Current Staff Members:

Janie Russell Cox

President
Janie has been involved with CYT since birth! Performing since the age of 4 she has now been involved with over 130 different productions, performing, directing, choreographing, or costuming. Janie studied musical theater at Boston Conservatory and has also done film with ABC, MTV, LXD and Invisible Children. Her true passion is for live theater and the “next” generation training in the ARTS! Janie’s daily goal in life is to love the Lord with all of her heart, soul, mind, & strength and to love her neighbor as herself. Sing. Act. Dance. Live. Create. Play. Laugh. Love.

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Laura Bertagnolli

Managing Director
Laura comes to us with a diverse background ranging from small business accounting and finance to public accounting with Arthur Andersen LLP. She has worked in the fields of manufacturing, biotechnology, and energy trading and marketing. She received Bachelors of Business Administration degrees in both Accounting and Finance from Texas A&M University and holds a Certified Public Accountant license in the State of California. She is thrilled to have joined the CYT team so that she can use her gifts to make a real difference in the community!

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Paul Russell

Co-Founder
Paul has an extensive background in the entertainment field for over 30 years. After receiving a Master's degree in Drama and Communication Arts at San Diego State University, he taught at both the high school and college level for 10 years. His writing credentials consist of seven full length children's musicals including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Tall Tales, and Little Mermaid. Dr. Russell has also written three instructional books on Readers' Theater. He earned his Doctorate in Education specializing in Children’s Theater in 1998 from California Coast University.

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Sheryl Russell

Co-Founder
Sheryl is the co-founder of Christian Community Theater and Christian Youth Theater and is a former high school teacher. She has been recognized for her business accomplishments through the Channel 10 Leadership Award and by the Women Together organization recognizing women in the arts. Sheryl was honored as Mother of the Year by the March of Dimes. She has been married to her husband, Paul, for 43 years and has four grown children and five grandchildren.


Amanda Pontsler

Education Director
Amanda began her journey with CYT San Diego in 1999! Seeing and experiencing the incredible value the arts has in the development of strong character, she found true passion in creating opportunities to share the arts with children in her community and others. Amanda and her husband, Josh, work with Foster Youth in San Diego and have created a Theater Arts Program for Foster Facilities throughout the county that focuses on healing through the arts. Her two beautiful daughters are now involved in CYT and loving every minute of it!

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Rechelle Conde-Nau

CYT@school Director
Rechelle has been working as the CYT@school Director since 2005. She enjoys using her background in education (she used to teach 5th grade) and her love of theater to help bring performing arts directly to children at their school. Her son, Shaun used to do CYT in SD Central and that’s how she got hooked! Taylor is following in her brother’s footsteps by doing CYT too.

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Robyn Rebold-Smith

CYT@school Associate Director
Robyn attended her first CYT drama class at the age of 10. Over the years, she has had the privilege of being a CYT teacher, musical director and camp director. Although her roles within the company change, her admiration and joy for CYT always remain the same. Robyn was the Vice President of Primary Focus which was the nation's largest elementary assembly program. She is a firm believer in what the arts can do for a child's self-esteem and development. Spending time with her husband and 2 children is her favorite thing to do.

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Erin Kelly

Chapter Coordinator - South County
Erin Kelly has been involved in CYT since the ripe old age of 9. She appeared in San Diego Central's first show and her love for the theater began. She has enjoyed teaching, directing, and looks forward to serving the families in South County as the new co AC. She has two beautiful children, Madilyn and Owen, that she loves and adores to the moon and back! In all of her spare time, she owns her own photography business, Silent Stories Photography. Erin is extremely thankful for the incredible relationships CYT has cultivated in her life and looks forward to all the new friends CYT will bring her way.

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Tina Filley

Chapter Coordinator - San Diego East County
Tina has been the San Diego East County Area Coordinator for the past ten years and has been a part of the CYT fmaily since 2001. She shares a love for theater alongside her husband Robert and four children. Tina enjoys working with kids and watching them learn and grow on and off stage. She feels blessed to be a part of such a wonderful organization. She looks forward to meeting more kids and families, encouraging all who are a part of CYT to follow their dreams, love the Lord, and reach for the stars!

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Melissa Chapman

Show Coordinator - San Diego Central
Melissa became involved with CYT in 2017 when her daughter, Emma, took her first CYT class. During her daughter’s first show, Madagascar Jr, Melissa fell in love with CYT and it quickly became an integral part of her life. A year later, Melissa went on to become one of Central’s Show Chairs, and is now thrilled to move into the role of Show Coordinator alongside her friend, Summer Belous. Melissa has a wonderful husband of 15 years, a 12-year old daughter, and a 9-year old son who is eager to join Crew this Winter. Coming from a background in education, Melissa is passionate about helping students use their God-given talents and abilities to point others to Jesus. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” Psalm 28:7


Summer Belous

Class Coordinator - San Diego Central
Summer and her husband, Misha, have been married 25 years and have 3 children (Katya 20, Nikita 18, Natalya 14) who have all loved growing up as CYT San Diego Central kids. Since 2007 they’ve been a part of 36 shows at Central where Summer served in a variety of Production Team roles: Resident Parent, Prop Mom, Program Designer, and Show Chair. She’s excited to now be taking on the new role of Class Coordinator and to work alongside her friend, Melissa Chapman, to help San Diego Central continue its legacy of being a place where kids feel the love of Jesus, feel at home, are trained well in the arts, develop character, and build lifelong friendships! Philippians 4:4-9


