One of the great strengths of the New Jersey Branch is its enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient teachers. Below are brief bios, in alphabetical order.
Elizabeth Buonomo has been dancing with the NJ Branch of the RSCDS since 2006. She has studied ballet, modern dance and various movement arts since she was a teenager. She works as a teacher of the Alexander Technique and as a trauma specialist in the field of mental health.
In 2015, after a one-year residency course with Chris and Sue Ronald, Elizabeth received her Part I teaching certification from the RSCDS Scotland. Following several years of mentored teaching and an additional year long course, in 2019 she received her Part II teaching certification. Elizabeth has been teaching in Hohokus since 2015. She also is the group lead for a demonstration team that dances annually during Scottish weekend at the Mohonk House. She especially enjoys working with beginners and sharing with them the beauty and joy of Scottish dance.
Keira Hartstein hails from upstate New York and started Scottish Country Dancing in 2004 at Bard college, while she was a student at Vassar.
She took Part 1 of the RSCDS teaching certificate in 2013 at the DelVal Branch and passed Part 2 for full certification in May 2015 as part of the NJ Branch candidate class. Her teaching experience includes Manhattan and Fanwood, NJ.
Hobbies other than Scottish Country Dancing include vintage American Ballroom dancing, costuming, and board games. She makes her living as a small animal/exotic veterinarian in central NJ.
Deborah Leary was born in Manhattan, raised in Rockland County, NY, and moved to New Jersey when she married. Having done folk and square dancing in the past, she first encountered Scottish Country Dancing at the Tenafly (now Ho-Ho-Kus) class in 2005.
She started teaching at Scotia in New York City in 2011, and in addition to teaching in Tenafly has taught in Westchester and at the NY branch. She earned her Part 1 teaching certificate in 2015.
Deborah works in a local Public Library and loves to read; she also spins, is a Knitting Guild Association Master Knitter, and has a fabulous son.
Peter Price was born in Manhattan and raised in New Haven, CT. He apprenticed as an English Country Dance teacher under Fried deMetz Herman, and has also danced and called contra dancing. He started Scottish Country Dancing in New Haven 1976.
Peter taught in Connecticut at the New Haven branch and taught the Wilton, CT class for 10 years; he started teaching in NJ when he moved here in 2011. He got his RSCDS preliminary certificate in 1979, got sidetracked for a few years, and finished his Part 2 in 2015. You can read his blog about Scottish Country Dancing at the Kilts and Ghillies Blogspot.
Peter overhauled jet engines for a living until GE bought his company and moved the jobs to Brazil. Favorite non-dance activities are sailing, swimming, and pretty much anything else water-related.
Chris fell in love with folk dancing at a summer camp at the age of 8 and danced every summer until he graduated from college (in the UK). He discovered Scottish country dancing (SCD) as an adult and gained the RSCDS teaching certificate in 2002. Since then he has been teaching regularly in the New York area, and has occasionally taught classes elsewhere, including TAC Summer School, Pinewoods, and in the UK. With his wife, Sue, Chris trained a group of twelve teacher candidates in the New Jersey/New York area in 2014-15. In November 2015, Chris was elected to the RSCDS Membership Services Committee.
In his working life, Chris was employed by the United Nations, with whom he spent many years in less developed countries, including Afghanistan, Botswana, India and Madagascar. Chris still works for the UN as a consultant.
When not dancing or working, Chris likes to spend time with his three children and six grandchildren, which entails regular travel between the US and the UK.
Ken Saunders is from the Cotswolds area in England. He is married with two adult children, their spouses, and two grandchildren.
Ken retired early from a career in Europe and the USA spanning laundry detergent formulation, consumer packaged goods marketing, biotech marketing, and customer strategy consulting and is now a lifeguard, ski instructor and dance instructor.
He started dancing in San Francisco in 2010 and joined the NJ branch of the RSCDS in 2012. He began formal teacher training in 2014; in 2015 he received his Part 1 teaching certification from the RSCDS and also attended the RSCDS sponsored Basic Teaching Skills Course focused on introducing new dancers to SCD. Following three years of mentored teaching Ken undertook additional training in 2018 and in 2019, received part II or “full” teaching certification.
The teacher training program administered by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society in Edinburgh ensures that RSCDS certified teachers all over the world meet the same high standards and teach to the same curriculum.
The certificate is awarded in 2 parts: Part 1 includes a written exam on the history or the RSCDS, dance techniques and formations, and dance music; and an evaluation of dancing proficiency and teaching techniques. Part 2 concentrates on further improvement of teaching skills. (In the past these were called Preliminary and Full Certification.)
Information about RSCDS Teaching Certificates is posted on the RSCDS website.