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Instructor Biographies

Debbie Kishpaugh

Studio Owner and Head Dance Instructor

Debbie Kishpaugh is the studio owner and head instructor of Jr. Jam dance. Jr. Jam started 1985 at the Round- Up Athletic Club and quickly grew to where it needed it's own space. Debbie's journey of coaching and teaching began at an early age. Her first “victims” to “visions” where her three sisters; Sherry, Shelly and Kristie. Debbie's first official piece of choreography was to “Winnie the Pooh” at the age of 9. She continued to choreograph while on the dance team at Parrish Jr. High School and a member of the South Salem Saxonettes! Debbie attended U of O and WOSC where she majored in PE and minored in dance. While at the University of Oregon she coached Marist dance team. Debbie is also the head coach of 7 time state champions Pendleton High School Rhythmic Mode dance team- where she has been coaching for over 30 years. Debbie has been awarded with Coach of the Year twice, Volunteer of Year, and the Lifetime Achievement award through the Dance and Drill Coaches Association. Debbie has also won a Crystal Apple from the Umatilla-Morrow County ESD for coaching. Debbie continually pursues her dance knowledge by attending dance teacher conventions and trainings every year. Debbie currently holds certifications in Zumba, Willpower & Grace, POUND, and John Maxwell's Leadership. Debbie's greatest joy has been teaching and coaching both of her daughters (who both instruct at Jr.Jam). For Debbie, dance is a family affair. Her husband builds props and both of her sons were even costume models!

Piper Besst

Dance Instructor, Pendleton

Piper Kishpaugh has been dancing since she was 3 years old and started teaching and coaching dance at the age of 21. Piper was one of the first Jr.Jam students and was on the Rhythmic Mode dance team for four years. Piper has coached the Hermiston Star Dust dance team for 1 year and the Pendleton Rhythmic Mode dance team for 8 years. Piper also coached the Pendleton Cheer Team for 7 years. She has taught at the Jr.Jam studio for 10 years and recently has started teaching tap classes. Piper has her Zumba Gold, Zumba Tone, Aqua Zumba, and POUND certifications. Piper currently teaches Zumba Gold and POUND at the Round Up Athletic Club, Aqua Zumba at the Pendleton Aquatic Center and teaches fitness classes at MCKay Creek Estates. Piper is a very experienced choreographer, along choreographing for Jr.Jam and Rhythmic Mode, she has choreographed two local musicals at Blue Mountain Community College and has choreographed for beauty pageants in Oregon.

Kristen LeGore

Studio Manager

Kristen LeGore joined the staff of Jr. Jam Dance Studio in 2011.

With a background in Cheer and Dance, Kristen is also a certified Yoga Instructor, WillPower & Grace Instructor and Mindfulness Coach.

She serves as the Studio Manager, and designs the Jr. Jam & Jr. Jam Company apparel.

Some of Kristen’s favorite studio activities are Jr Jam Company's annual trip to Tremaine Dance Conventions, teaching YogaFit Kids, Year End Recital and watching the dancers see their costumes for the first time each year at registration.

Susanne Kenne​dy

Ballet Instructor, Pendleton

A native of the Bay Area, Suzanne spent her youth studying ballet and jazz at The Ballet Centre (now Capitol Dance Company). She held supporting roles in Coppelia and Cinderella, lead roles in Graduation Ball and Snow White, and spent a season dancing in San Jose Ballet's Toyland. Suzanne returned to the world of dance in 2018, and was eventually asked to teach ballet at Junior Jam and technique for Rhythmic Mode.

With teaching in her blood, she spends her days teaching K-8 Humanities at Freedom Hall school in Pendleton. Suzanne's love for teaching translates into lively classes during which she continuously strives to convince her students that ballet (English, history, etc.) can be fun.

Alex Anteau

Hip-Hop + Acro Instructor, Hermiston

Alex’s coaching journey began as a student. She worked as an assistant to instructor Ashley Seibel and served as a substitute teacher and held choreography responsibilities. She eventually took over a studio hip-hop program from Ashley and served it passionately until 2020. Alex’s coaching style can be described as completely engaged and enthusiastic, and would participate dancing with her students each week. She has taught hip-hop and gymnastics/acro and has led several studio teams to success across the PNW.

Alex also served as a 4 year member of Hermiston High School Dance team and held the title of captain. Alex’s talent in choreography was well known by her coaches and she was given an opportunity to put that talent to work with an in offering to create her first competitive hip-hop routine during her junior year. Her choreography earned a 3rd place win at category championships. The following year, she created another hip-hop routine that earned the top spot at championships.

In 2017 Alex came back as an alumni to work with Hermiston High School Dance Team, helping to create yet another top 3 winning routine. Since then she has continued to serve as an active consultant/choreographer and is now on staff as an assistant coach and the hip-hip choreographer for the program. In addition to her time with HHS dance, Alex has served as a choreographer and consultant for many hip-hop programs including North Eugene Dance Team and Richland Middle School.