Laura Bassett

Chapter Coordinator - Tri City
Laura Bassett began her involvement with CYT San Diego in 2006 when her two oldest daughters started classes and auditioned for their very first musical. After that, the rest of her six children jumped in as they became old enough to audition and take classes. They haven’t missed a CYT show yet! As the Tri-City Area Coordinator, Laura brings an accounting and managerial background along with serving on the production team for several years. She is most excited to work with all of CYT and continue to live out the mission statement of building character one stage at a time. Romans 12: 1-2

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Stacey Tieger

Chapter Coordinator - North County Inland
Stacey is excited to use her background in medical sales & business administration to serve North County Inland as their Chapter Coordinator. Having joined the CYT family 5 years ago when her daughter, Jordan, was seeking to shine on a stage, Stacey served on many parent committees like Green Room and PR/Marketing. Stacey is thrilled to be have been called to lead this amazing community and help grow and nurture the North County Inland Chapter. Galatians 3:28


Elizabeth Seaton

Chapter Coordinator - North County Coastal
Elizabeth is a CYT alumni, and is so thrilled and honored to be now working for this amazing organization. Owner of Posh Paperie (custom invitations) and mom to two precious girls (Felicity and Hailey) - she loves being creative, her Bible study and supper club groups, spending time with her husband and watching her two girls perform with CYT! Having grown up on the CYT stage, she is excited to be on the development side - building the NCC community and continuing her legacy with CYT.

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Chaunsa Oyos

Production Manager

Chaunsa is delighted to be a part of the CYT family which she joined in 1993. Having volunteered on the Backstage Production Team for CYT San Diego NCI for 6 years, she is equally delighted to have joined the CYT Staff family in 2018. Chaunsa graduated from the University of Michigan where she became an avid college football fan (Go Blue!) She earned a degree in Education and holds a California Teaching Credential with a Montessori endorsement. She comes to CYT with experience in theatrical endeavors on the stage, backstage, and behind the scenes entirely. Chaunsa considers it a gift to get to work in service of CYT’s Mission, with the best people, doing what she loves: Teaching and Theater! She is so very grateful to her very supportive family: Dustin, Jared, Cecilia, and Charlotte for getting it, and for the countless hours of hands on involvement.


Paul Stine

Marketing & Graphic Design Associate
Paul Stine is thrilled to be joining the CYT staff this year! He is also a choreographer, director, performer, and dance instructor born and raised in San Diego. Paul has a passion for storytelling and encourages his students to work hard and never stop learning. Paul has worked for many community and youth theater companies, high schools, dance concerts, and has also directed & choreographed entertainment productions at LEGOLAND California Resort. He has performed professionally at venues such as World of Dance LA, The Welk Resort Theater, LA’s Choreographers Carnival Ball, and Hip Hop International in Las Vegas. You can currently see him as a dancer at the Disneyland Resort. His goal is to inspire and touch people through the work he presents on stage. “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” – George S. Patton


Havilah Duff

Customer Service & Administrative Specialist
Havilah is a proud CYT alum, CCT performer, former CYT Teacher & Artistic Team Member, as well as a CYT parent. She truly has grown up through this program and has done a little bit of everything. Since her first show back in 1994, she has loved every minute of her time spent in and around this fantastic organization. It only stood to reason, that at some point she would check off the last box of positions with CYT, and join us as a staff member! She is thrilled to be the new Customer Service and Administrative Specialist for the San Diego Chapter and the new National Branch Administrator for CYT HQ. "After spending some of the best years of my life fully immersed in the amazing CYT culture, I can honestly say that this organization truly impacted and molded me into the woman I am today. I am excited to play my part in perpetuating the CYT mission for the next generation and on. Being part of CYT, just always feels like home." For over 15 years, Havilah has enjoyed her time as a leader in customer service, working for non-profits, and other endeavors involving her passion for enriching the lives of others. She brings with her a tremendous amount of experience and love for servant leadership, coupled with a strength for details, strategy and a visionary mindset. When she is not reading a new book or joining the worship team at church, she is most happy when she is spending time with her precious son, Trystan.


Debi Couch

Accounting Assistant


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Danny LaPointe

Camp Coordinator
Danny LaPointe is a CYT alum who has since worn many different hats for CYT San Diego. She’s worked as a teacher, counselor, choreographer, and is now the Camp Coordinator. Danny spent every summer of her childhood going to camps and then spent 8 amazing summers as a camp counselor. Now she loves getting to shape and create the camps for CYT San Diego that kids all over our county can enjoy!

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Rick Deussen

Production Shop Manager
A new addition to the staff here at CYT, Rick already feels like it’s home. He worked on his M.F.A. in Scenic Design at both San Diego State and Cal State Fullerton before moving up to the L.A. area. While there, he worked at several scenery shops on both films, amusement parks and theater projects, as a scenic artist, carpenter and project manager before most recently moving into the convention and retail arenas. Rick is excited to be back working in his first love - live theater -and grateful for this opportunity to serve the youth of San Diego County. He has been married for over 30 years to the love of his life, Joy, and has 4 terrific kids and 2 small Chihuahuas.

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Lynn Renfrow

Costume Manager
Lynn started working as the Costume Manager for CYT in 2008. She earned her M.F.A. from San Diego State in Theater Design and Technical Production. She has worked at numerous theatres, including The Old Globe and The San Diego Repertory Theatre, as a scenic artist, prop-master and costumer. Lynn has been married for 19 years to her loving husband David and has a precocious senior puppy named Sammy.

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Yoke Teo

Seamstress
Yoke has been working as a costume seamstress for CYT since 2001. Working as a single mom, she has been able to send both her children to college. She loves caring for her kids and her many plants at home.