2014 Denver Speakers

        Speakers           Hosts         Students         Schedule          Hotel          Sponsors        

1601184_581520415289095_778790024_nLee Ann Adams, joined Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) as Administrative Coordinator in September 2012 and became Program & Operations Manager in July 2013. Prior to joining the AICAD team, she was an Admission’s Officer at the Rhode Island School of Design for four years. Lee Ann has also worked as an Administrator in the American Paintings Department at Christie’s Auction House in New York City and as Assistant to the Director at the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island. Lee Ann graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration in 2003.

Dr R Scott Allen

Scott Allen, Ed.D., is the Principal of Houston ISD’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Allen earned his BFA in Theatre with an emphasis in Directing from Texas State University in San Marcos, and his master’s in educational administration and doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. His dissertation title was Fine Arts and Student Academic Success in Texas: A Critical Examination. Allen’s background includes theatre work in New York and community theatre throughout Texas. He has been a high school classroom teacher in speech, theatre, oral interpretation, radio/television/film, and English, and has served as an assistant principal and principal at the elementary level. He worked at the Region 4 Education Service Center, training aspiring principals for a year before
coming to HSPVA.

ArnoldAprillArnold Aprill, Principal Investigator, Radical Compliance Arts and Learning Laboratory: Aprill, Arts and Learning Consultant, comes from a background in professional theater as an award-winning director, producer and playwright. He founded the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) in 1993 and the Radical Compliance Arts and Learning Laboratory in 2013. He is one of the co-authors of “Renaissance in the Classroom: Arts Integration and Meaningful Learning,” and is a contributor to the “Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning.” He consults nationally and internationally on the role of the arts in effective school improvement and on manageable and useful approaches to assessing arts learning. He has been recognized for exceptional leadership by the Fulbright Scholars program, by the Chicago Community Trust, and by the Leadership for a Changing World initiative, supported by the Ford Foundation.

Emily Ayers, Middle School Exploratory Arts/High School Visual Arts, Creative Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

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Alison Ball, Education Director, YoungArts: Arts administrator with thirty years of leadership experience working in higher education, arts educational administration and community arts schools. Professional musician and teacher, arts management consultant and fundraiser for arts programs at collegiate and pre-college levels. Presently, Director of Education for National YoungArts Foundation, Miami, FL.



Joann_BrennanJoann Brennon, Associate Dean, College of Arts & Media, University of Colorado Denver: As Associate Dean, artist, professor, and educator I am guided by a firm belief that the arts are crucial to the well-being and vitality of society and culture. In my professional and creative endeavors I strive to support positive change, impact successful collaborations, and advocate for the arts and arts education. In my role as Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs here in the College of Arts & Media I have had opportunities to engage in many exciting projects including curriculum development, outcomes and assessment, partnership development, support for co-curricular events and opportunities, and strategic planning for the college. ArtsBridge and CAM Connects are two projects that have been a pleasure to oversee for the college as they provide terrific opportunities for CAM faculty and CAM students to impact positive change through the arts.

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Melissa Brodsky-Levine, Director of Career Development, NYU Tisch School of the Arts:  As Director of Career Development, Melissa works to insure that students have all the pieces available to them as they prepare for successful careers in the arts. Melissa counsels and assists students in evaluating their interests and skills and how this relates to their future goals.  Her Career Development team works to create a wide variety of resources and programs to assist students in preparing for their careers in the arts; including creating professional marketing materials, preparing for interviews and networking opportunities, as well as industry specific events designed to assist students in developing relationships and to expose them to professionals in their field of choice. In her spare time she enjoys interior design, reading biographies, running and enjoying all the live music NYC has to offer.

UnknownGinger White Brunetti, Deputy Director of Denver Arts and Venues: Denver Arts & Venues’ mission is to enhance Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, arts, and entertainment opportunities.  Brunetti has more than 15 years of experience in public and nonprofit sectors.  Through her vast experience, she has effectively positioned the cultural sector as a significant contributor to Denver’s economic vitality, livability, place making and brand.



Peggy Burt, Executive Director, California State Summer School Arts Foundation: The CSSSA Foundation is the 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides support to the California State Summer School for the Arts.  With over 25 years’ experience in arts administration, arts education and nonprofit management, Peggy brings a wealth of skills and expertise to the vital work of CSSSA.  A dancer by training, Peggy enjoyed a professional career in ballet and contemporary dance with such companies as Ballet West, Spectrum Dance Theatre, and Lineage Dance.  She taught dance at the middle school, high school and college levels, along with top dance studios from Washington DC, to Seattle to Pasadena.  In California, Peggy has worked with the California Alliance for Arts Education and with the Los Angeles County Initiative: Arts for All through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

As a strategic planner, facilitator and coach, Peggy worked closely with districts such as the Burbank Unified School District, the Pasadena Unified School District and the ICEF Public Schools to develop plans for systemic, standards-based arts education programs. As a consultant, Peggy has worked with a variety of arts organizations in Board Development and planning, including the Armory Center for the Arts, the Los Angeles Childrens Chorus, the Pasadena Symphony, the City of Burbank Cultural Arts Commission, the A+D Museum and Arts for LA.  As Managing Director of Lineage Dance, Peggy was responsible for dance company management, as well as grants and development strategies.  Peggy was a founding member and has served on the Advisory Board of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation.  As the Executive Director of the CSSSA Foundation, an organization that was founded to help nourish the vibrant creative young artists of California, Peggy recognizes the unique leadership role that she and the CSSSA Foundation can play in arts education.  CSSSA focuses upon a critical time in a young artist’s life –when a student must decide whether art is a childhood hobby or a potential career.  With the visionary leadership of the Herb Alpert Foundation, her signature initiative “CSSSA Bridge to College”, will offer new programs to assist students who have completed a summer at CSSSA, expanding opportunities beyond the outstanding four-week program.

carson_colbyColby Carson, Director of Admissions, Lamont School of Music, University of Denver: Prior to joining the Lamont School of Music, Colby Carson was the Assistant Director of Admissions for Recruitment at The Juilliard School in New York City. Mr. Carson holds a master of arts in arts administration from The Florida State University College of Music, where he began working in admissions in 2009. Before returning to FSU, where he also received a bachelor in choral music education, Colby was a high school chorus teacher in Orlando, Florida.

Prior to joining the Lamont School of Music, Colby Carson was the Assistant Director of Admissions for Recruitment at The Juilliard School in New York City. Mr. Carson holds a master of arts in arts administration from The Florida State University College of Music, where he began working in admissions in 2009. Before returning to FSU, where he also received a bachelor in choral music education, Colby was a high school chorus teacher in Orlando, Florida.

