Faculty

Thomas Brownlie Director

Mr. Brownlie has been the Director of The New School since its inception in 1973. With a wealth of experience in all aspects of media, Tom has mentored thousands of students over the years and takes pride in his ability to help each and every student who attends The New School, shape their careers and follow their dreams.

In addition, Mr. Brownlie has been directly involved in the development of every program offered by the school. Prior to Directing The New School, Mr. Brownlie worked in various capacities for numerous major radio and television stations throughout the U.S. and Canada including, WKIS-FM, New York, NY; CKLW Radio and Television, Detroit, MI; CHUM Radio and Television, Toronto, Canada; and WXXA-TV, Albany, NY.

Daniel Ross Director, Video Production and Editing Instructor

Dan has held many positions in the video world over the last decade including Creative Director, Multi-Media Producer, Cinematographer and Editor. His main passion is in motion graphics. Through his media production company Best Bytes Media, Dan has won several awards including “Best Local Filmmaker” from a recent Metroland poll.

As an instructor at the New School, Dan works closely with his students to produce professional cinematic content. Because of the constant change in technology and popular trends Dan’s goal is to deliver cutting edge techniques to students who challenge themselves daily.

Jurgita Rahmane Financial Aid

Jurgita joined the New School Center for Media as Financial Aid Officer in 2011 and successfully served students and their families until 2014. After that she proceeded with her career as Assistant Director of Financial Aid at various local colleges and returned to The New School Center for Media in 2017.

She is currently holding a position of Director of Financial Aid and is in charge to ensure an efficient and flawless performance of the Office of Financial Aid.

Nicole Benkert

Nicole joined The New School Center for Media in 2017. She attended The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing. She went on to work in many capacities as a  team member at Merck & Shumen CPA in Kingston, NY.

Nicole now works on various tasks at The New School Center for Media including bookkeeping. She is also responsible for billing, accounts receivable, and office support. Nicole is a good contact for parents or students who need assistance with their billing options.

Michael Flynn Radio, TV, Internet Personality Curriculum Chair

Michael Flynn started in the radio industry in 1986, just after graduating from The New School. He has worked on all sides of radio including Programming, News, Production, Promotions and sales.

Michael brings experience from several different formats as an on-air personality at many Albany, NY stations including FLY-92, STAR, B95, Z-ROCK, K100 and The BUZZ.

Cathy Taylor Director of Operations

Cathy came to The New School in 2007 and her incredible drive to organize and help was immediately recognized. Cathy is truly a dynamo with unwavering passion to help people and make things work. Her deep passion for people also extends into her outside life, where she is highly involved in many charitable organizations as a spokesperson and coordinator. In 2011 she was featured in an article by The New York Times for her work with the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation. On the entertainment side, Cathy is currently a producer for both the Miss California and Miss New York components of the Miss USA Pageant. Along with organizing and directing various businesses for more than two decades, Cathy has worked as a writer for a Kentucky-based magazine The Bluegrass Horseman.

The essence of Cathy Taylor however is her unwavering dedication to people and their success, and that is why she so exemplifies the true spirit of The New School.

Dave Tyo Music Recording/Audio Specialist Instructor

Since the age of twelve, David has had an unusual obsession with music recording and sound engineering. While his friends were outside playing, David could be found inside his makeshift studio, multi-tracking to cassette tapes on a department store karaoke machine. An avid musician, David excelled in chorus and jazz band in college as a vocalist, guitarist, and drummer. His performances contributed to multiple national awards for performance excellence.

Since founding his production company Audiowurkz in 1999, David has enjoyed producing music and custom audio for national FM and satellite radio broadcasts, as well as television. David also engineers and produces other musicians and bands at his home studio in Saratoga Springs.

Kelly O’Donnel Broadcast Multimedia Curriculum Chair

Kelly is a television sports anchor and reporter for WRGB-TV, Albany’s local CBS affiliate. Before joining CBS 6, he was an on-air sports personality at WTVY-TV in Dothan, AL and GOLTV, an all-soccer television network based in Miami. He’s earned multiple Associated Press awards for his local sports coverage.

A 2002 graduate of the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications, he’s also worked as a play-by-play announcer both in radio and on television. Kelly feels blessed to be working at a job he loves, and he enjoys teaching students that share a similar passion for sports journalism.

Jason Bourdeau Music Recording/Audio Specialist Instructor

Jay Bourdeau comes to The New School with 15 years of experience as an audio engineer/music producer and musician. Although he specializes in mixing and music production, he has also worked as a professional musician, sound designer, AV technician, live sound engineer, and DJ. Jay brings a wide variety of experience to the classroom. He is a freelance music production/audio engineer with Drift-Productions. He also is an audio and video production technician at Viking Video Technologies sound reinforcement for live events.

