Current Staff Members:

Janie Russell Cox

Artistic Director
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.


Laura M. 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!


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.


Amanda Pontsler

Marketing & Administrative Manager
Amanda began her journey with CYT San Diego over 17 years ago! First as a student, then as a teacher, counselor, choreographer, director, coordinator and full-time staff member. 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. Her two beautiful daughters are now invlolved in CYT and loving every minute of it!


Carolyn McClaskey

CYT@school Coordinator
Carolyn began her journey with CYT at the tender age of eight, performing in CYT Central's very first production. Over the years she has had the privilege of being a CYT teacher, director, and camp counselor/administrator. Although her roles within the company change, her admiration and joy for CYT always remain the same. Carolyn holds a B.A. in English, and a teaching credential from the University of San Diego. Theater and education are her two passions. She is a firm believer in what the arts can do for a child’s self-esteem and development. Her favorite thing is to spend time with her loving husband and sweet little girls.


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.


Bethany Slomka

Production Shop Assistant
Bethany has been involved with CYT for over 15 years! She began doing shows in 1998, but her older sisters were involved when she was too young to audition! Bethany recently got involved with CYT again, and has loved every minute. She has directed many shows including The 21st Annual Traditions of Christmas! She is a working professional actress in San Diego and is excited to share everything she has learned, with these talented young people! Luke 12:22-26


Rick Deussen

Production Shop Manager
Rick is the newest addition to the staff here at CYT, but 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 almost 30 years to the love of his life, Joy, and has 4 terrific kids and 2 small Chihuahuas.


Floyd Meldrum

Shop Assistant
Floyd has been involved with CYT since 2005 and is blessed with the opportunity to work in an amazing environment with wonderful people. Accompanied by his wife Rosemarie and four children.


Michael Pinning

Technical Associate
Michael is a native of San Diego who has been performing and singing since he was 11 and is always looking for ways to get more involved with music. He has been doing theater since high school and Loves everything about CYT. The organization holds a very special place in his heart and he is thankful for his role as sound technician.


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 12 years to her loving husband David and has a precocious puppy named Sammy.


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.


Renee Kauffman

Camp Coordinator
Renee is so happy to be back where she started her CYT journey 22 years ago at CYT SUMMER CAMP! She has worked for CYT as a Director, Choreographer, Musical Director, Camp Counselor, office administrator, and just about any other position you can fill at CYT. As this year's Camp Coordinator, she is excited about bringing the best experience CYT can offer to everyone who comes to camp. Why are you still here reading this? Register for camp today!


Erin Kelly

Area 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.


Tina Filley

Area Coordinator - San Diego East County
Tina has been the San Diego East County Area Coordinator for the past eight years and has been a part of CCT/CYT for over 15 years. 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!


Tanya Tafolla

Area Coordinator - San Diego Central
Tanya Tafolla has been serving the families of CYT Central as the Area Coordinator for 12 years. Tanya, her husband Noah and kids (Tyler 23, Ryan 21, Olivia 16) have been involved in CYT since 2002. “There is nothing better than live theater! I love to see the magic happen on and off the stage in CYT”. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path” Proverbs 3:5-6


Katrina DeRoche

Area Coordinator - North County Inland
Katrina joined CYT when her daughter was cast in her first CYT show in 2011, and it instantly became home for her family! She grew up in a close military family performing and playing sports all over the world and found the things she loved about both here at Team CYT-NCI! She has worked in the business and educational sectors and loves creating and creatives, so there is no greater joy than serving her families, supporting her artistic teams, building fellowship and growing young performers ... all while making art!


Elizabeth Seaton

Area 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.


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.


Laura Bassett

Area 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