Alex is a software product manager and has been teaching martial arts since 2012. “When I was a child, I could not focus or remember lessons in school. I would stare into space and be very forgetful. Things got better during elementary school. It was then that my parents engaged me in physical and artistic activities. I have always been passionate about helping youth and knew early on that leading children to success was something very natural and fulfilling. When children have fun and are engaged, results do come. It’s a thrill to see a child’s smile, a parent’s sigh of relief or tears of happiness—it reminds me of why I created Bel Air.“
Emily Ember is an actress and a filmmaker. While studying theatre at Northwestern University, she taught creative drama to children, igniting their imaginations and helping them to find their voice. Emily has trained jiu-jitsu since 2015 and enjoys helping kids build confidence through physical activity.
Alex has a background mentoring students through First Robotics Lego League competitions and Robotic tech summer programs. He works as an Electrical engineer and has a passion for sharing problem solving skills and thinking out of the box with the students. Additionally he trains Jiu-Jitsu with Team Redzovic. He is excited to be a part of Bel Air Academy.
Eduardo Roman is an educator at Schurz high school for students with special needs since 2008. Passionate about bringing the best out of his students, expect him to be patient,give attention to detail and have a big heart. Eduardo also coaches varsity volleyball and basketball, competes and teaches Muay Thai boxing, and is a mentor at Erie Neighborhood House.
Zack began his leadership path when he entered the Marines in 2009. After graduating college, he worked as a Behavioral Specialist then moved to Japan to gain cultural awareness and communication skills as an ESL Teacher and Cultural Ambassador. Currently, he is working for CPS as a Paraprofessional at Alcott teaching diverse learners while earning his PEL license at DePaul. He’s an experienced blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu but has also trained Karate, Danzan and Marine Corps Martial Arts. “Being the second oldest of seven kids, I grew up helping my younger siblings. I think being able to help kids grow and transcend is truly rewarding, it has led me to pursue a career in education.“
Brian Rainville is a writer who has worked at various news outlets and in the community relations field. Currently he is a brown belt with Team Redzovic. Over the last 30 years he has volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The Special Olympics and Little Brothers/Friends of the Elderly. He believes that change is built only through the millions of tiny and quiet acts.
Diana Balitaan works as an educator and career advisor with Chicago area high school students.
Diana has trained in Jiu-Jitsu for over 4 years at Redzovic Jiu Jitsu and is a part of the queer martial arts collective, Storme Legacy. They enjoy working with youth on building new skills, elevating their confidence, and watching them grow!