Peter Castillo, Principal, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

Benita Cervantes, 2nd Grade, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

Chia Poh Hian, Teacher, Dance Faculty, School of the Arts Singapore, has been a dance faculty member since August 2013 and is also a SOTA alumni. She is a graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS), with a first class honours degree in Contemporary Dance. Her award- winning choreography and performances have been showcased at several international venues, such as Buckingham Palace and Sadler’s Wells (United Kingdom), Verona (Italy), and Paris (France). She has also collaborated across disciplines with other movement artists, musicians and filmmakers at the Cloud Dance Festival, the City of London Festival, and the BIG Dance Festival (United Kingdom). To better understand movement, Poh Hian practises a wide range of techniques, including Flying-low and Gaga. She received foundational training in Classical Ballet at Singapore Ballet Academy and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) School of Young Talents. She was a recipient of the prestigious Singapore National Arts Council Scholarship (Overseas) and the LCDS Peggy Hawkins Scholarship Fund Award for outstanding technical ability and performance.

Jackie Collins 2-12-13Jackie Collins is the executive director and principal of Idaho Arts Charter School. Collins received her undergraduate degree in speech and political science from the University of Idaho, an M.A. in special education from Boise State University and an Ed.S. in administration from the University of Idaho. She has been involved with public education for over 30 years. She has taught special education, and led students to award winning speech and debate events, and was named Centennial High School’s Teacher of the Year. When she started a new lottery based K-12 charter school, her solid background as a teacher made her aware of the challenges. She was responsible for planning and integrating everything from student lunches, busing, teacher contracts to curriculum. Idaho Arts Charter School (IACS) has met annual yearly goals, continues to grow in arts and academics despite its location in a low socio-economic area, and is the first exposure to the arts for many students. The school features arts integrated classes for the lower elementary and arts academies for the middle and high school. When Idaho Charter School started, it was housed in mobile units and an old church building. 2007-08 Jackie and her team were instrumental in putting together a plan to purchase an existing school and design an arts addition so the school could have a permanent facility. Her team was able to secure 7.5 million in bonds from investors and their dream school was complete. Collins has presented at schools and conferences techniques in arts integration, school management, and charter school start up plans. She and her staff have been the recipients of over $300,000 in grants from the Albertson Foundation to promote creativity and charter schools and was also a recipient of $500,000 from the Idaho State Department of Education and the Federal Government to support charter schools and disseminate best practices to charter and public schools.

Margo Collins, CTE Stagecraft & Technical Teacher/Performing Arts Chair, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…


Howard Cook, Assistant Professor (C/T) and Director for the Digital Animation Center, University of Colorado Denver: Trained as a studio artist (printmaking) with terminal degrees in painting and Digital Cinema, Cook is an artist who has been working with digital content creation since its inception in the early ‘80’s. He is a 1982 graduate of Auburn University with BFA in Printmaking, MFA work in Painting and holds a MFA Digital Cinema (magna cum laud, 2007) from National University, La Jolla CA. Cook began his career as a photorealist painter and became one of the country’s leading space/aerospace artists. Working directly with the crews of 12 shuttle missions, Howard helped to develop some of the first Educational/Public outreach programs for the NASA Shuttle program. His graphics have flown over 16 million miles in Earth orbit, and has visited other worlds; Mars, Venus, Jupiter and is currently in orbit around Saturn. Cook has worked as a production designer and Art Director for Paramount studios and Lucasfilms working on a broad range of products for film and television. He was the co-author, illustrator and designer for the Simon and Schuster’s publication, Designs on Space: Blueprints for 21st Century Space Technology.

Jenn Cooper, Visual and Design Arts/Visual Arts Chair, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

Rachael Delaney, Associate Professor of Art Education, Metropolitan State University of Denver,  has been teaching at the University since 2005 and has taught course work in various studio disciplines and art education. She earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MFA from SUNY New Paltz in Metalsmithing, and Licensure in Art Education in the Masters Program for Art Education at New York University. Rachael began her career in education in 1998 at the K-12 level. She has taught in Boston, New York City, Seattle and Boulder. Her work as an artist, researcher and educator is directly influenced by her experiences in the classroom. She is interested in exploring the ways contemporary art reflects contemporary realities and the disruption of the customary through a collective experience that fosters engagement beyond appreciation. Her most recent body of work focuses on the collaborative and how learning through collective experiences can inform and broaden perceptions and constructions of meaning. Through her presentations both regionally and nationally Rachael provides an alternative framework for bringing contemporary art practices and works of art into the K-12 art classroom.

Lanny_DeVuonoLanny Frances DeVuono, Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing, University of Colorado Denver.Before arriving in Denver, she taught at the Department of Visual Art at Eastern Washington University where she also served as chair. Additionally she has taught at New York University, William Paterson in New Jersey, Rangsit University in Thailand and Trivandrum College of Fine Art in India.

She has received numerous awards for her work, including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship, a GAP Grant, and artist residency awards at Yaddo, Centrum and Jentel for her work as a painter. Her work is in collections such as NW Museum of Art & Culture, Washington State Medical Center, Swedish Hospital, Jundt Art Museum, the Kent Justice Center as well as private collections.

She also writes on contemporary art under the name Frances DeVuono; publications include Art News, Arts, New Art Examiner, Art Papers, and Artweek, among others. She received her MFA from Mills College and MA in Teaching from Columbia University Teachers College. She is a current member of the International Association of Art Critics.

Suzanne DionneSuzanne Dionne, Visual Arts Teacher, Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School, has taught for 26 years; she currently teaches visual art to students in pre-K through second grade. Suzanne recently received a national award; she was selected as the 2014 Connecticut Outstanding Art Educator. Hundreds of her students have been in exhibits locally and nationally, published online, in books and magazines. Over 19,000 pieces of student artwork appear online on Artsonia. She has presented workshops for the CT Art Education Association, the National Art Education Association and Magnet Schools of America; has been published in Arts and Activities Magazine; and has written as the Monthly Mentor for the National Art Education Association. In the last two years, she has produced ten shadow puppet theater performances featuring students from kindergarten through second grade.

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Talya Dornbush, Education Director at the Center for Visual Art and Affiliate Faculty at Metropolitan State University Denver, developed curriculum and taught in traditional public schools, charter schools and non-traditional education settings for 10 years before transitioning to Metropolitan State University of Denver.  An innovator, she has been instrumental in school design and teacher leadership for emerging reform-based schools.  She also led a teacher exchange program in China. While working towards a master’s degree at Harvard University, Talya contributed to research at Project Zero.  She works to promote authentic learning opportunities for youth, adolescents and teaching professionals.  Talya was recently recognized by a panel of her peers and awarded “Colorado Middle School Art Educator of the Year.”

