Jason Fein Owner
Jason's musical journey started very early. He started piano lessons at the age of seven and it wasn't long after that he decided he wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Still not feeling like he had found his true musical calling he decided to give his school chorus a try when he entered high school. Things started moving fast from there. He formed his first band as the lead singer and by the time he graduated high school he went away to college on a vocal performance scholarship. While in college he formed his first touring band called Next Best Thing. They had some success including two albums and a song placed in a very popular motorcycle DVD that pressed over 500,000 copies.
After college NBT broke up and Jason was left searching for a new musical outlet. Little did he know he would soon find it in multiple forms. He co-founded The Run Around. In the ten years The Run Around has been together they have played shows all across this country, sold thousands of albums, have a successful music video and shared the stage with such national acts as Tom Petty, Bowling For Soup, Local H, Blues Traveler, Alien Ant Farm, Mest, Head Automatica, Lucky Boys Confusion, Nine Days, Gavin Degraw and many, many more. In the midst of all this, Jason was hired on as a vocal instructor at another School of Rock in the area. It wasn't long before he was recognized for his ability to direct and put on an impressive live show and was asked to direct the performance program. From there he went on to be the General Manager.
He learned that he loved the School of Rock mission and everything it represented and decided he wanted to make School of Rock his life. Geneva has always been a favorite town of his and just minutes away from where he grew up so he thought it was a great place to set up shop and start the next great chapter of his life. He can't wait to help mold the next generation of rock n' roll royalty.
Dierdre Kelleher General Manager
Didi comes to School of Rock Geneva after having been a middle school teacher for 20 years. She earned her degree in Theatre from Loyola University Chicago, and returned to her alma mater to teach high school English and Drama and direct their Theatre Department. She did some work in film during this period, and you can see her briefly in the background of the Fugitive. She was even the stand-in for Kathy Bates in Prelude to a Kiss! From there she went on to teach Language Arts, Ancient History, and in a STEM lab, and she worked as a costumer in her school’s performing arts program.
She learned about School of Rock when her nephews enrolled shortly after opening in 2015. She saw first hand how SoR fills the need for kids not interested in sports. She’s thrilled to now be in the Fox River Valley at School of Rock Geneva.
Bailey Poczos Music Director, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano and Singing Teacher
Bailey is School of Rock Geneva's Music Director, as well as a multi-instrumentalist instructor teaching guitar, voice, bass, and piano. She sings and plays guitar for an indie rock band called Johnny Personne, and has played with various bands and groups ranging from punk to classical to rock. Some of her recent bands include Joy Shooters (guitar) and The 48s (vocals).
Bailey grew up with both classical and practical training, taking private lessons in guitar, viola and violin, and was raised in an orchestral program at ECC. She has enjoyed her last five years teaching and directing at School of Rock, and can't imagine doing anything else!
Pete Steele Drum Teacher
Since the beginning of time there have been drummers, but none quite like Pete Steele. Pete began his musical adventure at 13. He has been in the “pit”, marched in parades, covered most of the musical venues in the Fox Valley Area, has had countless sessions in the studio and has played in over 50 musical theatre productions ranging from school plays to playing a Christmas show with The Rockettes to professional theatre productions. He spent a good chunk of his 20's traveling around the world (twice) entertaining fans from all over via cruise ships, he finds himself anchored close to his roots of Western Chicagoland.
Pete studied under Tom Hipskind at Columbia College Chicago and Gregory Secor from Grand Valley State University. Currently you can find Pete entertaining audiences with several local bands as well as Howl at The
Moon’s traveling show featuring two pianists and a drummer.
Pete is delighted every time he walks in the door to School of Rock Geneva to share his expertise with many already talented young musicians. Teaching over the last few years has revived his passion and creativity with his instrument and looks forward to any other challenges that are silly enough to stand in his way!
Daniel Covarrubias Guitar and Bass Guitar Teacher
Dan first became interested in music when he listened to his siblings’ cd collection of Alternative rock. He was drawn to the variety of music he was hearing from video games. He was always humming tunes he heard and making his own. He began making his own music using Garageband. By the end of high school Dan had about ten full length albums of songs he wrote himself, based on his personal experiences. He wrote music as my way to express his own way of doing things.
Dan’s dad and brother In-law inspired him to take those accapella-riff styled songs to the guitar and practice techniques to build speed and memorize the guitar neck. Eventually he started playing his own shows and singing, sometimes even with a loop-pedal! He began to study Music Theory, and chart building and sight reading became more and more natural. Soon he was pulling off shows for Geneva’s Art Guild, Open Mics weekly, fundraisers, and joining a handful of cover bands and original rock bands.
Dan has been a guitar teacher and a bass teacher at School of Rock Geneva since our opening in 2015. Breaking down songs and feeling the uniqueness and togetherness of each part has always been his thing; and watching his students improve over the time has been fulfilling.
Joe Thomason Guitar, Bass Guitar, and Drum Teacher
Joe is a Guitarist, Bassist, and Drummer who began his musical journey when he was 11 years old. After first picking up a guitar in a middle school music class, he immediately became fascinated with the world of music. He began teaching himself songs from some of his favorite bands, and during this time he also picked up bass and drums, constantly wanting to further his musical ability.
He first started taking lessons to become a better player, but then after learning about music theory, he wanted to know what made music sound the way it does. This led Joe to attending Elgin Community College, and learning more advanced music theory as well as music production there. While in school Joe also started to explore the live performance side of music, and enjoyed sharing his music with anyone willing to listen. Now Joe hopes to share his passion for music with as many people he can.
