Instructor Bios

A picture of Deke Anderson, Adult Director and Owner of Next Level Acting Studios

Deke Anderson

Adult Director & Owner

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Deke Anderson has been a working actor for 35+ years and has Directed and Assistant Directed both Theatrically and Commercially.


Just a few of his many TV and movie credits include “Green Lantern,” “Friday Night Lights,” (this performance quoted in "Sports Illustrated"), series regulars on “Days of Our Lives,” and guest star and recurring performances on “Cheers,” “Webster,” “Brisco County,” “The Show,” “Deep End,” “The Lying Game,” “Dallas” (2012 return), “Drop Dead Diva,” “Devious Maids,” and the Dick-Wolf produced “Nasty Boys.” He has acted in more than 30 features, including “Army of Darkness,” “The Hidden” and “The General's Daughter.” He has performed in dozens of operas, musicals, and stage dramas.


Deke also directed more than 50 episodes of "Real Stories of the Highway Patrol," and worked as a director/producer and 1st AD for Atlas Pictures/Commercials in Los Angeles, so he has a keen sense of what it takes to be successful both in front of and behind the camera. Deke is a highly respected actor's director as well. During his twenty plus years of teaching actors, he has coached thousands of actors, including Bruce Campbell, Masi Oka, Shannon Elizabeth, Christopher Judge, Chandler Canterbury, Sarah Foret, and Amber Stevens.

Prominent Colleagues

Deke has also had the privilege of acting with Tim Robbins, Karen Black, Kevin Costner, Lance Henricksen, Dee Wallace Stone, Dick Van Dyke, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Franz, Seann William Scott, BeBe Neuwirth, Michael Nouri, Eddie Albert, Parker Stevens, Pamela Sue Martin, Ed O'Ross, Ted Danson, Charles Napier, Woody Harrelson, Finola Hughes, Charlotte Ross, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, to name a few. Deke has been directed by Spider-Man's Sam Raimi, Casino Royale's and Green Lantern's Martin Campbell, James Burrows, Michael Grossman, Simon West, Dick Wolf, Larry Shaw, Joe Napolitano, Chris Nyby, Peter Hunt, Seith Mann and many more.

A picture of Elsa Ward, Youth/Teen Director & Co-Owner of Next Level Acting Studios

Elsa Ward

Youth/Teen Director & Co-Owner

Elsa Ward is Co-Owner of Next Level Acting Studios and the Director of its Youth and Teen Program. She teaches in The Woodlands location. Next Level’s Youth/Teen classes, are home to young aspiring professional actors and many young actors who study acting simply for the joy and significant life skills benefits it provides.


Elsa studied acting in Hollywood and booked her recurring role on “Days of Our Lives” in less than six months of pursuing acting professionally. While pursuing her acting career in Hollywood, Elsa recurred on “Days of Our Lives,” appeared at the HBO workspace in “D.B.’s Here,” was a member of Hollywood’s Hudson Theatre Guild, and appeared in several plays, short films and industrials.


She studied with some of the best acting teachers in Hollywood, including Emmy-nominated actor/former SAG President Alan Rosenberg, well known character actor Walter Olkewicz and, of course, Next Level’s own Deke Anderson. She studied improvisation at the renowned improv haven, Improv Olympic. She also studied on-camera commercial technique at Weist-Barron-Hill L.A. and trained with multiple soap opera casting directors at TVI Studios.

Education & Background

Elsa has long loved teaching, having completed her B.A. cum laude with a minor in secondary education. After completing her undergraduate degree, Elsa taught underclassmen law students at Loyola University School of Law, where she obtained her law degree and graduated at the top of her class. It was her former career as an attorney, both in private practice and as in-house counsel for Princess Cruises, while attending acting classes to advance her courtroom and presentation skills, that led to her life passion —acting and teaching acting.

Volunteering & Service

Elsa enjoys volunteering her drama talents in the Channel One programming at Woods Edge Community Church in The Woodlands, where she also teaches children’s Sunday School classes. She is thrilled to lead the team for young actors at Next Level, where her love of children, acting, and teaching create the perfect balance of focus and fun.

A picture of Shelley Calene-Black, Senior Instructor at Next Level Acting Studios

Shelley Calene-Black

Senior Instructor

Shelley Calene-Black has been a working actress for the past 15+ years with substantial credits in theatre, film, commercial and voice-over work, including a supporting role in "Taken 3" (with Forest Whitaker), a guest star role on Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva" and a co-starring appearance on TNT's "Memphis Beat.” She began her training at the University of Houston School of Theatre, studying most notably under Jose Quintero, and the School for Film and Television, NYC, as well as with numerous recognized film and commercial coaches.

