At The Martine Cotillions we have put together a team of talented and caring professionals who all have backgrounds and education in working with children. Each member of our team consistently strives to make the experience of Cotillion fun and comfortable for the children because we believe children learn better and retain more when they are having fun! And since many of our team members also have backgrounds in performing, Cotillion is not only fun and entertaining for the children, but for visiting parents, family members, and friends as well!
Gena Martine Santoni - Owner/Director
"Miss Martine" is the 5th generation to carry on the family's Cotillion. Having learned to Cha-Cha at age three, her expertise in manners and dance blossoms from growing up in the family business. She literally started in the "mail room" stuffing envelopes in the Cotillion office, then at age eleven went on to help the children as a Cotillion Mentor. Over the years she progressing to co-directing with her parents, Kurt and Suzy Martine before becoming Director of her family’s Cotillions in 1991. Miss Martine is also a writer, and holds degree in English Literature from UCI, and a singer who gained a great deal of performing experience in theater workshops and local repertory groups. She married commercial and fine art photographer, John Santoni, in 1995. Her specialty is inspiring the children, helping them to learn while having fun.
Allen R. Ehmann - Director
Mr. Ehmann has been Directing our Cotillions for more than twenty years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Biola University and an MBA from Capella University. Allen has traveled extensively, and he has directed a variety of enrichment camps and activities, including six summers as the director of K-WET, a water sports camp within Kanakuk Kamps. A favorite repeat adventure is teaching English abroad with his family. Allen also enjoys directing, speaking and acting as emcee for a variety of private organizations, on subjects related to etiquette and social skills. Mr. Ehmann’s entertaining theatrics and sense of humor on the microphone continue to earn admiration, and bring smiles to the faces of cotillion children and parents.
Julie Sweany - Lead Hostess and Office Administrator
Mrs. Sweany has been an invaluable part of the Cotillion Team for two decades. She holds a degree in Psychology from California Lutheran University, and has worked with children in many different capacities prior to joining the Cotillion Team including Directorships of both Physical Education for the YMCA and of Children’s Programs for the city of Irvine. Julie works closely with the Grade Chairs at Cotillion and is indispensable to the parents who volunteer to Host each evening. Mrs. Sweany has a wonderful touch with the children and knows every facet of Cotillion, so if you have any questions while you are there, she is the one to ask!
Adam Sokolowski - Event Manager/Instructor
Mr. Sokolowski has been an integral part of our team since 2001. He earned his degree and teaching credential at California State University Long Beach in 1996, and has experience as a teacher of both elementary and middle school children, and also as a junior high volleyball team coach. Adam and his wife are blessed with two little boys. When not spending time with his family, Adam loves to play golf, and is a very patient golf coach! Mr. Sokolowski has a gentle manner that belies his tall frame. At Cotillion, he has an eye on everything, so you will see him instructing the children on the dance floor and then slyly slipping away to supervise the activity “behind the scenes.”
A multi-titled and very down-to-earth beauty queen, “Miss Keller” is happy to focus on the three girls she and her husband have adopted. Rebekah has been with us since 2001 and has become skilled in directing the children both on and off the microphone. She is a wonderful ambassador for the importance of manners as well as the needs of foster children. Rebekah earned her degree in Liberal Studies from Azusa Pacific University. She has taught elementary and junior high school and created a popular etiquette class for Lakewood’s Valley Christian School as well as a custom series for Yorba Linda’s Heritage Oak School. Rebekah still occasionally performs as a singer and M.C. and also appears at speaking engagements around the country.
Rebekah Keller Negrete - Director/Instructor
Devin De Lozier - Instructor
Mr. De Lozier is a man of many talents and an impressive resume of work with children. He has been a speaker for several youth organizations, been involved with Youth Works in partnership with Habitat For Humanity, among others, and in recent years has spent much of his time away from Cotillion as a church leader and in organizing special events for teens. Devin attended college in Vancouver Washington, and is a talented singer-song writer. He and his wife, Kimberley, are kept quite busy with three young gentlemen of their own. Devin has a dynamic way of engaging the children in learning that is truly unique.
Christie Lofman Alvarado - Instructor
“Miss Lofman” has been part of our team since 2001. She has always enjoyed working with children which led her to earn her degree in Child Development from California State University at Fullerton. Christie is also a decorated beauty queen. She loves performing and traveling and has successfully combined both by competing in pageants in Paraguay and Uruguay as well as spending a year in Japan as a cast member of Japan Disney. She met her husband, a youth minister and event speaker, at Hume Lake Camps where she often serves as a counselor. Most recently, Christie developed Princess by Design, a Christian based participatory class series designed to instruct girls in manners, charm and character development.
Julie Albers - Instructor
Mrs. Albers joined our team in 2011. She earned her Masters of Education in Educational Counseling from Azusa Pacific University and went on to become a Senior Admissions Counselor for her alma mater for many years. Now a mother of two little girls, she enjoys spending her time on family, travel and her voracious reading habit! Julie loves working with the children at Cotillion and seeing them progress in their manners and polite behavior while simultaneously developing their self-esteem and confidence. She describes it as "a very gratifying and rewarding experience.”