in Music Education at the University of Georgia in 2007.For 20 years Ms. Long has taught students ranging in age from 4 years old-adult.Ms. Long began teaching string orchestra with Clayton County Public Schools in 2002.She is currently the orchestra director for the Fine Arts Magnet Program at M. D. Roberts Middle School. Ms. Long was named Teacher of the Year at M. D. Roberts Middle School and was a County Finalist in 2014.Ms. Long also teaches Henry for Music’s Youth Orchestra United in Stockbridge, GA.She has a passion for teaching beginning and intermediate students and loves watching students growing musically.Ms. Long is a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the American String Teachers Association.When she is not teaching, Ms. Long is creating memories with her children, Isabel and Connor.  

Guitar and Other Fretted Instruments

Dr. William Hearn


Ismail Akbar

Ismail Akbar received his Bachelors of Music degree in cello performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Masters of Music from Mercer University. Mr. Akbar has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout Panama, the Bahamas, Russia and Italy. As a graduate of the prestigious Talent Development Program, he performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Spano playing the Boccherini Cello Concerto. As Cello Teaching Artist of the Atlanta Music Project and Director of Social Impact for Challenge the Stats, Akbar is an advocate for social change through musical excellence.

* Full-time Clayton State faculty