Owner, General Manager
Heather was born in England and grew up with a love of all things music. She was immersed in decades of British artists, sang The American Songbook at home, and performed vocals for a cover band. In the mid-80s she attended a company conference in the U.S. and discovered that she had "found her tribe" with her northern California colleagues. She has lived in the U.S. since 1991, mostly in the north Bay Area, and is a dual citizen.
Heather has had many careers including as a sales executive for computer peripherals, property manager for a large REIT, project coordinator for HP products, owner of an insurance business, HR administrator, and certified massage therapist. All roads led her to School of Rock Santa Rosa which she helped open from the ground up. Here, while utilizing her extensive customer service and business administration experience, she discovered just how important music is to her, and just about everyone else it seemed.
Heather fully fell in love with School of Rock when she joined the adult performance program as a vocalist and bass student. In 2021 she was able to realize her dream gig by establishing School of Rock San Rafael, serving Marin County.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Evan was immersed in music from a young age, picking up his first guitar at the age of 10, and going on his first tour by the time he turned 15. After high school, he attended the Musicians Institute’s GiT program where he graduated top of his class in Guitar Performance, all while being immersed in LA’s singer-songwriter scene as a hired gun, collaborator, and songwriter.
After graduating, Evan started his journey as a music educator at School of Rock West LA as an instructor, working his way up to Music Director and General Manager of the South Bay LA location. Now relocated to the Bay Area, Evan serves as our Music Director and instructs guitar, bass, and drums. Evan loves all music and has a particular interest in funk, fusion, prog, and singer/songwriter. He thinks the best thing about working at School of Rock is being surrounded by those who love music as much as he does. Outside of School of Rock, Evan loves photography, nature, video games, his partner Tiffany, and his dog Preston.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Michael is a Bay Area native with over 35 years of teaching and performing experience. He has performed and recorded with many local artists including The Jerry Hannan Band, Matadore, Matt Nathanson, Brittany Shane, Orange, Penelope Houston, Lilyvolt, The Mad Cattle Ensemble and Missile Harmony. He currently plays lead guitar for Petty Theft, a tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Michael specializes in rock, alternative, slide guitar, blues, funk, country and folk. His influences include Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Bill Frisell, Robin Guthrie, Daniel Ash, Mike Campbell and many others. He is a very patient teacher with students ranging from beginning to advanced players. His focus is on playing technique, chords, scales, music theory, musicianship, and transcriptions of songs and solos in either tablature or standard notation. Michael taught at School of Rock Santa Rosa for three years and led many performance and adult performance bands who succeeded under his patient direction and critical ear for detail. He is a Lead Instructor at School of Rock San Rafael.
Vocal Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Ella grew up in the north bay immersed in music through her family from the very start. Between vocal and guitar lessons, and listening to a new album each day before school she exposed herself to genres and eras of music that most of her peers were unaware of. Ella attended Artquest, a public school magnet program for the Visual and Performing Arts at Santa Rosa High School, where she also honed her visual artistic skills. In 2019, she joined the staff at School of Rock Santa Rosa where kids of all ages loved her teaching style and ability to connect. She also brought her energy and enthusiasm to group classes including Little Wing, Rookies, Summer Camps, Rock 101, and the Performance Program rehearsals. As a singer-songwriter, Ella combines her unique smokey voice with relatable and memorable lyrics. She is a Lead Instructor at School of Rock San Rafael.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Manny grew up idolizing Jimi Hendrix, compelled by his story as a musician and his impact on music as a whole. When Manny was 8 years old his grandfather bought him his first guitar and he has been in love with music ever since. Manny attended School of Rock San Jose for four years and quickly became a dedicated and accomplished student, and was a part of their House Band.
Manny teaches bass, guitar, Little Wing, Rookies, Rock 101 bands, and Performance bands. The biggest goal he has for his students is to facilitate their growing passion for music as a fun hobby and also an outlet and form of self-expression. Manny loves collaborating with fellow musicians, including making original music with his teaching peers.
Manny is a talented musician and excellent teacher who inspires his students with his enthusiasm and belief that they too can master an instrument. He is a beloved member of our community and his students are always excited to come to their lessons or rehearsals, knowing they will be both fun and focused.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
John was hooked on music early in his life when, at age 5, he began playing piano. By the age of 10, he started writing music and playing guitar. John considers himself a ‘lifer’ who must practice and play daily because it is his love. He attended the Academy of Guitar and the N.S.W. Conservatory of Music in Australia where he attained a master's degree in Music. Once in California, John worked as an engineer and production coordinator at The Record Plant in Sausalito with legendary producer/engineer Jim Gaines. He assisted in the production of many great bands and artists including Santana, Heart, Starship, Dan Fogelberg, Journey, Huey Lewis, and John Fogarty.
John became a working musician in the Marin band Frontline and formed Powerof2Music in 1989, which has scored over 700 episodes of television as well as commercials and video games. John received the Excellence in Composition and Songwriting Award from Yamaha Music USA, scored two Emmy Award-winning shows, and received Ace and Gold Awards for his work on children's audiobooks such as the beautiful Baru Bay with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.
John is a longtime ASCAP writer and publisher, and a consultant regarding licensing in perpetuity issues, publishing, and placing music. He puts thought, passion, and nurturing into his teaching, bringing out the very best in his students and the bands he directs.