brett_egan_138-1Brett Egan, President, DeVos Institute of Arts Management, University of Maryland, leads the Institute’s team of consultants and teachers in projects on six continents, supporting organizations and executives in every arts industry on a range of short- and long-term concerns, including strategic planning, artistic planning, marketing, human resource development, and fundraising. From September 2011 until December 2012, Egan served concurrently as Interim CEO of the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman), working with local leadership to open this first-of-its-kind institution on the Arabian Peninsula. Invited to provide CEO services only weeks before its grand opening, Egan led the organization through a successful first season with performances by Placido Domingo, Renée Fleming, and Andrea Bocelli; the Mariinsky Ballet, La Scala Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre; the Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; and four operas including Franco Zeffirelli’s Metropolitan Opera production of Turandot and the world premiere of a new Carmen commissioned and produced by the Royal Opera House. The inaugural season transpired without incident and enjoyed a diverse audience of Omanis and expatriates at an average capacity of 92 percent. In 2013, Egan again joined the Opera House, this time to lead the Institute’s team in planning support for the first library of musical arts and education on the Arabian Peninsula. In the United States, Egan leads multi-year, capacity building initiatives in partnership with the Ford Foundation supporting 27 community-based organizations from Ajo, Arizona and Anchorage, Alaska to Providence and Miami; regional training intensives in Detroit, Grand Rapids, New York City, and Miami; three-year International Fellowships with 35 participants from 28 countries; an annual fellowship for mid-career, US-based arts executives; and long-term consultancies with private clients. In 2012 and 2013, the Institute launched, under Egan’s leadership, two-year training programs in Ireland, Croatia, and Vietnam. From 2006 to 2009, Egan served as Executive Director of the New York-based modern dance company, Shen Wei Dance Arts, which toured an average of 22 cities per year on four continents, was a Kennedy Center resident company and principal contributor to the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Beijing. Prior to 2006, Egan worked with a variety of cultural organizations including Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theater Workshop, the Annie Leibowitz Studio, and Santa Fe Opera. Egan is the co-author, with DeVos Institute Chairman Michael M. Kaiser, of The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations (University Press of New England, 2013). Egan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in Cultural and Performance Theory, received the Antarctic Service Medal and a Princess Grace Fellowship (Monaco), and wrote a travel guide on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

John Epps, Denver Public Schools Performing Arts Coordinator  Bio coming soon…

Fang Siwei, Teacher, Visual Arts Faculty, School of the Arts Singapore, has been a Visual Arts faculty member at SOTA since January 2012. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, in Industrial Design. In 2010, Siwei was conferred the prestigious President’s Design Award for her contribution to ‘Objects Around The Tablescape’, a collection of daily objects that focuses on the visceral and emotive quality of materials; synthesizing different fragments of investigations, thoughts and design studies into everyday objects. As a practicing designer, Siwei has also been involved with freelance lighting design projects, curatorial efforts for retail gallery spaces and design strategies for design businesses in Singapore. She has also conducted design thinking workshops with students, academic researchers and professionals.


David Flatley 2-18-13 David A. Flatley, the executive director of the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago, has over 15 years experience in developing and implementing educational and intercultural initiatives to improve teacher practice and student achievement and affect whole-school change. His work supports both national and international groups, including the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Educational Authority as they work to replicate the arts integration model developed by Flatley and his team through the Chicago Teacher’s Center in the 1990s. This relationship is now being transferred and formalized through Columbia. He was instrumental in advancing the work of arts integration in the city through his work with the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Prior to delving into arts education, he worked in development and management with the Cincinnati Ballet, the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, and Pegasus Players Theatre in Chicago. He has an MA in arts administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BS in business administration from the University of Illinois-Champaign. Flatley received his practitioner’s certification in intercultural communications through the Intercultural Communications Institute in Portland, OR in 2001. He currently serves on the Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Council, the Illinois Federation for Community Schools Board, the Arts Schools Network Board, and the CAPE Advisory Board. He is a jazz pianist and writer. He learned French while living in Brussels, Belgium for nearly four years, where he taught English, directed theatre, and played piano for the three American Embassies.

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Sally Gaskill manages the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), the annual survey of arts graduates at Indiana University. SNAAP investigates the educational experiences and career paths of arts graduates nationally.
Sally’s career in arts administration and arts education spans three decades. She led the arts councils of Rochester, NY (1993-2000) and Bloomington, IN (2000-2005), and managed grantmaking programs for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. She served as executive director of the Greater Boston Youth Symphony. As a consultant, she developed cultural plans for a number of communities, and evaluated over 100 nonprofit arts organizations as a site reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts. 
Sally is past president of the Indiana Coalition for the Arts, a nonprofit arts advocacy and lobbying organization. She taught cultural policy at the graduate level for the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and for Indiana University. She is a founding board member of Bloomington’s Cardinal Stage Company, and sings with Voces Novae, a chamber choir. Sally received a B.A. in history from Colorado College and an M.A. in arts management from American University.

CGK-photoCybele Garcia Kohel, Bridge to College Coordinator, California Summer School Arts Foundation, is a working capacity builder and facilitator. She specializes in arts administration, using the arts as a tool in community building, and arts education. In addition to her work in coordinating CSSSAF’s Bridge to College program, she is a Los Angeles County Arts Commission Arts for All Coach. She is also a Co-Founder of the NW Neighborhood Advocacy Group in Pasadena, a non-profit that advocates for the residents of NW Pasadena. Ms. Kohel’s most recent experiences in the arts administration and arts education fields include working for Inner-City Arts and managing the Cal Poly Pomona Downtown Arts Center. Ms. Kohel’s formal education is in Anthropology (BS) and Conflict Resolution (MSC), with a focus on grassroots community building. Ms. Kohel is a passionate advocate for the arts, and in all her spare time she endeavors to create by knitting, writing, playing with clay and cycling.

Leslie_GastonLeslie Gaston, Associate Professor of Music in Recording Arts , School of Music & Entertainment Industries Studies, College of Arts & Media, University of Colorado Denver: received a B.A. in Telecommunications in 1991 and an A.S. in Audio Engineering in 1989 from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She was among the first to graduate from the Master of Science in Recording Arts program at the University of Colorado Denver. Gaston worked for four years at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., and for seven years at Colorado Public Radio in Denver. She was the recording engineer for the Colorado Symphony from 1998-2000. Along with Dan Drayer and Kelley Griffin, she won the 2000 Edward R. Murrow award for A Columbine Diary, which aired in Denver during NPR’s All Things Considered. She is a member of the Audio Engineering Society and a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Golden Key honor societies.

Head shot, postmodernNate Greene, Career and Technology Facilitator, Denver School of the Arts: Following 11 years of film production work in Hollywood, Nate Greene returned to Denver to take his experience into the classroom. Working as Career and Technology Resource Specialist at Denver School of the Arts for the past 3 years, Nate worked to develop robust internship programs for the Video Cinema and Stagecraft majors, allowing students to gain hands on working experience in the field of their choice. Seeking to expand internship opportunities for students in the summertime, Nate co-developed and implemented the Creative Industries Internship Program with Talya Dornbush at the Center for Visual Art, Metro State University. The Creative Industries Internship Program gives high school students the most complete art internship possible by giving them the chance to work on Denver’s premiere urban art initiatives (Oh Heck Yeah, Biennial of the Americas), create art installations for display in the heart of the Santa Fe Arts District, meet and learn directly from creative industry professionals, and receive workforce development training that prepares them for work in the creative sector. Starting this October, Nate began working for the First Lady of Denver Mary Louise Lee’s Bringing Back the Arts Foundation as Program Director for their pilot internship program. Working to bring students internship opportunities with Denver’s top creative employers, Nate is ecstatic about the amazing opportunities the Bringing Back the Arts Internship Program will bring to DPS high school students. Nate is also a proud father of Risa Firesinger Greene and husband to poet Abby Templeton-Greene, who allows him to continue to nurse his film production addiction by directing music videos for Denver musicians when he can find the time.

