FlowerSchool Instructors & Staff

The FlowerSchool staff are the most famous and accomplished designers from around the world.  This includes seasoned educators certified by the New York State Board of Education, celebrated professionals and experienced designers.

Certification by the state indicates that these professionals are capable of imparting their expertise in a classroom setting.  Here at FlowerSchool students work with real, working professionals who have years of experience in expertise in their field.

Meet your instructors:

Calvert Crary - Executive Director

- Designer, Artist, Writer, Instructor, Speaker -

Calvert Crary is the Executive Director of both FlowerSchool New York and FlowerSchool Los Angeles, and author of Flower School: A Practical Guide to the Art of Flower Arranging (Nov 2020).

An internationally recognized instructor and mentor, Calvert has taught programs across the United States, Holland, Mexico and Australia, and was this year’s judge for the prestigious PHS Philadelphia Flower Show.

Calvert has trained and coached thousands of students on how to work in the floral industry with top designers, start new businesses, or reorganize existing floral businesses into thriving careers.

Tara Sandonato - Creative Director of FlowerSchool LA

Tara Sandonato has been a creative force in the floral industry, starting at the early age of 16. She stumbled onto it accidentally and never looked back. Tara has worked for several well-respected event and floral companies in Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles as a highly regarded freelance designer. She has traveled internationally using her love of flowers to create beautiful works of art. After 22 years in the floral industry, Tara has joined FlowerSchool Los Angeles as their Operations Director, to inspire new designers and continue to grow and promote this exciting and ever changing profession.


Robin Zackary – Prop Stylist

The Prop Styling Experience is a unique, hands-on approach to learning about tabletop photography.  Stylist Robin Zachary gives students tools
to successfully create well curated table-top compositions for aiding in social media, displaying products and, most importantly, photographing flowers!

Karen Nicole, ILA Mixologist, Actor

With an educational background in Theatrical Performance Art from the University of NE, Karen Nicole has easily translated the skill of memorizing lines and devouring scripts into the ever expanding tale of creating delicious cocktails! “Know your spirited cast of characters, get ’em to dance, and enjoy the love of flavors!”

Forever a student of her own five senses she shares a unique professional understanding of executing bar recipes and technique learned from a variety of experiences across the U.S.A. In Los Angeles she once trained under the expertise of world known author and mixologist maestro Salvadore Calabrese. 

Where years of keeping up with the demanding pace at beloved NYC restaurant hot spots, such as the former Spice Market and the recently resurrected Pastis, have helped her in maintaining the rhythmic step of crafting cocktails while energetically entertaining the palates of masses. 

Juan Villanueva, Instructor

Juan M. Villanueva, owner of Villanueva Designs, is a second-generation florist from South Texas, who for the past 10 years has successfully served Manhattan and its surrounding areas, as the city’s best kept floral design secret.

Having studied fine arts at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Juan and his company bring an experienced artistic touch to all their projects.  On his journey, he has had the privilege of working with A-list celebrities, titans of industry, world-renowned interior designers, premier fashion houses & amazing humanitarian organizations.