Vocal Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Abbi’s mother used to play classical music for her in the morning before school which inspired her to pick up the violin and later transition to voice. She attended MSA and then Sonoma State where she attained a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in vocal performance. Abbi loves to listen to and perform a complete variety of genres from classical, to folk, to rock, and progressive metal. We love to hear Abbi sing her warm-ups before her students come in because her voice is so beautiful!
Abbi teaches vocals and keyboard, plus Little Wing. Her mission is for her students to find joy in the music they create and build their self-confidence on stage. Abbi shares her life with her partner Jack, and enjoys cooking, reading, and playing video games. She loves that School of Rock is a safe space for self-expression and making music, where everyone is welcome.
Both of Eli’s parents are musicians and it was natural for him to follow in their steps without thinking about it. In his teen years, Eli started getting involved with the Bay Area DIY scene and was “immediately obsessed.” He loved experiencing what was happening in his neck of the woods and he has continued to play and attend local gigs ever since. Eli’s main gig is with the Oakland art rock trio Gumby’s Junk and he freelances for small jazz combos and various other local bands.
Eli is a graduate of Oakland School for The Arts as well as Sonoma State University, from which he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. He loves any music that excites or tickles his brain. Punk is his first love, but he acknowledges that jazz got him where he is as a player. Asked about his favorite music his answer is, “Usually anything between punk and jazz is right up my alley. Rhythmic, angular, obnoxious, humorous, overall weird, I love it all!” In his personal time, Eli creates visual art, attends local shows, and collects tchotchkes.
Eli teaches drums and the Rookies program and directs Rock 101 bands (the rehearsals are always fun and filled with jokes). He loves the bond he has with his students and hopes that their journey in music continues way past their time with him.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Josh was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. When he is not playing music, Josh loves to hike, play basketball, and travel. He has recorded two major records on the SONY/Work label as the singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the rock group Protein. They have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and also toured Europe and Japan as part of MTV Asia Summer Fest.
Josh’s next original band, The Mother Truckers, was formed with his talented wife Teal Collins. They moved to Austin, TX where they released four albums, and were named Best Roots-Rock Band at the SXSW Austin Music Awards. They toured all over the country and Europe, and have played alongside Willie Nelson, Hank Williams III, Old 97’s, The Avett Brothers, Merle Haggard, George Jones, the Supersuckers, and many more. Teal later formed the group The Whiskey Sisters with Josh on guitar. They were named Best New Band at the SXSW Austin Music Awards, recorded an eponymous album (co-produced by Josh), and toured both the U.S. and Europe.
Josh is currently performing and recording with the Bay Area country group The Starling Six, and AC/DC tribute band AZ/DZ. He has been written about in many national publications including frequent features in Guitar Player Magazine, Thrasher, and Village Voice. Josh has many production and arrangement credits on the albums of other artists and continues to work as a recording session player as well as regularly touring with other bands as a guitarist.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Sam began their musicianship journey by playing drums at age 9 and then picking up guitar and bass a couple of years after. When Sam was in middle school they formed a band with their friends and played every week, as well as in the music program. The band (Flimflam!) is still together and has inspired Sam to keep going and continually learn new things.
Sam teaches bass, drums, guitar, and vocals, and they direct Rock 101 and Performance bands. Sam's hope is to help each student discover a love of music that can last a lifetime. Musically, Sam tries to appreciate everything they hear and loves music that challenges them to expand their tastes. Sam lives with some of their awesome friends and their family dog Luna. Sam loves getting to know all the awesome students at School of Rock San Rafael and the fact that “everyone is so creative and cool!”
Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Originally from Connecticut, Aidan’s journey as a budding musician started at a young age but didn't blossom until moving to Marin County at the age of 13. It was there he connected with great teachers who helped him find his love for music. By 17, Aidan was writing and releasing songs with his childhood best friend, a hobby that led him to pursue music professionally by attending Berklee College of Music. Since then Aidan has been involved in a handful of live bands and studio performances as well as curating and running DIY artist showcases in and around Boston, MA.
Aidan has been teaching students of all different ages and levels for over seven years. He understands that there are many unique paths to learning music and is dedicated to finding each student's path to mastery. Aidan blends a mix of the essential music theory and technique needed for improving at an instrument with concepts and exercises that are just fun and make students want to pick up the instrument as much as they can.
Aidan believes that music is as much about practicing and the brute work as it is growing a holistic love and genuine interest. As a teacher, Aidan works to find the specific aspect of music that appeals to each student and then helps them dig in and chase it. Aidan has an appreciation for a wide variety of bands and styles and inspires his students to believe in themselves.
Tom Paslay has been teaching, recording, and performing drums for over 30 years. Tom attended the Grove School of Music in Los Angeles where he received his certificate in drumset studies. In addition to his teaching experience, he has toured in Tokyo, Japan, and extensively throughout the West Coast.
Tom has shared the stage with such notables as Beck, No Doubt, and The English Beat among many others. Tom teaches beginning to advanced drum lessons in a variety of styles including rock, worldbeat, funk, and traditional snare drum rudiments. He emphasizes reading, balance, hand technique, and coordination, and caters each lesson to the student’s goals and aspirations.
Tom naturally connects with and inspires students of all ages, and believes playing drums should always be fun!