Josh Mirksky Music Recording/Audio Specialist Instructor

Josh “Mirk” Mirsky was born and raised in Albany, NY. He moved to Westchester County in 1999 to attend SUNY Purchase College majoring in Music Production. He stayed until 2003 completing a Masters in Music program with a focus in Studio Composition. While living in close proximity to New York City, Mirk worked with Jive Records as a producer and engineer producing songs for Petey Pablo, Eamon, and Ciara. He also mixed for Dolla, T. Pain, S Dub, and Mickey Factz. In 2009 he sold a production to Jay Z and Rock Nation Records that featured his old classmate from Purchase, Regina Spektor. Also in 2009 he formed his band Mirk and the New Familiars, now simply known as MIRK. They have since released 3 independent albums Called Love, Grind, and Run and have toured the northeast and beyond. Currently he is the owner and operator of Foster House Studios producing for various up and coming artists.

Thomas Hawn Senior Radio Instructor, Broadcast Journalism and Radio Voice and Speech Coach

Tom’s lengthy tenure at The New School began when his guest lecture on radio arts led to an offer for fulltime employment. 32 years later, he still helps students perfect their on-air voices for both radio and television.

Tom has served for many years locally in positions such as music director, morning air personality, and voice talent at stations including WROW, WWOM, WRGB-TV, and Time Warner, as well as at WBZ-TV in Boston. His experience allows him to help students gain a deep understanding of station formats and real-world scenarios, while learning to properly develop and deliver their breaks.

Mike Corts Radio and Internet Personality Instructor

Mike began his career as a full-time on-air radio personality for Albany Broadcasting. He has also been a full-time on-air personality for Clear Channel Communications. He brings with him a diversified background in the areas of artist management and development, concert production, event marketing and promotion, music marketing, public relations and imaging consulting. Bringing with him an extensive knowledge of personality development and promotion, Mike teaches students at The New School not only about the fundamentals of radio but also how to create, market and brand themselves as an on-air multiplatform personality.

Nick Johnston Industry Associate

Nick Johnston is very excited to be joining the teaching staff or the New School Center for Media. Born and raised in the Albany area, Nick graduated from Guilderland Central High School in 2000, before earning a degree in Meteorology from SUNY Brockport in 2004. He attended The New School of Radio and TV (now the New School Center for Media) from September 2005 to March 2006, earning a diploma in Broadcasting. He then jumped right into television in April of 2006 in Wichita Falls, TX at KAUZ. It was there where Nick got to fulfill a lifelong dream of not only storm chasing, but seeing a live tornado. After a year and a half in Texas, Nick’s next move was to WFFF/WVNY in Burlington, VT in August of 2007. There Nick got to cover Burlington’s snowiest winter on record, the largest single snowstorm on record, and the historic flooding of Lake Champlain. Then in August of 2011 tropical storm Irene slammed the East Coast. He and his photographer covered the devastating flooding in Rutland, VT for 25 hours straight.

In October of 2011, Nick earned the American Meteorological Society’s CBM (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist), and remains a full and active member of the AMS. After almost 5 years in Burlington, Nick moved to WRGB back in Albany, and was thrilled to be back in his home town. He did weather in the mornings and at noon there for 3 years, before moving across town to WTEN, where he was the morning meteorologist for almost 2.5 years.

Nick’s love of nature goes far beyond covering the weather. In the summer he enjoys hiking, camping, and kayaking. In the winter Nick loves to snowboard, and still thinks sledding is a blast. Nick also enjoys grilling year round, and loves trying out new BBQ recipes.

Being active in the community is something that is important to Nick; Volunteering with ESGR (employer support of the Guard and Reserve), the Red Cross Veterans Services, and doing school visits to talk about weather. He is excited to share his knowledge and experience with students of the New School, and continue exploring the emerging field of social media broadcasting!

William “Prez” Bush Industry Associate

With someone like Prez as an instructor, music recording students get a glimpse of the real inner workings of the recording industry. Prez is not just a multi-instrumentalist. He’s a writer, producer and singer who has spent a lifetime composing, performing, producing, and jamming with some of the world’s best known recording artists. George Clinton, Christina Aguilera, Maxwell, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Tupac Shakur, Salt n Pepa, Krs-1, and Mad Lion, are only a small sample.

Prez has earned platinum record awards for his work on albums and soundtracks, and earned a Grammy nomination for his work with Aretha Franklin in 2004.

Chris Conti Industry Associate

Chris has been involved in video production for the last 15 years. He holds a BA in speech communications from the State University of New York at Oneonta and a certificate in video production from the NYU School of Continuing Education.

He worked at CBS 6 Albany for 13 years where he served as chief editor and features photographer, earning two Emmy nominations, a New York State Broadcasters award and two Associated Press awards. After training new employees at CBS 6 for many years, he is happy to help students achieve their creative potential.

Chris Famelette Industry Associate

Chris worked at WPTZ in Plattsburgh and is now a freelancer for FOX 23 News as a news photographer. He started at FOX 23 as their satellite truck operator. He attended SUNY Plattsburgh where he managed the PSTV program and produced Cardinal Sports, Cardinal Basketball, and Lights Out. Chris also manages the company Stage Left Lighting, bringing live national concerts to the Hudson Valley, and is co-owner of B & C Video Productions.