asn dallas 2016 speakers

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AICAD – Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design
Lee Ann Adams, Assistant Director
“An Inside Look at Auditions and Portfolio Reviews for Art Colleges”

Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, AL
Peggi Davis, Chief Communications and Public Relations Officer
“It’s a Brand New World!”

Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Jeff Poulin, Arts Education Program Manager
“Partnering for Advocacy: Arts Schools, Advocacy Organizations and Policy Change”

Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix, AZ
Laura Apperson, Arts Director; Leah Fregulia, Head of School
“Cultivating Partnerships & Community Engagement, A Dynamic Interchange”

Melanie Little Gomez, Art Director

The Aurora Project
Joshua King, Co-Founder, Executive Director
“Aurora Transforms Dallas”

Big Thought, Dallas TX
Gigi Antoni, Executive Director and CEO
“How Dallas Put Arts Back in the Public Schools”

Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas, TX
Cassie Benzenberg, Visual Arts Teacher/Assistant Coordinator; Deborah Moore, Director of Create Schools of Excellence in the Fine Arts sponsored by the O’Donnell Foundation; and Kyle Clark, Visual Arts Teacher/Coordinator – “Collaborating to Create Tomorrow’s Young Masters”
Niloo Jalilvand , Mathematics Chair and Film & Video Director; and Dr. Linda James, Dance Faculty, “Aurora Transforms Dallas”
Karon Cogdill, Coordinator, Theatre Cluster; Jane Farris, Theatre Faculty; Charlton Gavitt, Theatre Faculty – “Physical Theatre”
Karon Cogdill, Coordinator, Theatre Cluster, “Integration of Abilities, Parts 1, 2 and 3”
Kent Ellingson, Music Faculty; Bart Marantz, Former Director of Jazz Studies; Curt Bradshaw; Roger Boykin, former Music Faculty, professional musician and composer – “Music as a Primary Historical Source, History of Jazz & Commercial Music”
Leslie Eames-Pierce, Visual Arts Faculty – “John Collins Project”
Melody Townsel, Faculty, AP US History/Radio/AP English III,
Nathan Myers, Music Coordinator and Director of Opera & Vocal Studies, “HD Live in Schools” and “Panel Discussion with Chris Sampson”
Cathy Vernon, Specialist: School Activities Coordinator and Interim Production Coordinator, (with Myers, Walker, Cogdill, and Clark);
Kate Walker, Dance Faculty, Dance Cluster Coordinator, “Dance Technique Workshop”
Kyle Clark, Visual Arts Faculty, “Transforming Imagery into a Collaborative 3D Installation”
“Learning Labs Theatre Skokos”
“College Showcase, BTWHSPA Model”
M. Scott Tatum, Assistant Principal; Cassie Benzenberg, Visual Arts Faculty/Assistant Coordinator; Anna Gay, Language and Literature Assistant Department Chair; Guinea Bennett-Price, Assistant Theatre Coordinator and Faculty
Sharon Cornell

Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Montgomery, AL
Foster Dickson, Creative Writing Teacher, “Start by Listening: Ethnographic Experiential Learning within the Local Community”

Columbia College Chicago
Onye Ozuzu,”Shifting our Center: Engaged Diversity as a Way of Being Arts Educators ”

Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Santa Monica, CA
Nika Cavat, English Teacher
“Trouble Finds Me: The Power of Art and Writing for Our Most At Risk Students”

Dallas Arts District
Lily Weiss, Executive Director

Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Ann Williams, Founder/Artistic Director

Dallas Children’s Theater
Robyn Flatt, Executive Artistic Director

Dallas Independent School District
“HD Live in Schools”

Dallas Theater Center
Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director
“Avoiding Blue-outs: Innovative Ways to Stage Transitions & Scene Changes”

Denver School of the Arts, CO
Deb Rosenbaum, Visual Arts Director; Dave Hammond, Band Director; Jonathan Howard, Audio Production Instructor; Moss Kaplan, Co-Chair, Creative Writing Deparment
“Telling Stories: A Collaborative Art Performance Project with Departments of Music, Creative Writing, Stagecraft and Visual Arts”

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL
Jackie Cornelius, Principal; Melanie Hammer, Assistant Principal

Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Mark Williams, Chair, Literary Media and Communications; Kelli Anderson, Literary Media & Communications Teacher; Peggy Cooper-Cafritz, Founder; Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, D.C.
“Bearing Witness Using Multiple Platforms; Lives Mattering”

Florida Alliance for Arts Education
Daryl Ward, Ph.D., President; and Principal, Harrison School for the Arts
“Partnering for Advocacy: Arts Schools, Advocacy Organizations and Policy Change”

George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Towsen, MD
Karen Steele, Principal
Paul Diem, Theatre Department Chair
“Building Professional Connections to Benefit Immediate Skill Development and Long-term Confidence”

Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy, TX
Sharon Miller, Middle School Art Director; John Lucius, 3D Art Director; Judy Stone-Nunneley, Artist-in-Residence
“Uncommon Supports – Creative & Affordable Alternatives to 2D Supports”

Idaho Arts Charter School , Nampa, ID
David Gluck, Music Teacher
“Rhythms of the Game: How to Perform at Your Best”

Interlochen Center for the Arts, MI
Jeffrey S. Kimpton, President
“Succession Planning: A Profession Prepares the Next Generation of Leaders”
and Curbside Coaching
Nicola Conraths-Lange, Director of Comparative Arts
“Taking Care of Caregivers: Intergenerational Outreach at the Interlochen Arts Academy”
William Church, Director of Theatre
“Partnering From Within: The Creation of a Residential Professional Theatre Company in an Educational Setting”

LaVilla School of the Arts
Amber Amerson, Theatre Instructor

Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, Santa Monica, CA
Sonia Lowman, Director of Communications
“The Art Effect Project”

The Metropolitan Opera
Angela Marroy Boerger, Education Manager, “HD Live in Schools”

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts-NOCCA, LA
Kyle Wedberg, President and CEO
“Who Will Be Our Next Generation of Artists, How Do They Get There and Why Should We Care?”; “Charter School Momentum”
Jenny LeBlanc, Sculpture Teacher
“Engaged Through Collaboration: Creating Partnerships Across Disciplines and Across State Lines”
Ann Schwab, Assistant Chair of Visual Arts; Nikki Jackson, Visual Arts Faculty
“Hitting the Reset Button: Simple, Effective and Science-Based Mindfulness Strategies to Support Your Creative Students in the Digital Age”

New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, NY
Patricia Decker, Director of Recruitment
“An Inside Look at Auditions and Portfolio Reviews for Art Colleges”

Orange County School for the Arts, Santa Ana, CA
Ralph Opacic, President and Executive Director
“Charter School Momentum”
“Strategic Planning”
Curbside Coaching

Palm Springs Unified School District, Rancho Mirage, CA
Louisa Castrodale, Arts Coordinator (K-12)
“Modern Arts Partners: It’s a Win-Win!”

Parkland School District, Allentown, PA
Mark Stutz, Director of Visual and Performing Arts
“Engaging the Community in Public School Arts, Does Participation Reflect Your Demographics?”

Saint Paul Public Schools, MN
Jan Spencer de Gutiérrez, District Arts Supervisor; Susannah Harris, Elementary Lead Specialist; Eric Swan, Secondary Lead Arts Specialist
“Bridge of Partners: How the DigitalWorks Grant Project Connects the Classroom to the Artistic Community”

San Francisco Unified School District
Donn K. Harris, Executive Director, Institute of Creativity and the Arts and Chairman, California Arts Council
“Thought Leadership Implications and Action”

South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, SC
Carol Baker, Coordinator of Outreach
“Colleagues, Neighbors, and Friends: Supporting South Carolina’s Arts Education Community Through Outreach, Partnerships, and Engagement”

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project
Sally Gaskill, Director
“To Be or Not to Be: New Data on the Skills and Career Aspirations of College Arts Majors and Compared to Non-Arts Majors”

Texans for the Arts, Austin, TX
Ann Graham, Executive Director
“Partnering for Advocacy: Arts Schools, Advocacy Organizations and Policy Change”

Texas International Theatrical Arts Society (TITAS), Dallas, TX
Charles Santos

The Metropolitan Opera (Tentative)
HD Live in Schools

Toledo School for the Arts, OH
Dave Gierke, Director of Development
“Fundraising and Social Enterprise”

University of Southern California
Chris Sampson, Vice Dean of Division of Contemporary Music; Founding Director of Popular Music Program, Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California
“The Joy of the Unexpected Outcome”
“Songwriting: How to Steal Like an Artist”
“Contemporary Music Workshop”

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, Vancouver, WA
Lori Rotherham, Associate Principal
“Arts and Academic School Serves as Community Hub for Arts Instruction”

Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts, Laredo, TX
Vernon Carroll, Dean of Theatre; Dr. Mary Grace Galvan-Carroll, Director of Piano Studies
“Class On Stage; A Cooperative Theatre Venture Between a Community Based Theatre Group and Laredo School Districts”

Webster University, St. Louis, MO
Andrew Laue, Associate Director for Fine Arts Admissions
“An Inside Look at Auditions and Portfolio Reviews for Art Colleges”

Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center
Devlin Decutler, Program Director and Music Director
“The MET: Live in HD”

YoungArts, Miami, FL
Allison Ball, Director of Eduction
“Creative Mentoring: Building Leaders from Within”
“High School Student Opportunities through YoungArts Participation”
Curbside Coaching