Alex brings a fun and energetic atmosphere to every hip-hop room she is in. Her competitive spirit is evenly matched with her genuine care for her students that creates a harmonious balance. She is also an athlete at heart, having played college soccer, and not only prioritizes safety but also strength and conditioning so that her dancers are at optimal physical fitness and wellness as they train.

Elissa Franks

Dance Instructor, Pendleton & Hermiston

Elissa has been dancing under the instruction of Jr Jam owner, Debbie Kishpaugh, since she was just 3 years old. She spent her time dancing competitively on traveling teams and was also a member of Jr. Jam’s Elite Company team. Elissa is well versed in ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary styles. In 2016 she began her teaching journey when she became employed as a student teacher at the dance studio that had become her second home. She is entering her second year of independent teaching with 5 teaching experience years under her belt, and 16+ years as a student.

In addition to elite studio training, Elissa was a 4 year member of Pendleton High School Rhythmic Mode and held the position of captain during her senior year. She knows the patience, tenacity, and grit it takes to be a champion as she was part of not one-but two state championship first place wins in the OSAA Dance and Drill Championships. During her senior year, she also earned a coveted position on the 2021 Oregon All-State team.

Elissa is looking forward to fun and energetic dance classes with her students and strives to not only teach the fundamentals of dance, but also to show how fun dance can be.

Susan Stephens

Ballet Instructor, Hermiston

Susan’s passion for dance began when she started ballet at age 3 with Salem Dance Academy under the instruction of Widad Farran. Her love for dance continued as she danced from then through high school. She has performed in multiple ballets and was the Principal dancer in Giselle, Snow White, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Alice in Wonderland.

After high school she attended Western Oregon University and University of Oregon majoring in dance. In 2003 she began coaching at Jr Jam in Pendleton teaching ballet and technique to ages 3 through high school. The following year in 2004, she linked arms with Debbie Kishpaugh and became an assistant coach to Pendleton High School Dance Team, Rhythmic Mode. Rhythmic Mode, a force to be reckoned with, won several continuous state championships and was awarded best turns in 2012.

In 2017, after a relocation to Hermiston, Susan took an assistant coaching position for Hermiston High School Dance Team working alongside head coach Ashley Seibel. After a state championship win in the WIAA Dance and Drill State Championships during the 2018-2019 season, Ashley handed over the head coaching reigns to Susan, where she currently maintains her position as head coach. In 2022 her leadership led HHS dance to success once again, securing two state titles in the show and dance division.

Susan is passionate about dance but is also passionate about servant healthcare. She has worked as a Registered Nurse at Good Shepherd Health Care System since 2005 with 15 years of experience in the Emergency Department. She holds certification as an ER Nurse, and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (forensic nurse) since 2012. In 2020 she moved over to oncology, is a chemotherapy trained RN, and an oncology manager.

Susan is an energetic and kind leader who values inclusivity and positivity. She is most looking forward to building confidence in her dancers, and instilling the importance of consistency, responsibility and integrity. Susan remains hopeful that her dancers take lessons from dance to improve the quality of their lives and become champions both on and off the dance floor.

Ashley Seibel

Jazz + Contemporary Instructor, Hermiston

Ashley’s coaching journey began in 2003 when she began teaching both studio dance and coaching high school cheer programs. She has taught tap, hip-hop, and jazz and has led several competitive teams to success at studio competitions across the PNW through 2020.

In addition to her work as a studio instructor, she took on the role of head coach for Hermiston High School Dance Team in 2010 and quickly catapulted the program into success. In just her second year, her team secured the number 3 spot at state. The following year she was also awarded the 5A coach of the year by the Oregon Dance and Drill Association. Her team quickly became familiar with success at the OSAA Dance and Drill Championships. In 2019, after a transition into the WIAA, HHS dance brought home their first state title during her tenure. After a decade of head coaching, Ashley handed over the reigns to assistant coach Susan Stephens and moved toward consulting and choreography work for 2 years. She spent that time working with HHS Dance, Irrigon High School Cheer, and North Eugene Dance Team.

In 2021 Ashley returned as an assistant coach alongside her former staff and helped lead HHS dance to another state championship in the show division as well as a state championship in the dance division with a contemporary routine she choreographed to “praying”. This routine was the grand champion of the weekend-earning the highest score at the entire WIAA 2022 Dance and Drill State Championship.

Ashley is a passionate and energetic coach who leads alongside her team. Her coaching style allows her students the space to integrate their ideas creating a collaborative culture that fosters safety, trust, and growth. She holds a BS in Integrative Studies and in the true spirit of her constant desire for growth- she is heading to graduate school this year for a Masters in Communication and Leadership Studies. This season she is most looking forward to building strong relationships with her studio students and remains hopeful for a trip to nationals- with a nationals ranking, with her high school students.

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