Arts Academy Faculty

Mike Caruso

Guitar Instructor

Mike is a graduate of High Point University.  He has been teaching guitar in the triad area for 20 yrs.  Mike performs on multiple instruments, primarily guitar and saxophone. He has taught a variety of musical instruments over the years. He currently has an active band program.  His bands are comprised of guitar, bass and drum combos and perform mostly rock and blues music.

Donna Caulder

Art Instructor

Donna received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from High Point University.  She was a career teacher at Central Davidson Middle School and taught art for seven years at Stoner Thomas School.  In addition, she has taught numerous individuals and groups in the area.  Some of these students were taught at her own Southern Earth Art Studio.  She also taught classes for Arts United of Davidson County, Davidson County Community College, Central Carolina Home School organization, and the Arts Discovery Camps.

Catie Hitzigrath

Voice Instructor

Catie Hitzigrath​ is the Choral Director at Lexington Middle School in Lexington, NC. She earned a Bachelor of Music in music education from Meredith College and a Master of Music in music education from Appalachian State University. Before coming to Lexington, Hitzigrath taught both middle and high school in Winston Salem and Wilkesboro, NC. In addition to teaching public school, she has spent many years involved with children’s choirs across NC. She is an active member of NCMEA and currently serves as the Technology Facilitator for the middle school choral section. She also serves on the board for NC ACDA as both the Middle School/Jr High Repertoire & Resources Chair and the Youth R&R Area Coordinator. Hitzigrath spends her summers working as a staff member for the North Carolina Institute in Choral Art (NCSICA) at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC.

Helen Rifas

Harp Instructor

Helen earned degrees in music from Reed College and the University of Oregon School of Music.  She is principal harpist of the Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Salisbury Symphonies.  She has performed with the Piedmont Chamber Singers, Hickory Choral Society, Piedmont Opera, Greensboro Opera and Roanoke Opera and has served as guest accompanist for many church choirs throughout the area. Ms. Rifas is adjunct harp instructor at Wake Forest University and harp clinician at Reynolds High School.  In studios in the Winston-Salem and Statesville area, she provides Suzuki and traditional harp lessons to students of all ages.  

Lisa Timberlake

Art Instructor

Lisa is a graduate of UNC-CH. She has worked as a teacher in a variety of capacities. In addition to teaching visual arts she has worked as a language therapist with children that have reading disabilities. Prior to joing the Arts Academy at Grace, Lisa taught at Davidson Academy where she develped and implemented the art curriculum for students from K-8th grade. For several years, Lisa served as the volunteer program coordinator for G.R.A.C.E. Girls, an after school enrichment program for at risk 6th grade girls. She is also a visual arts teaching volunteer fo the Arts for Life program at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. She enjoys being a part of the Arts Academy and providing opportunities for students to explore their creativity.

Luci White

Violin and Viola Instructor

Luci was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where she began studying Suzuki violin at age 8. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University, where she studied with Almita and Roland Vamos. Luci has completed Suzuki teacher training through Book 8 at the Chicago Suzuki institute and the American Suzuki Institute. She performs with the Greensboro Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, and Salisbury Symphony. Luci teaches at the Music Center of Greensboro and the Arts Academy at Grace. (

Bobbie Wright

Piano Instructor

Bobbie is a graduate of James Madison University where she earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a piano major. She taught music in elementary and middle schools in Lynchburg, Virginia and at Lake Norman Charter Middle and High Schools in Huntersville, NC where she was the choral director and accompanist. Mrs. Wright is a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers and has taught piano lessons to students of all ages in Virginia and North Carolina for over 30 years. She currently serves as pianist and choir director for the contemporary service at Macedonia United Methodist Church in Southmont.

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