Visual Artist
Francisco Moreno, “Transforming Imagery into a Collaborative 3D Installation”
Dance Panel

Sculptor, Artist and Art Director
Des Smith

Professional Dancer
Christopher Vo, Broadway & Concert Dancer, Fitness Professional
Dance Workshops

Jon Collins, contract Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Writer, and Producer

ASN Past Presidents
Denise Davis-Cotton, William Lowman
Exemplary School Coaching Workshop


lee ann adamsLee Ann Adams, Program and Operations Manager, Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design,  joined AICAD in September 2012. She has several years of experience in higher education, including four years in Admissions at the Rhode Island School of Design. Lee Ann has also worked as an administrator in the American Paintings Department at Christie’s Auction House in New York City and was 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.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.50.27 PMAmber Amerson, Lavilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville, FL is ASN’s Teacher of the Year for her outstanding dedication, talents, and achievements in giving her students an excellent arts education. Amerson is an award winning, nationally recognized teacher, director, writer, actor, arts advocate, and community leader within Duval County Schools and the city of Jacksonville. She teaches acting, directing, and musical theater, and has directed over 40 musicals, dramas, comedies, and readers’ theater. She has created numerous outreach programs for Duval County School students, and produces LaVilla Mime, Improvisation, and Children’s Theatre troupes. She is a 17-year veteran teacher who is in the top seven percent of Highly Effective teachers in Duval County and has served numerous leadership roles within her school and the city.

L Apperson

Laura Apperson, Arizona School for the Art’s Arts Director since 2009, joined ASA in 1998, working part-time as a professional teaching artist on staff. As a professional violist, she was able to bring her experience directly to the students.  She earned her BM in Viola performance from the University of Arizona and specialized in String Pedagogy while pursuing her master’s degree at Arizona State University.  Her professional experience includes Amabile String Quartet, Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera Orchestra, Arizona Ballet Orchestra, the Tucson Symphony, principal violist of the Phoenix Opera, and principal violist on two Grammy-nominated CDs with native American Flutist R. Carlos Nakai. In recent years, ASA has earned a Grammy Entreprise Award and a Governor’s Arts Award for Education; in 2013, Arizona’s Governor recognized Laura with a Support Music Merit Award.

Carol Baker

Carol Baker: An active advocate for quality, comprehensive arts education for all children, Carol joined the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in 2012 after working for nine years with Richland County School District One’s visual and performing arts programs. Carol oversees the development and implementation of outreach and partnership programming designed to strategically match its resources with schools, districts, and community agencies statewide. She holds her MA from New York University through the Gallatin School for Individualized Study, where she focused on process drama, management of teaching artist programs, and arts integration for high poverty settings. She is currently chair of the board of directors for the SC Alliance for Arts Education and is a founding member and past president of the board of directors for Columbia Children’s Theatre.

Allison Ball headshot

Allison Ball is Director of Education, YoungArts. Trained as a classical pianist, Allison began her work in the arts as a performer and teacher, transitioning into arts administration where she worked for over 25 years as a leader in the field of enrollment management for several arts colleges and universities. She then directed a large community arts school in NYC and moved on to leadership education for emerging arts administrators in the orchestra field. Allison joined YoungArts in 2012 and has been working to build educational connections with teachers and arts programs across the U.S. to expand pre and post-college opportunities for high school arts students, as well as professional connections and opportunities for YoungArts alumni.

benzenberg-cassie-3068Cassie Benzenberg joined the Booker T. Washington Faculty in 2003. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts Studies at the University of North Texas in 2002. She currently serves as the Visual Arts Assistant Coordinator and teaches Foundation 2D Design and Advanced Placement 2D Studio Art. Cassie has been a participant of the O’Donnell Foundation Advanced Placement Arts Incentive Program as a teacher and as a student. As assistant coordinator, she manages the department budget and coordinates over 50 art school visits and master classes each year. Developing and nurturing partnerships in the Arts District and community is a highlight of her service to the Dallas Independent School District. Attending a summer intensive at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2014 provided her with intensive study of figure drawing and bookbinding. She is a quilter with an emphasis on traditional blocks created with modern color combinations and patterns. As an artist teacher, she believes in creative problem solving, products of play, and risk taking.

binford-headshotLeAnn Binford, Director of Big Thought Institute
A passionate advocate for creative education and life-long learning, LeAnn Binford joined the Dallas nonprofit Big Thought in 2007.  As Director of Big Thought Institute she supports the organization’s efforts to close the opportunity gap in education by facilitating knowledge sharing activities with local, regional and national partners in addition to managing earned-revenue projects and grants.   Previously Director of Education for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Binford was a leader in establishing the citywide Learning Partners collaboration, and she is credited with developing innovative programs at the DSO which have become models for the industry, including Young Strings and

A 2014 Leadership ISD Fellow, Binford actively volunteers in Dallas schools, including the district’s celebrated Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts where she mentors students and currently chairs the school’s Arts Council. She serves on the board of Voices of Change Contemporary Classical Music Ensemble and shares her love of music as a pre-concert speaker for the DSO and Dallas Winds.  A graduate of the Arts Management MA/MBA program at Southern Methodist University, she also holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance from Texas Tech University where she studied with William Westney.

img_0204Roger Boykin was born in Dallas, Texas and educated in the public school system. He started playing professionally while still in high school after teaching himself the basics of guitar and saxophone. At age fifteen he turned professional, joining the musician’s union, forming his own band and playing with other bands in nightclubs and at private affairs around Dallas.

