Susan Marlett CEO, Owner
Susan Marlett started on Flute in the 4th grade and by the 7th grade she was using a special woodwind pick-up and guitar pedals for her flute. She was hooked. She has a degree in Fine Art, Art History and Archaeological Anthropology from Parsons School of Design and the New School. So of course she does music. After running a successful nonprofit gallery in NYC; she launched a small Internet start up. Susan never forgot her roots in Rock and Roll. Returning to teach music with the School of Rock Waldwick in 2010 as a voice and keys instructor. She was hooked on their innovative approach to teaching with her first show in Sept of 2010. Susan became General Manager in 2017 and owner in 2020.
Kurt Haller COO, Owner
Kurt took on the roll of owner and COO for the School of Rock Waldwick after leaving a position as Manager of Strategy & Business Transformation Practice at The Hackett Group. Previously, he was in procurement and logistics for Mercedes Bens in Montvale. Kurt is from Switzerland, where he earned several business degree. He spent many years working for the Lucern Blues Festival, (Europe’s largest blues festival.) Kurt also has a passion for cars.
Rich Haddad Music Director, Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher
With over twenty-five years of experience in the music industry, Rich has developed a wide range of skills that allow him to manipulate variations in air pressure with both substance and style. He has shared stages with such artists as Cyndi Lauper, Kansas and Dada, and performs regularly in the tri-state area with multiple groups, including Friday’s Child and kidie artist/musical yogini Kira Willey.
A consummate multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/audio engineer with perfect pitch, his insights on music and sound reveal details that are often overlooked. This uncanny ability to solve problems has led to work in all forms of media – from records, radio and advertising, to film, network television and cable. As Director of Audio Production for Digital Café Tour, his recording, mixing and mastering work earned him a Telly Award for Sound/Sound Design.
Mike Klopp Drum Teacher
Originally from Bergen County, Michael Klopp is a 1994 graduate of Ramapo High School, where he excelled in all things music and was even voted Most Musical by his fellow classmates. In 1998 he received his BA in Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with an emphasis on jazz studies and music history. Upon graduation Michael set sail for the open water and spent the following 6 years seeing the world as an orchestra drummer for different cruise lines, performing big band music, production shows and variety acts of all kinds.
In 2004 he was given the (extremely rare) opportunity to become a Guest Entertainer for Royal Caribbean as Drummer/Musical Director for multi talented performer Domenick Allen (Foreigner, Buddy Rich Band, Liberace, Broadway, London's West End) and continues to enjoy the MD chair to this day.
2004 was also the year Michael started working with Telarc/Concord Recording artist Tony Desare. With Tony, Michael has been able to travel all over the country performing jazz and cabaret music in various settings, including 2 Midwest tours as a trio and multiple Pops performances with various orchestras, including the Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Vancouver Symphonies. He has also performed at the 2015 San Javier Jazz Fest in Alicante, Spain, as well as the 2015 and 2016 Cape Cod Jazz Festivals.
Michael started with School of Rock in 2015 and has enjoyed every moment. When not in a lesson you will find him practicing often. His favorite method books are Stick Control (G.L.Stone), The Art of Bop Drumming (J.Riley), The Shuffle Drumming Workbook (C.Doboe) and Syncopation (T.Reed).
Michael Kozma Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
The Astronaut consists solely of one Musician at the helm. Michael Scott Kozma holds a B.S. Degree in Music Industry & Technology for Audio Engineering and Music (from where?.). He is a multi-instrumentalist and has been playing music since he was 13 years old. He was a band member with Jeremian Fraites of the Lumineers.
A descendant of the great Evelyn Danzig Levine, who wrote the classic 1949 song “Scarlet Ribbons,” and renowned New York Times sports writer Allison Danzig who coined the phrase “The Grand Slam” in tennis. Michael Scott was bestowed with the gift of songwriting passed down through generations. At 15, he attended the National Guitar Academy for one summer and returned as one of the foremost exceptional and dedicated players at such a young age. He later went on to be an acclaimed self-taught musician in other instruments, including drums.
Michael used the name “The Astronaut” as something more introspective. Not only just a songwriter, Kozma’s ability to play each instrument into a formula within his songs is something which sets him apart from most songwriters. Everything you hear is created by his hands and mind. Along with music, Michael also directs and shoots all his own music videos. The Astronaut will be constantly writing, recording, and playing his music to as many listeners as possible. Come along with him on this journey….
JEANIE MARRI Singing Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Vocal Extraordinaire, She has been delighting for audiences for many years. She sings with Soul Finger who's members include Eric Blue (Drums & Vox) Marty Dimaria (Git Vox) with Mel Taylor, & Peter Scance. Lots of New/Old songs. And Special Quests. She has many years of teaching vocals and keys. She has created some of the best voices in our school.
