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Staff and Coaches


Jonathan Yani

Theater Arts Director / Thespian Troupe #7618 Director 

Jonathan Yani is a graduate of San Jose State University with a Bachelor of the Arts in Technical Theater, and a Minor in English Literature.
He has been passionate about theater (especially the tech aspects) from a young age. After working as an extra-curricular coach he decided to pursue his credential to be able to work with the passionate youth at Leigh. He is looking forward to continue to develop the department that has given him so much. 
In the past he's appeared as Moises Kaufman in "The Laramie Project", and Thurio in "The Two Gentleman Of Verona." He draws on his love of theatre history (dramaturgy) to allow students to explore the many different styles that originated with the Greeks and continues to evolve through the modern age.
While he enjoys acting he found himself drawn to the dark side of theater. He's passionate about set design, and costuming, and is proud of his students that have decided to pursue theater post-graduation from Leigh.
In his free time (what little there is) he enjoys going to Disneyland and chilling with his cats,  Baloo, and Shere Kahn.

Maria Griswold

Theater Arts/ Musical Theater / Thespian Troupe #7618 Co-Director 


Amanda Ku

Vocal Trainer / Vocal Director

Amanda is a collaborative pianist, theatre musician, and music director in her native San Francisco Bay Area. She made her vocal directing debut at Leigh High School with Big Fish in 2019. Community theater music directing credits: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Foothill Music Theatre); Flower Drum Song, A Christmas Story: the Musical (Palo Alto Players); Peter and the Starcatcher (Hillbarn Theatre); Bullets Over Broadway (West Valley Light Opera). She enjoys playing piano for musical theater auditions, rehearsals, and pit orchestras across the South Bay and Peninsula; memorable scores to play have included Seussical, In the Heights, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In addition to her musical theater work, Amanda is the staff accompanist for Cantabile Youth Singers and Los Altos High School choirs, and is active in the choral community.


Annalisa Penhollow

Audio Coach

Annalisa Penhollow is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in Recording Industry with a focus on Audio Production and a Minor in Music Theory. She also has an Associate of Arts degree in Music Performance from Delgado Community College.


She had been in love with music and sounds all her life, but discovered the technical side in middle school. Mixing sound and producing high quality audio have been her passions ever since.


Her background is in studio work, with such places as New Orleans, Nashville, and Los Angeles. She started coaching at Leigh in 2017 and really enjoys working with  the students each year.


In her free time, she enjoys finding new (to her) hidden beaches along the coast and catching all the new release movies.

Sue Howell

Costuming Coach

Sue returned to college in 2000 to study Technical Theater at Foothill College and  Cañada College. She first started sewing in during the summer before 6th grade and sewed her first costume for a production of Camelot that she was in at fifteen.  Sue began her costuming career as a Costume Designer/Coordinator for Roberta Jones Junior Theater in 1999.  In 2004 Sue started working for Ballet San Jose as an overhire stitcher, she continued to work in the Costume Shop as a stitcher until 2013, which is when she became Company Shoe Manager.   She has also worked at Theatreworks and Opera San Jose in their costume shops.  In 2006 Sue started working in Community Theater, primarily for Broadway by the Bay and West Valley Light Opera (WVLO) as a Costume Designer/Costume Coordinator.  She has also worked for Sunnyvale Community Players and Presentation High School.


Sue is excited to be working with Leigh High School Theater Arts Department and be able to mentor students in Costume Design and sewing.  Ask her students about the vinyl covered candy wrapper zippered pouches!


Sue also works at Downtown San Jose venues as an usher and a Uniform Room Attendant for Ushers at SAP Center.  She likes to SEW in her free time!  She make clothes for her granddaughter, quilts, zippered pouches and items on the embroidery machine.  She also likes to travel, do genealogy research and watch SJ Sharks and SF Giants games.

Christine Ormseth

Makeup Coach

Christine graduated from Sonoma State University in 2011 with her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. She is a freelance Hair and Makeup Designer for musical theatre in the Bay Area  and a Preschool Teacher at Children’s Corner in Los Altos. She has performed  in numerous shows but prefers designing and has designed hair and makeup for 20+ shows. She has been working at Leigh for 4 years and loves teaching about theatrical makeup! She is so grateful that she’s able to do what she loves to do and will keep doing so! Much love to her friends and family! 

Bob Powell
Projections Technology Coach

Will Schroeter
Lighting Coach

Will is a veteran of many theater companies and specializes in stage carpentry, spotlights, and is a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) He is currently the master electrician for the California Theater in downtown San Jose.
In his free time he enjoys online gaming and spending time with his daughter.


Choreographer / Dance Coach
Please contact Jonathan Yani at
if interested in applying for this position.

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