Donn K. Harris was appointed the executive director of the Oakland School for the Arts by former California governor Jerry Brown in November 2007. Prior to that, Harris had been the principal of the renowned San Francisco School of the Arts for seven years. He holds an MA in theater arts from California State University at Los Angeles, and teaching credentials in English, drama and special education with an emphasis on students with emotional disturbance. Harris has taught in diverse environments ranging from high performing schools to incarcerated youth in juvenile hall. He has also been part of many innovative educational initiatives, including outdoor education programs for at-risk youth and the development of a high school teaching academy. Harris first became a school administrator in 1994 when he was appointed dean of students at Galileo High School in San Francisco. He received his administrative credentials from San Francisco State University and through advanced training with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). He has been a guest lecturer in the administrative training programs at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Harris also serves as the advisory board chair for the East Bay International Youth Film Festival. In 2006, he became the founding principal of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in San Francisco, an alternative arts-focused school that brings high-level arts programs to inner city youth. An Air Force veteran, passionate traveler and firm believer in the power of the arts to inspire creativity and innovation in all areas of life, Harris comes to the Arts School Network board with great enthusiasm for making an impact on the national dialogue around educational reform.

Nuit Hansgen, Director, ARTSEDGE, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Bio coming soon…

Cori Herbst-Lohrer, High School Digital Media Arts, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller, has been a part of the KCAA family since it was just an idea and is proud to be a member of this dynamic community of students and staff.  While she wears a few hats at KCAA, including Student Leadership Teacher Sponsor and CTE Coordinator for KCAA, her primary goal is to support the core mission of risk taking and creative thinking through authentic practice in her Digital Media Arts classroom.  Mrs. Loehr graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sculpture and Classical Arts and a concurrent BFA in Design in 1995.  Mrs. Loehr practiced graphic design professionally for a number of years, eventually managing a print publication and marketing firm.  Never feeling entirely fulfilled in the corporate world, she turned her sites toward teaching and received her educational degree from Metro.  Mrs. Loehr is currently working toward her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and having been in the classroom for 10 years now, she has never once regretted her decision to embrace teaching, counting herself among a special few who LOVE what they do!

Sonya Robbins Hoffmann is VSA & Accessibility Manager, The Office of VSA & Accessibility, Education Division, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  In this capacity, she manages all arts programs for emerging artists with disabilities.  A theater director and dramaturg as well as a long-time arts education program manager in both theaters and schools, she has worked extensively connecting public and charter school students and teachers with free and low-cost arts programming both in Washington, D.C. and in Cleveland, Ohio. Notable theater accomplishments include a production (co-conceived with the playwright) of Obie-winner Rinde Eckert’s musical Highway Ulysses, the Midwest premieres of works by Suzan-Lori Parks and Margaret Edson, as well as acclaimed productions of numerous works by emerging and established playwrights.  She served as Education Director at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland where, for many years, she produced and directed the oldest playwriting festival in the nation, serving students of all ages and abilities.  A passionate advocate for the arts in non-traditional settings with and for populations disadvantaged in terms of access, favorite projects include work with N Street Village (a community of empowerment for low-income or homeless women in Washington, D.C.), and an original production jointly commissioned by Playhouse Square Foundation and The Aids Taskforce of Cleveland.

jh-photoJonathan Howard, Audio Production Instructor, Denver School of the Arts, has served as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Instructor at the Denver School of the Arts since 2003 and at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, MN from 1994-2003. He is the past-president of the STEM, Arts and IT Division of CACTE and is a leading advocate for CTE Arts at the state and national level.  Jonathan was awarded a National Leadership Fellowship from the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) in 2013.  In August 2014 he was appointed to a leadership position for establishing a representation for Arts Teachers in ACTE.  He is currently serving as the coordinator for the Creative Careers Student Organization for Colorado.

SeretanHeidi Hubrich Seretan is a Special Education Teacher and Program Director for AccessSFUSD: The Arc, serving students 18-22 with severe disabilities teaching functional life skills and vocational skills in the community.  Heidi has a Masters in Special Education, and is the recipient of the Helen Keller Fellowship, supporting individuals with deaf-blindness nationwide. As an advocate, Heidi serves as Chair of the Muni Accessible Advisory Committee advising SFMTA on accessibility in public transportation.  Heidi is the co-founder of the Bay Area Arts Access Collective, a collaboration of museum professionals, educators, disability advocates, and community-based organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, who are dedicated to developing meaningful and enriching arts experiences for all patrons with disabilities in the Bay Area.  Heidi is passionate about access to the arts in the Bay Area and using the arts as a form of expression.

Amanda Israel, AP Human Geography and US History Teachers, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon..

Jennifer Jirous, Colorado Program Director for STEM, Arts and IT, Colorado Community College System Bio coming soon…

Pamela_Jordan_HOS-smallPamela Jordan, was appointed President of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation in July, 2014. Prior to joining IAF, she worked at the Chicago Academy for the Arts (CAA) for twenty-three years, serving as Head of School for thirteen years. Pamela received a Bachelor of Music from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma and a Master of Education from Northeastern Illinois University. She has served on the boards of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools, and is currently the First Vice President of Arts Schools Network, slated to serve as the President of the Board of Directors in 2016. She has served as a resource panelist to the School of the Arts, Singapore where she also delivered the keynote address for the school’s first bi-annual Arts Forum. Jordan is currently on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools’ Institute for New Heads.


Laurence Kaptain, Dean of the College of Arts and Media, University of Colorado Denver, brings 14 years of higher education leadership experience at leading public and private universities to his new assignment. He recently served as President of the Association for General and Liberal Studies, and is currently the Treasurer of the College Music Society. In 2014 he was named a Fellow in the Royal Society of the Arts. Dr. Kaptain served as the Director of Creative Infinitives in the Department of Research and Economic Development and Paula Manship Professor of Music, and prior to that, Dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts and Penniman Family Professor of Music at Louisiana State University from 2009-14. Prior to assuming this post at LSU, he was Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory near Washington, DC, Director of the heralded Schwob School of Music in Georgia, and Vice-Provost for Faculty Programs and Academic Quality at UMKC. At Shenandoah Conservatory he awarded honorary doctorates to famed dancer/choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov, journalist David Pogue, pianist John O’Conor, and Tony Award Nominated Actor, choreographer Murray Lewis and Independent Film Director, Producer, and Writer J. Robert (Bobby) Spencer. He received the first doctorate in percussion instruments at the University of Michigan, where he was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico and received the prestigious Rackham Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. Laurence Kaptain appears regularly with orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and has recorded with the Chicago Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Orpheus, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Czech National Symphony. He has also appeared, collaborated or recorded with artists such as Elvis Costello, Yo-Yo Ma, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Robert Altman, Rudolf Nureyev, Suzanne Farrell and others.

