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Meet the Team

Meet the Team!

Carla Friend, Founder & Executive Director

Carla Friend holds a Masters Degree in Music Education from NYU, a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Ithaca College, is New York State Certified to teach music through 12th grade, and has extensive experience on both the teaching and administrative ends of the field. She has taught and researched music and dance across a variety of cultures including locations such as Uganda, Japan, and the Middle East. Carla’s passion lies in community music education and connecting with culture through music and dance.

Carla lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. On the rare occasion that she isn’t teaching or working on other Tkiya-related business, Carla can be found on stage! Recent Roles include Nancy in Oliver!, Hope in Urinetown: The Musical, Elle Woods inLegally Blonde The Musical, and Mimi in RENT.

“I discovered my Jewish identity through music. Now, my mission is to use music to help others connect and to strengthen the bonds of our diverse Jewish community.”

Coinciding with the Pope’s recent visit to the United States, Univision Noticias put out a series of 30 second videos, each featuring religious leaders and believers of all faiths.  Here, Carla speaks about connecting to Judaism through music and why she founded Tkiya!


Katherine Sackman, Kings Bay Y Music Specialist

Katherine Sackman is a teacher, pianist, singer/songwriter, and one of Tkiya’s most versatile facilitators.  She is pursuing her degree in music education at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.  Katherine began as Tkiya’s first intern in 2014, went on to teach Tkiya Tots and Tkiya Kids at Sid Jacobson JCC, has lead Tkiya’s music program at Camp Jacobson for two years, and is now Tkiya’s music specialist for Kings Bay Y in Williamsburg and Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.  She also helped to launch Tkiya For Life, a program for the aging. Katherine loves to help students understand music’s connection to dance, movement and our bodies through games, dance and sign language.

“The creativity of my students fills me with hope and inspiration. It is the greatest privilege to listen to their ideas, create music with them and help each student shine in their own way.”



Courtney Berghahn, Special Needs Music

Courtney Berghahn is a graduate of New York University’s Music Education program and is starting her MA in Music Therapy this fall! She is Tkiya’s Special Needs Specialist, teaching one-one-one sessions as well as leading music with SJJCC’s Kehilla Kids, Little Boosters, and RAVE on weekends.  Courtney is ‘s certified to teach music in New York State, and currently teaches pre-k through 5th grade at P.S. 111 in Hell’s Kitchen. Courtney works with a highly diverse population of students including students with special needs, English language learners, and students designated as Gifted & Talented.  She also serves on the audition panel for Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and trains student teachers from New York University.

Courtney believes that music education has a strong impact on academic success, but she also sees music as a pathway to healing. In order to better harness the healing nature of music, Courtney plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Music Therapy.

“I want my students to walk away having gained insights into their emotions. They can use music as a tool for processing difficulties that arise in their daily lives.”