Richie Ranno Guitar Teacher
Legendary guitarist Richie Ranno, best known for the group STARZ, is most noted for his unique ability to blend crisp, powerful hard rock rhythms with bluesy guitar riffs.
He was inspired to learn guitar after seeing and hearing The Beatles. He joined the band Stories in 1973. Stories' "Brother Louie" had just reached #1, (old guitarist Steve Love quit to join Jobriath.) Stories toured as a headliner and as an opener for such acts as Black Oak Arkansas, Johnny Winter, The Eagles and others. The band appeared on American Bandstand on 1973. In 1975, Ranno auditioned for the band Fallen Angels. He knew they were managed by Rock Steady/Bill Aucoin, who managed Kiss at the time. After a month the band fired the keyboard player and changed their name to Starz. The band immediately began writing and recording songs. They also toured with ZZ Top and Peter Frampton. Starz got a recording deal with Capitol Records in the spring of 1976 and recorded their debut album, Starz. Their second album, Violation, achieved fame with its two hit singles: “Cherry Baby” and “Sing It Shout It”. Later albums, Attention Shoppers and Coliseum Rock also received critical acclaim, featuring songs written by Ranno and his fellow band members.
Rock journalist: Doug Brod (formerly of Spin Magazine) in his book : “Just A Little Weird” said Richie Ranno and Starz is one of the Top 4 Most Influential Rock Bands of all times along with Kiss, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick.
Richie has continued to perform with his bands Starz, Hellcats and Richie Ranno’s All Starz in arenas and stadiums throughout the U.S. alongside a host of major acts, including ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rush, Foghat and many more.
In addition to writing, recording and playing with his own bands, he often performs with other rock ’n roll greats, including Michael Schenker of UFO and MSG and Uli Jon Rother (formerly of the Scorpions), he received a Platinum Album award for playing guitar on Tunnel of Love on Gene Simmons’ solo album, and with Cactus.
Eric Cohen Guitar Teacher
Eric is a fantastic example of what School of Rock can do for a budding musician. He started with School of Rock in South Hackensack. He played may shows there. He became a valuable part of their House Band and made it into All Stars in 2006. Some of the memorable places he played include: BB Kings, World Cafe Live and Royal Oak Theatre. He plays out regularly and is a great addition to our staff. He truly understands the School of Rock method.
Kathy Sheppard Keyboard Teacher, Song Writing Teacher
Kathy is an accomplished musician and who performs regularly. She worked for the first School of Rock with Paul Green. She is also involved with City Canyons Records. Kathy studied piano performance at Berklee College of Music, graduating in 1981. She has helped to develop many talented musicians. We are happy to have her on our staff.
FRANKY HERNANDEZ Bass Guitar Teacher
Franky Hernandez received his first round of music education from Berklee College of Music from 1978 to 1980. While there, he studied with John Neves, Bruce Gertz and Rich Appleman. He then went onto William Patterson University to study with Rufus Reid, Harold Mabern, Steve Bagby and Ron Naspo. Franky has performed with some notable acts such as Chet Atkins, The Mamas and the Papas, and Lou Christie. He has also played with tons of oldies groups including Fabian, The Angels, Little Peggy March, The Coasters, etc.
Michele Labetti Little Wing Director, Singing Teacher
Michele studied at Monclair University and sings regularly for local churches. Michele uses our techniques with her own spin on the activities. The children enrolled in our Little Wing program love the class and look forward to coming back. Michele has good classroom management instincts and she is able to keep the children's attention focused on the current activity while making each child feel listened to. She is able to impart valuable information on the fundamentals of music in a safe and inspiring manner.
Michele also works with some of our special needs students. She stepped up to work with these incredible students developing a curriculum tailored to each student. Michele takes the initiative to get to know them and the parents to assess the goals for each student. She has planned and implemented a meaningful learning plan for each student. Michele has presented music using a variety of creative techniques that challenge each student with attainable goals. The students have responded well to her curriculum and the parents are thrilled with the results. Michele is enriching the lives of our special needs students that will go well beyond the classroom.
Ginny Lackey Singing Teacher, Little Wing Teacher
Ginny has a long history of singing and started studying privately at the age of 8. Ginny then found School of Rock and she was hooked; she is a product of our school! She excelled quickly in bands, going on tour with our Show Band. Ginny studied at William Patterson and performs on a regular basis in our area.
Miranda Pizano Studio Coordinator
Miranda is our Studio Coordinator and before School of Rock, she was the administrator of an art program. Miranda is fluent in Spanish and has worked with kids and adults, and has run summer camp programs. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Miranda loves painting and continuing her artistic side.