Amy Khoo, Vice Principal, School of the Arts Singapore, began her career in SOTA in June 2014 as Vice Principal (Arts). Before joining SOTA, she was at Republic Polytechnic (RP), a tertiary educational institution providing diplomas in vocational training. In RP, she took on a leading role in the launch of the School of Technology for the Arts (STA). Through her concurrent appointments as Assistant Director (Academic), and Programme Chair for the Diploma in New Media, Amy exercised leadership not only in setting up the new faculty’s academic and administrative processes, but also in shaping the curriculum and assessment design of five diplomas in the areas of new media, sound art, technical theatre and arts management, game design, and interactive media. Amy was also the Assistant Director (Capability Development) for the Centre for Enterprise and Communication where she led the faculty initiatives to build professional discipline, leadership, and character in students, and to enhance and expand the Centre’s adult education offerings in the areas of communication and citizenship skills.

Daniel_KoettingDaniel Koetting, Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Theatre, Film & Video Production, University of Colorado Denver: In 1971, Koetting received his BA in Speech and Theatre from St. Louis University and MFA in Theatre Production and Design from Yale University in 1974. He served as Chair of the Department of Theatre and Film at Hunter College in New York City. Koetting is a member several professional theatre and lighting design organizations including the United State Institute for Theatre Technology, American Association of Interior Designers, Illuminating Engineering Society, and the International Association of Lighting Designers.

William Kohut

William Kohut was appointed Principal of the Denver School of the Arts in May of 2009. Denver School of the Arts is a 6 -12th grade Magnet school for the Arts in the Denver Public Schools. Denver School of the Arts has been recognized as one of the top high schools in America by US News and World Report having been granted the distinction of being a “Gold Medal” winner for four straight years. Denver School of the Arts was also name a Distinguished “Blue” School in Denver Public Schools, and was designated an “Exemplary Arts School” by the Arts Schools Network in October 2014. Mr. Kohut served as the principal of South High School, a National AVID Demonstration School for 8 years. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, and a MA degree in School Administration from the University of Phoenix. Bill has taught in, and served as an administrator in many diverse environments. The schools he has served range from rural schools to a magnet school for English Language learners. In addition to his service in the public schools, Mr. Kohut served as an adjunct instructor of Music Education at Metropolitan State University for eight years. His musical background includes serving as the Music Director of the Denver Community Concert Band and as Assistant Conductor of the Colorado Youth Pops Orchestra (he conducted this orchestra as the opening act for the Boston Pops Orchestra, led by Keith Lockhart in a National Holiday Tour in 1996). His arts leadership experience includes serving on the Colorado Department of Education Fine Arts Advisory Council and serving on the task force that authored the first version of the Colorado Model Content Standards for Music. He continues to be an active member of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Music Educators Association and the Arts Schools Network. Mr. Kohut has presented numerous sessions focused on music education and school leadership at state and national conferences. Since 2005 Mr. Kohut has served on the Colorado High School Activities Association State Music Committee and served in the role of chair from 2002‐2004. In addition to his arts experience, Bill also has a broad base of leadership experience as an administrator having actively worked as a partner with the College Board to implement a strong college readiness system at South High School and bringing South High School to national recognition as a national “AVID Demonstration” school. Through his leadership in the arts he has been recognized as the Colorado State Thespian’s “School Administrator of the Year”. He received the Colorado Music Educators Association Honored Administrator Award in 2012. The National Federation of High Schools awarded him the Outstanding Music Educator Award as recognition for his leadership in the Arts in 2012.

Lim Geok Cheng, Principal, School of the Arts, Singapore, has headed the School of the Arts as Principal since December 2012. She has been Principal of two other Singapore schools, Temasek Secondary and Cedar Girls’ Secondary School, since 2001 and under her leadership, these schools have received pinnacle awards from Singapore’s Ministry of Education for exemplary educational processes. During her time in Cedar Girls, she also played an instrumental role in setting up the Victoria-Cedar alliance which offered a new 6 year integrated programme for students from both Victoria School and Cedar Girls’ Secondary School. Beyond school, she has served as a Steward Principal for 11 years, mentoring principals-to-be in the Leadership in Education Programme at Singapore’s National Institute of Education. She was also in charge of leadership development for a cluster of 12 schools Ms Lim has also been involved in sub-groups of various national review committees such as a review of education under Thinking School Learning Nation and a review on education and training under the Economic Review Committee. For her contributions to Singapore’s education, Ms Lim was awarded the Public Administration Medal by the President of Singapore.

Theresa McGuire, Elementary Visual Arts, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming coon…

100_0466-300x199Damon McLeese, Executive Director, VSA Colorado Access Gallery + Studio, currently serves as the Executive Director of Access Gallery/VSA arts of Colorado an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people with disabilities through the arts. He has held this position for more than fifteen years, taking over as the organization’s 5th executive director in 1997. Under his leadership, VSA arts of Colorado has continued to promote the creative power of people with disabilities through focused outreach and innovative programming, while increasing awareness in the nonprofit community about the needs and gifts of people with disabilities.

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Murphy Monroe, Assistant Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment Management, Columbia College Chicago, is an experienced admissions professional committed to the democratization of education. Serving as the Assistant Vice President of Admissions for Columbia College Chicago, Murphy’s work supports the demystification of the admissions process through responsible marketing and authentic counseling. At Columbia, he has been instrumental in a marketing and repositioning strategy that moved Columbia from regional to national status and changed the quality of the student body by dramatically increasing academic preparedness.  At the same time, the college became one the largest importer of out of state students into Illinois and maintained and even improved the college’s stance as the nation’s most diverse private arts college. Murphy’s graduate studies were in Nonprofit Management and he has consulted with and served on the boards of several Chicago charter schools and nonprofits including being a longtime supporter and generally huge admirer of Young Chicago’s Authors Louder Than a Bomb Poetry Festival.

Valerie Morris 2-12-13Valerie Morris, Dean, School of the Arts, College of Charleston, received her M.A. in Speech (Theatre Administration emphasis) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her B.A. in Speech Arts from American University. She has been the Dean of the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts since the fall of 1998. As the Dean, she oversees the Departments of Art History, Music, Studio Art, and Theatre (which houses the minor in Dance) and programs in Arts Management plus Historic Preservation and Community Planning. Prior to joining the College of Charleston, Dean Morris was the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts at American University in Washington, D.C., where she was the founding director of that institution’s Arts Management Program. Dean Morris is involved in several national, statewide and local organizations. She is a former board member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and the Rotary Club of Charleston, and she is a mentor for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education’s Leadership Institute. Dean Morris is a member of the Steering Committee for South Carolina’s Arts in Basic Curriculum program, serves on the board of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, and is the immediate past president of the South Carolina Alliance for Arts Education. She is a board member of the Charleston Concert Association, the Charleston Jazz Initiative, the Free Enterprise Foundation, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Ng Chin Chye, Manager (Campus relations and Partnerships), School of the Arts Singapore, joined SOTA as Campus Relations and Partnerships Manager in November 2013 to forge stronger relations between SOTA and its partners, both locally and internationally, and spearhead initiatives to gain greater recognition for SOTA as the premier pre-tertiary Arts School in Asia.