Ephraim Bugumba Guitar, Piano and Singing Teacher
Ephraim is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He has appeared on American Idol, NPR and has been featured in multiple newspapers. This past winter he was also honored with the Spirit of Folk award at the Folk Music Awards 2020 by Folk Alliance International in New Orleans. Born into a royal family, Ephraim came to the US as a Congolese refugee and also goes by the name Storyteller.
Ephraim is a vocal instructor, piano teacher, and guitar teacher, and also leads our Rock 101 performance groups and our Little Wings at School of Rock Geneva.
Jared Ortega Singing Teacher
Jared Ortega is an undergrad at Northern Illinois University studying Recording Arts, under the direction of Grammy award-winning recording engineer Dan Nichols. Jared studied vocal performance with an emphasis in choral conducting at NIU for 3 years before switching degrees. During his time at Northern, Jared has performed across the DeKalb and Chicagoland area, even making it to the Lincoln Center performing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jared brings a range of vocal genres to the table, from classical to jazz to rock and funk. He is excited to work with the students at School of Rock, and watch them grow into well-rounded musicians. Jared is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Geneva, and he also has two chonky cats named Izzy and Mr. Business.
Mike Ullegue Guitar and Bass Guitar Teacher
Mike taught himself to play guitar when he was in high school and has been playing guitar for 30 years. Mike graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a degree in Performance Arts focusing on Jazz drums and percussion. Mike also has several years’ experience working as a guitar technician. Currently Mike plays lead guitar in Wedding Banned. Wedding Banned came together 15 years ago and they play 100+ shows each year throughout the Midwest. Over the last 30 years Mike has played in bands varying in style from rock, jazz to country. In addition to guitar, Mike has played drums, electric bass, upright bass and he is a vocalist. Mike also dabbles in ukulele and piano.
Mike has been a guitar and bass teacher at School of Rock Geneva for about a year and looks forward to teaching the next generation of rockers!
Antonio Foster Piano Teacher
Piano accompanist, band leader, and musician, Antonio Foster comes from St. Louis, MO and attends Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He was inspired to learn to play piano by his grandmother, who was a church pianist. Throughout his career, Antonio has played for churches, jazz groups, and has done production work for a few artists.
Today he continues his Jazz Studies degree at Northern Illinois University, teaches our Rookies program, and is a piano teacher at School of Rock Geneva.
Kyle Gentile Drum Teacher
Kyle Gentile has been a performing musician for nearly 20 years. Starting off as a self taught drummer he recorded his first EP Drift, with his high school band Auxiliary at the age of 16. He went on to receive a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies from Capital University’s music conservatory. While attending University he was head of the percussion work study crew, performed all over Ohio with various rock/jazz/chamber groups, and premiered a taiko piece for PASIC while touring Texas with a chamber percussion ensemble. Kyle went on to become a teaching assistant at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Thompson Jazz studies program. Here he received a Master of Music degree in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy.
Over the years he has performed with artists of all genres all over the US as well as internationally. Some of these artists and groups include; Brad Goode, Safety Squad, Maria Schneider, Jonathan Saraga, Brian Casey, and Bill Boggs. Kyle recently returned to the northwest suburbs and continues to perform, record, and teach in various settings. Kyle teaches drums at School of Rock Geneva.
Chano Cruz Guitar and Bass Guitar Teacher
Born and raised in St. Louis, bassist Chano Cruz has always been surrounded by culture and music in his life. He began gigging full time in high school in the city and became known as a versatile electric and acoustic bassist in the area. Once leaving for college he began expanding his career all over the Midwest. He has toured all over the country and outside as well. He is currently finishing his undergraduate degree in Bass Performance at NIU and has already begun his career as a touring musician and educator.
Jillian Swanson Singing Teacher
Jillian is an operatic soprano, is a native of Schaumburg, Illinois. Since graduating with her Masters in Vocal performance from the State University of New York at Fredonia, she has appeared in numerous operatic and musical productions throughout the country. Jillian’s past credits include Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes as the Second Niece, while covering the lead Ellen Orford, Sondheim’s A Little Night Music (Anne Egerman), Menotti’s The Consul (The Foreign Woman), Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (Lucy), and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Dido). In the past Jillian has worked with The Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Nickel City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Jillian is a vocal instructor at School of Rock Geneva and Schaumburg.
Angela Filippin Studio Coordinator
Angela Filippin has always been drawn to the arts. She participated in choir and small theater performances during middle school and high school, graduating from Kaneland High School in 2010. After putting her creativity aside in hopes of following a career path that seemed conventionally responsible, she Googled “good business schools” (truly), and months later was accepted into the College of Commerce at DePaul University as a Business Major.
After two years at college, she discovered that the four year university wasn’t a great fit for her, so she took one of many leaps of faith and dropped out of school. She was so happy to be able to explore Chicago and meet all types of folks who made all types of art - unlike anything she had ever experienced coming from Elburn, Illinois! She was introduced to the Chicago DIY music scene, met jazz musicians at coffee shops, and stopped to talk to buskers on the street. She worked as a server for years all over the city; her favorites being places with live music.
While working at the greatest pizza place in the city, she befriended some musicians from Memphis who were on tour. A few months later, Angela was on a Greyhound to Tennessee to see them play their face melting, psychedelic tunes. When that same band went on tour in Summer of 2016, she made herself at home in their 15 passenger van and earned her keep selling merch all across the Midwest. Since then she has travelled the country with multiple bands; helping to sell merch, hype up the crowds, and assist with general roadie duties.
Once she moved back to her hometown, she was so inspired from her travels, Angela decided she wanted to start making music of her own. She set up a trial vocal lesson at School of Rock Geneva - which led to her becoming the Studio Coordinator. She feels right at home in the SOR community and looks forward to taking lessons in the future!