Stage Credits & Awards

As a stage actress, Shelley has performed in dozens of theatrical productions for some of the most nationally recognized theatres in Houston, including the Tony Award winning Alley Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre, and Infernal Bridegroom Productions (of which she was a founding company member in addition to serving on the Artistic Staff). For her stage work, Shelley has been noted as "one of the best actresses in Houston" by the Houston Chronicle, and by the Houston Press Awards in the Best Actresses category.

Commercial & Anime

In addition to her theatrical work, Shelley has appeared in numerous commercials, industrial films, and voice-overs for television and radio. Her voice-over work includes approximately 100+ titles for Japanese anime features and series. She has been highlighted in Anime Insider Magazine and as one of the "Babes of Anime" featuring "America's Hottest Voice Actresses." As one of the "Babes", Shelley hosted the first American Anime Awards in New York City which aired nationally on Anime Network. Some of her series have been seen on Cartoon Network, and many of them are currently airing on Anime Network.

Acting Coach

Shelley has taught acting for Actors Theatre of Houston, as well as privately coached a number of young actors and fellow colleagues. Currently, Shelley continues her own on-camera studies with Deke Anderson of Next Level Acting.

A picture of Teri Medina Galvan, Youth Instructor at Next Level Acting Studios

Teri Medina Galvan

Youth Instructor

Teri Medina Galvan has been a performer for over 20 years. She spent the majority of her youth engaged in stage production and her most recent years, on camera. She has appeared in a variety of commercials, corporate videos, short films, an independent feature, print ads, and as a host. Teri enjoys running outdoors, teaching dance cardio, swimming, and traveling. She’s visited over 60 countries!

On Camera

As an on camera actress, Teri has performed in various commercials, including, Academy Sports & Outdoors, National University, John Moore, and Fiesta. She has worked as the principal talent in corporate videos for companies such as, Schlumberger, Sysco Foods, Chevron, Shell, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco. She’s completed 10+ short films, including, A Broken Heart, A Soldier’s Soul, and The Usual as well as an independent feature, Blissful Lies, starring Leann Hunley.


She first took to the stage through dance, but quickly found she also had a love for acting. Her theatrical credits include, Pippen, Into The Woods, The Cat’s Meow, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, An Imaginary Invalid, Grease, Fools, Quilters, and Little Me.


Teri began studying with Deke Anderson in July 2009 and currently continues her on camera training. She’s attended a multitude of workshops, where she has worked with Casting Directors from Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, New York, and Los Angeles.

Additional Education

Teri holds a B.B.A and M.S. in Accounting from Texas A&M University. She has worked as an Auditor, as well as in Financial Reporting, Budget and Forecast, Corporate Accounting, Marketing Accounting, and Revenue Accounting.

A picture of Shondra Marie, Youth/Teen Instructor at Next Level Acting Studios

Shondra Marie

Substitute Instructor

Shondra Marie has been working in the professional entertainment industry for over 20 years. She has not only worked extensively in the theatre, but also in films, commercials, voice-overs, anime, audiobooks and cast albums. When she is not onstage, on set, behind a microphone, or in Deke Anderson's film class, she can be found either working as a Standard/Simulated Patient (and Teaching Associate) in the Med Center or sitting in her living room doing some sort of needlework.


During her decades of working in the Houston theatre scene, she has done many types of shows, including musical theatre, children's theatre, avant-garde theatre, comedies and dramas. Some of the theatres and shows she has worked for include Main Street Theater: Girls Only!, A Catered Affair, Tomfoolery: the Words & Music of Tom Lehrer, Ps' & Q's: the ABCs of Manners, The Secret Garden, Morning Star; Texas Repertory Theater: Nunsense, I Do! I Do!, Smoke on the Mountain; Bayou City Concert Musicals: The Pajama Game, One Touch of Venus, Finian's Rainbow, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (as well as several of their cabarets); A.D. Players: Sanders Family Christmas, Godspell, The Glass Menagerie, Smoke on the Mountain; Unity Theatre: A Child's Christmas in Wales, The Gift of The Magi; Theater LaB: See Rock City & Other Destinations, A Contemporary American's Guide to a Successful Marriage circa 1959, Nursery School Musical; Mildred's Umbrella: By the Bog of Cats, Kama Sutra, as well as shows at Children's Theatre Festival, Town Center Theatre, Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Stuart Ostrow's Musical Theatre Lab, Thunderbird Theater, and many others.

Acting Training & Credits

She started studying with Deke Anderson in February of 2008 and continues her on camera studies with him currently. Film credits include: Puncture, Sacrifice, The Ghosts on Hurdle Avenue, and Pleadings. She is a Board Member of the local Houston-Austin SAG-AFTRA chapter.