Besides being a History and Social Studies teacher, Chin Chye has also taken on roles in external partnerships in schools and spent two years honing his media liasion skills at the Corporate Communications Department within Singapore’s Ministry of Education. With his innate interest in heritage and culture, Chin Chye moved to Singapore’s National Heritage Board (NHB) as the Manager of International Relations in 2012. Under NHB, he facilitated cooperation between local and overseas museums, government ministries and represented Singapore at cultural meetings of various organizational networks like Association for South East Asian Countries (ASEAN). He also organised the inaugural ASEAN Youth Camp 2013 in Singapore for 50 youth artists from the ASEAN countries.

Ralph OpacicRalph S. Opacic, Ed.D. Executive Director and President, Orange County School of the Arts, founded the award-winning Orange County School of the Arts in 1987 and currently serves as executive director and president. Dr. Opacic is credited for assembling the finest artist-teachers and academic instructors in Southern California and creating an opportunity for young performing and visual artists to develop their talents to their greatest potential. Widely awarded for his achievements in arts education, Dr. Opacic has been named a recipient of the prestigious Arts Schools Network Jeffrey Lawrence Award, Orange County Business Journal Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award, and Orange County Department of Education Outstanding Contribution to Education Award. Additionally, he has been named one of the top three executives in Orange County by the Orange County Register, Outstanding Founder by National Philanthropy Day Orange County, and Artistic Visionary by Arts Orange County. Dr. Opacic has also been featured in OC Metro’s “Hot 25” list as someone “defining Orange County with passion, creativity and an endless drive to make their mark.” While under the leadership of Dr. Opacic, the Orange County School of the Arts has received top honors and recognition for excellence in both arts and academic education. This innovative public charter school has been named a California Distinguished School, Arts Schools Network Exemplary School, and Creative Ticket National School of Distinction by the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network. Dr. Opacic earned his bachelor of arts degree in music from California State University, Long Beach in 1981, a master of science degree in educational administration from National University in 1990, and a doctoral degree in education from University of Southern California in 1994.

Mary Palmer 2-14-13

Dr. Mary Palmer is President of Mary Palmer & Associates, LLC, Consultants in Education and the Arts. She has extensive experience in education and the arts and holds Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees from the University of Illinois. She has taught music and the other arts in a variety of school and community settings to people of all ages from birth through senior citizens. After her successful career as Professor of Music Education, Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music Education and Dean of the UCF College of Education, Palmer was distinguished as Professor Emerita at the University of Central Florida – Orlando.  She has served as President of professional organizations including MENC: National Association for Music Education Southern Division; VSA Arts of Florida; Florida Music Educators Association; and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. In addition, she serves on various community boards of directors including Florida Theatrical Association, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, A Gift for Teaching, and A Gift for Music.

Mary’s specialty is arts education for children and youth in both school and community settings. She has developed numerous arts education programs. She is the Founder and first Director of Florida’s Arts for a Complete Education/Florida Alliance for Arts Education; this program has been instrumental in developing programs and policies affecting arts education in Florida.  Since 1985, she has authored numerous elementary music series textbooks published by Silver Burdett Ginn/Scott Foresman Publishers; these books are used by teachers and students worldwide. She has established award-winning collaborative programs with Walt Disney World, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Junior Achievement, and others. Her innovative work with teachers, school administrators, community agencies, and university faculty has led her across the country and around the world. She has taught in colleges, universities, and PK – 12 schools throughout the United States as well as in England, Italy, Germany, Panama, South Africa, Japan, and Peru. Her extensive travels and teaching experiences are evident in her global perspective.

For her work in Arts Education she has received numerous awards, including a special commendation from three of Florida’s Governors; the Florida Legislature; the prestigious Arts Recognition Award from the Florida Department of State for her leadership in Arts Education; ACE of Hearts; Pi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year; Florida Music Educators Hall of Fame; and the UCF Quill Award. She was named a Fulbright Scholar to research in South America.  Her client schools have received prestigious awards including the Kennedy Center Arts Education School of Distinction, Florida Department of Education Music Demonstration School, Florida Alliance for Arts Education Arts Achieve! Model Schools, and Magnet Schools of America Schools of Distinction.

The consulting work of Mary Palmer & Associates transforms schools, arts organizations, and community agencies through the ARTS.

Gracen Porreca, Elementary Drama, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

rory_headshotRory Pullens, Executive Director of Arts Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, is the former head of school/chief executive officer at the nationally renowned Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Previously Pullens spent over a decade as an arts administrator, including serving as the arts principal and director of academic affairs at the Denver School of the Arts, assistant principal of the Los Angeles Arts Academy, and arts director of the Smith Renaissance School of the Arts in Denver, a school he designed as the first elementary arts school in Denver Public Schools. His entertainment credits span nearly two decades, including writer/producer of the award winning stage production The Choice is Yours starring Mabel King, and a series of original work stage productions he penned: Deadline, Taken!, Common Dust that toured primarily in west coast theatrical venues. Pullens has served in production and script editing for various Hollywood ventures, working with Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle, The Five Heartbeats), casting director Jaki Brown, Lou Diamond Phillips, James Edwards Olmos, (Stand and Deliver), Ron Glass, Desmond Wilson on HBO’s The New Odd Couple and NBC’s A Different World. He was the chief operating officer/executive producer of USGL Corporation, a national sports/entertainment corporation, whose work was featured in VIBE and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Rudes headshot 1Scott Rudes, Ph.D., is the principal of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX.  Prior to his appointment at BTWHSPVA, Dr. Rudes served as the principal at Orange Grove Middle Magnet School of the Arts in Tampa, Florida.  During his tenure, Orange Grove was recognized by the state of Florida as an Arts Achieve! Model School, and received the Exemplary Schools designation from the Arts Schools Network.  Dr. Rudes was also recognized by the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) as the Arts Administrator of the Year for 2012, and received the Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award from the Arts Schools Network as well.  In 2013, he was recognized by the Broadway Educator League with the League Educator Apple Award, which acknowledged his work in bringing together arts organizations in the Tampa area to improve arts education experiences in the K-12 spectrum. Dr. Rudes also served as the assistant principal for magnet curriculum at Howard W. Blake High School of the Arts, where he was responsible for the entire fine arts magnet program. Under his leadership, the program expanded from 650 students to over 850 students, and the curricular program was redesigned to include expanded offerings in theatre and media production. Prior to becoming an administrator, Rudes served as the director of orchestral studies at Bloomingdale High School. During that time, the orchestra program expanded to almost 150 students in 4 separate orchestras. Under his direction, the orchestra program received Superior ratings at both the District and State Music Performance Assessments on numerous occasions. Rudes has served as the President of the Florida Orchestra Association (FOA) as well as President of the Florida Network of Arts Administrators (FNAA).

Jesse Sanschaper, High School World Languages, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

Nikki Sanschaper, Middle School Arts, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

Sheila Sears, Arts Education Manager, Colorado Creative Careers Industries
Bio coming soon…

Rick Shaw 9.52.48 PMRichard Shaw (BME 80) is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder and has been a music educator for 35 years. Twenty-four of these years were in the Academy School District in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is currently in his ninth year as a school administrator five of which have been with his current position as Assistant Principal at the nationally recognized Denver School of the Arts. Mr. Shaw’s responsibilities include supervision of the instrumental music department, Piano department, mathematics, and student services. As a music educator, his concert bands and jazz bands were consistent award winners and were selected to perform at the Colorado Music Educators Conference on 6 occasions. Under his direction, the marching band at Air Academy High School earned state champion honors 3 times and performed in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade as well as the King Orange Parade in Miami, FL.

Currently, Mr. Shaw is Past-President of the Colorado Music Educators Association, is active in the Colorado Bandmasters Association, and was inducted into the Colorado Bandmasters Hall of Fame in July of 2009. In 2008 Mr. Shaw was awarded the Phi Beta Mu Outstanding Bandmaster Award for his excellence and service to music education and was selected as a member of the Pikes Peak Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2011. In May of 2014 he was named Alumnus of the Year, University of Colorado College of Music. He is in constant demand locally and nationally as an adjudicator and clinician.

Michelle1-200x200 Michelle Shedro, Education Director, Think 360 Arts Institute for Creative Teaching: As Education Director of Think 360 Arts, Michelle coordinates educator professional development programs, including the Institute for Creative Teaching, Practices in Arts Integration, and Teaching Artist Trainings. She works closely with partners at Colorado Creative Industries and the Center for Integrated Arts Education at UNC to provide technical assistance to the 18 Colorado schools that receive StART Grants from CCI. Michelle also works closely with the Program Associate to oversee Think 360 Arts’ school programs, including residencies, workshops, and performances.

Michelle draws on her experience as an elementary classroom teacher, ESL teacher, curriculum developer, and former national director of an after-school youth development program. Michelle is passionate about engaging students in creative individual expression, as well as creating positive classroom communities in which children and teachers can learn from one another.

Halley Shefler 2-12-13Halley Shefler is the founder of ArtsBridge and previously served as Dean of Admissions for The Boston Conservatory, Director of Admissions for Boston University’s College of Fine Arts School of Music, and Director of Academic Affairs for the Longy School of Music. Halley attended a pre-college program at the Juilliard School before earning her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters degree at Boston University. She is an accomplished flutist who has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, the former Opera Company of Boston, and the Harvard Chamber Orchestra.


Julia Shepherd, Principal Partner, Creativity Challenge Community, Denver Public Schools
Bio coming soon…

Ms. Betty Siegel, Esq., Director of VSA and Accessibility, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: Ms. Siegel has specialized in arts and disability issues for over twenty five years starting at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and now as Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She oversees national and international disability, arts and education programs including the VSA Network of organizations engaging in disability arts and education and the LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) network of cultural arts administrators addressing access to cultural experiences. She is a respected expert and speaker on topics related to accessibility to cultural venues for individuals with disabilities. Ms. Siegel obtained her JD in 2009 from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University and is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2625Travis Springfield is a native Texan from the Austin area where he majored in theatre at Texas State University graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1991 with a BFA in Acting.  Travis taught theatre for nine years with Bishop ISD, Humble ISD, and Klein ISD. During his teaching career, he received numerous awards for directing including a UIL One Act Play State Championship and two addition UIL One Act State appearances as well as multiple state and national finalists in UIL, TFA, and NFL competition.  After leaving the classroom to become a guidance counselor at Kingwood HS and Atascocita HS in Humble ISD, he was eventually recruited to become the Manager of UIL Theatre and later the Director of UIL Activities for the Houston Independent School District managing theatre, music, speech and academic competitive activities at over 200 elementary, middle and high school campuses.  He eventually left his district administrative position to accept an opportunity to work directly with arts students at Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) as lead counselor where he is currently employed.  In addition to counseling, Travis continues his work in educational theatre serving on the State UIL Advisory Committee as well as the Chair of the One Act Play Adjudicators Organization. He is a respected and sought after one act play judge and clinician working with 70-80 high school productions annually. In addition, Travis also works as an Adjunct Professor for the University of Houston in the Theatre Department’s summer master’s program for theatre educators.

Walter Straiton, Manager – Music in Education, Yamaha Corporation of America Bio coming soon…

William Starn, Elementary Dance, Creative Arts Academy at Kunsmiller  Bio coming soon…

Tan Wee Lit, Head (Visual Arts), School of the Arts Singapore, is Head of Visual Arts Faculty in SOTA and joined the school in September 2009. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in Sculpture and has exhibited extensively locally and internationally as a practicing artist. As an active practitioner, Wee Lit had his first solo exhibition for “12×12 New Artists/ New Work” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and was also awarded the Graduate Fellowship upon graduation. He also won the Grand Prize for the 3rd Singapore Sculpture Award in 2007. As an educator, besides heading the visual arts faculty at SOTA, Wee Lit has also lectured at various tertiary institutions. His recent appointments included being a Visiting Assistant Professor (Arts and Culture Management) with the Singapore Management University and as a Supervisor for the Masters (Fine Arts) Programme at Lasalle College of the Arts. Amongst his achievements, he was conferred the Young Artist Award, Singapore’s highest award for young arts practitioners, in 2012.

Audrey TannerAudrey Tanner, Associate Provost for Enrollment, Calarts: Dr. Tanner has served more than 25 years in higher education, and has held senior leadership positions in both arts and liberal arts institutions with specific expertise in admissions, career services, enrollment management, financial aid, student affairs, and retention.  Prior to CalArts, Audrey held positions at institutions including San Francisco Art Institute, Lesley University, and Boston University.  Audrey holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Smith College, a bachelor’s in psychology from Boston University, and advanced degrees in organizational management and higher education leadership.

ThorntonHeadShotMichael Thornton, High School English Teacher, Denver School of the Arts has taught English at DSA for 13 years, instructing students in the college composition course AP English Language, British Literature, and American Literature. He has taught Aesthetics at DSA, as well as Design at a charter school in Denver. Through the National Endowment for the Humanities, he took part in the Steinbeck Institute in Monterey in 2013, studying the novels, stories, and nonfiction of John Steinbeck. In 2008, Thornton attended Oxford University in England on a fellowship studying Romantic Poetry and the Contemporary Novel. He was named a Distinguished Teacher in Denver Public Schools in 2006. Before becoming a teacher, Thornton designed landscapes, and served as the Landscape Architect for the Auraria Higher Education Center. He has a Masters from the Conway School in Massachusetts. His Bachelors in American Civilization is from Lake Forest College in Illinois. He was a founding board member and president of The BUG Performance and Media Arts Center. He currently serves on the boards of the English Speaking Union in Denver and the DSA Friends Foundation.

anne_2_3Anne Thulson, Assistant Professor of Art Education, Department of Art, Metropolitan State University of Denver. Thulson’s MFA is in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She directs the School of the Poetic City, a contemporary art camp for children in downtown Denver. She taught children at The Odyssey School in Denver and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, CO as a National-Board-Certified teacher. She practices socially engaged art in Denver. Her expertise and research is in arts integration, local WPA murals, contemporary art education, assessing elusive acts of creativity, visual art standards, social justice art practices, the democratic classroom, Reggio Emilia documentation, and Expeditionary Learning art curriculum.

4603236_origMare Trevathan, Associate Artistic Director, LOCAL Theater Company:  Mare Trevathan has performed Inupiat folk tales in Barrow, Alaska; stage managed dance-theatre in Tokyo; and studied Chekhov in Vladivostok, Russia. Colorado tamed her wanderlust and has been her home of 12 years. Mare was a member of Curious Theatre Company for just shy of a decade. During the day, she narrates audio books for the Library of Congress, records many voice overs (including for Denver-based Craftsy.com) and directs educational theater for Kaiser Permanente. She studied at American Conservatory Theatre; University of Washington; SITI Company in NYC, Skidmore and DU; and at the Denver Center Academy and elsewhere with masters including Mark Rhodes, Augusto Boal, Tina Landau, Anne Bogart, Yuri Belov and Larry Pisoni. Previously, Mare has taught Suzuki and Viewpoints at the Denver Center Academy.  Mare is the co-creator and co-star of the popular annual variety show BALLS! A HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR, raising money for charity via musical sock puppet frivolity.

Bruce-Uhrmacher-e1400016436322Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D., Department Chair and Professor, Curriculum Studies and Teaching, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver:  Dr. Uhrmacher received his PhD from Stanford University.  He served as President of the American Association For Teaching and Curriculum and was honored with the University of Denver Distinguished Teaching Award.  Dr. Uhrmacher serves as the faculty advisor for the Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado (AEIC) and as a Co-Editor of the journal Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue.  His research interests include alternative school settings, curriculum theory and practice, Waldorf education, issues in qualitative research, and arts-based research.  Dr. Uhrmacher is a St. Louis Cardinals fan. He recently started playing drums, and is a music aficionado of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, and especially western swing music.

Ward_DarylDaryl Ward, Principal, Harrison School for the Arts, is in his second year as the principal of Harrison School for the Arts after serving 9 years as the assistant principal. Daryl has worked in public education for 27 years – first as an English teacher, and then as a school-based administrator. He earned his undergraduate degree in creative writing from Florida State University and his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. Daryl recently defended his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. He has served on the board of directors for the Lakeland Community Theatre and has appeared on stage there in numerous productions. He is a member of the Arts Schools’ Network, Florida Association of School Administrators, American Educational Research Association, and the National Communication Association. He has also worked with the Florida Arts Achieve Model Schools committee, serving as an evaluator for this process.

image001Allison Watrous is the Associate Director of Education at the DCPA’s Education Department and has been a teaching artist there for the past 16 years. She recently played Sally in Talley’s Folly with Sis Tryst Productions and Kelly Young in Just Like Us at the Denver Center Theatre Company. Other credits include Denver Center’s Girls Only!, Liz in Curious Theatre Company’s Astronomical Sunset, Karen in American Notes, Linda in Savage in Limbo and Meg in Crimes of the Heart with Sis Tryst Productions. Recent directing credits include Cult Following (Off Center), Big Love (University of Denver), Failure: A Love Story and Bus Stop (Denver School of the Arts). Allison also is on faculty at the Denver School of the Arts and the University of Northern Colorado. She taught at the New York Film Academy and the New Victory Theatre in New York. She earned a Master in Fine Arts in Acting at the National Theatre Conservatory and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre at Drake University.


Lily Weiss, Dance Program Coordinator, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts: holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Dance from Texas Woman’s University, has taught on the dance faculties at Southern Methodist University and Houston’s HSPVA, and joined the faculty at BTWHSPVA in 1978.  Her credits include John Mead and Dancers in New York and Japan, the Texas Choreographers Award from the Texas Commission on the Arts, guest choreographer for four seasons in the Dance Education Department-New York University, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre, among others. Some of her awards include National Young Arts Foundation Distinguished Teacher Award, Distinguished Teacher by the Commission on Presidential Scholars ten different years by eleven students, SURDNA Arts Teacher Fellowship, the Texas Dance Educator Award, Bates Dance Festival Teacher Fellowship, was featured in two articles in the international publication of Dance Teacher magazine in 2007 & 2009 for her work at BTWHSPVA and named Distinguished Teacher from the Rockefeller Foundation. She has trained many students who are performing in dance companies both nationally and internationally and who are now her colleagues and friends.  She has served as Dance Coordinator at BTWHSPVA since 2001 and is currently on the Board of TITAS and the Steering Committee for the Bruce Wood Dance Project since 2011.

Chris Wineman, Principal, Semple Brown Design, P.C. assists cultural and community clients in the planning of new and renovated facilities, with particular emphasis on the integration of management and programming concerns in planning. He has worked with municipal, higher education and private clients. He is an experienced non-profit management consultant with experience in facilitation, programming, fundraising and strategic planning. As a principal of the firm, Chris participates in the management of projects, strategic business development and the planning of cultural projects. Prior to joining Semple Brown Design, Chris served on the senior management teams of the nation’s leading resident theatre companies, including stints as the executive director of the Denver Center Theatre Company/National Theatre Conservatory and director of development at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Chris is the past chair of the board of directors of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and is a  member of the Denver School of the Arts Friends Foundation board and the Dean’s advisory board of the UCD College of Arts & Media. He is a past board member of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, Arts for Colorado, Create Denver and Ethiopia Reads. He has served as a grant review panelist for the Idaho, Nebraska and Colorado state arts councils.  He received his BFA in Acting and his MFA in Directing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Susanne Wurmnest, Teacher, Music Faculty, School of the Arts Singapore, has been a Music faculty member at SOTA since September 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the University of London, RHBNC and a Postgraduate Diploma in Music Broadcasting Journalism from the University of Music, Karlsruhe, Germany. Upon graduation, she worked at the ZKM (Centre for Arts and Media Technology) in Karlsruhe, Germany, where she managed and conceptualised a great number of international concerts, festivals and symposia featuring renowned figures and ensembles in contemporary music. She joined Republic Polytechnic, Singapore in 2008 as Senior Academic Staff. Here, she developed and delivered various courses in the field of Sonic Arts. As a music teacher, Susanne is particularly interested in methodologies which allow for a great degree of physical involvement as well as differentiation such as Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Orff Schulwerk and Kodaly. She also has a background in ESL teaching. Susanne continues to perform regularly as violist in chamber music and orchestral projects. She also continues to compose electronic music.


Mary Taylor Young, Author, Nature Writing + Creative Writing Teacher: Since 1987, award-winning writer Mary Taylor Young has brought western landscapes to life with her vivid portrayals, at times touching or humorous but always compelling, of the wildlife, places and people that define the West. Author of 15 books in natural history, memoir, narrative nonfiction & writing craft. Young has been a Creative Writing Teacher since 1988 and and Artist-in Residence since 2007.