While in college Boykin learned to play the piano and flute and studied arranging and composition. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Bishop College and attended graduate school at North Texas State. During his college years Boykin developed an interest in jazz and worked to become skilled in the techniques and repertoire of that difficult style. He was a part of the famous “Cool Jazz Sessions” at the Woodmen’s Auditorium where he established himself as a jazz guitarist, flutist, composer, and arranger.

He has served on the boards of The Dallas Classic Guitar Society, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Third Coast Art Center, and The Maurine F. Bailey Cultural Foundation. Boykin proudly served for 16 years as an instructor at Booker T. Washington High School For The Performing And Visual Arts in Dallas.  He is pianist at Faithful Believers Baptist Church in Dallas.  For 22 years he hosted the radio show, “Just Jazz” on KKDA-AM.   He performs around the Dallas/Ft. Worth Area and teaches private students.  He has published several music method books, and recently completed his latest, “Keyboard Harmony From The Basics.”

Peggy Cooper Cafritz has been a resident of the District of Columbia since 1964. She attended the George Washington University, earning an undergraduate degree in political science in 1968 and a law degree in 1971. While still in law school, she co-founded with Mike Malone the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She continues to serve the school and its non-profit fundraising affiliate, the Ellington Fund. She also serves on the governing board of the school. On January 2001, she took office as the first publicly elected president of the District of Columbia Board of Education and was  overwhelmingly elected to two consecutive terms.  She continues to serve on the Duke Ellington School of the Art’s governing board and on the board of the Ellington Fund a foundation whose sole purpose is to raise money to support the school.

Ms. Cafritz has an extensive public service background in both education and the arts. Among numerous other boards and committees, Ms. Cafritz has serves on the National Advisory Board of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Pratt Institute from 1990 to 1994, the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2007, and the Whitney Museum Painting and Sculpture Committee from 1991 to 1998.

vernVernon Carroll:  Dean of Theatre at the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts, Vernon Carroll teaches at a unique school located in Laredo, Texas.  VMT is the arts magnet school for Laredo Independent School District.  The program accepts students from the three high schools in the district, bussing them to the campus for either a morning or afternoon session.  Organized on the semester block system, students take either an English Language Arts or Social Studies course and one visual or performing arts or communications course per semester in addition to classes at their “parent school”.  Since they are attending a standard high school as well as VMT, they can participate in that school’s UIL One Act play program, where many of them have earned honors in Best Actor or Actress, All Star Cast and Technical categories.  VMT maintains a cooperative interchange with theatre departments in LISD’s Martin, Nixon and Cigarroa High Schools.   Graduates from the VMT Theatre Arts area have successful careers in professional theatre, education, law enforcement and medicine.

Vernon Carroll earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in theatre from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). He is a founding member, Advisory Director, and President Emeritus of Laredo Theater Guild International, the parent organization of Class On Stage.

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Louisa Castrodale has been Palm Springs Unified School District’s Arts Coordinator for nine years. She had fifteen years of experience in the classroom, as well as a background as a professional poet and artist.  Louisa was awarded the Steinway Society “Excellence in Music Education” Award in 2011, a Riverside County “Model of Academic Excellence” Award for arts programming in 2014, and the “Administrator of the Year” Award  by the Association of California School Administrators in 2015.  She has presented for groups including the State of California Title One Conference, the California Association of Bilingual Education state conference and the National Art Educator’s Association national conference.  Louisa will share how Palm Springs Unified School District built their arts programs from ground zero to a million dollar program, largely through the strength of arts partnerships.


Nika Cavat taught film, then English at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, CA for 27 years. She is a former English Chair and founded the Creative Writing program there. Cavat was a writing instructor at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles through InsideOut Writers, an organization that sends teachers into juvenile detention centers. She currently is a creative writing instructor with Safe Place for Youth, a drop-in center for homeless youth in Venice Beach. She has worked with and mentored homeless youth, youth in foster care, and commercially sexually trafficked minors. Her poetry, essays, literary reviews, and short fiction have been published in Independent School Magazine, Kenyon Review, Columbia Review, Onthebus, and numerous other print and on-line publications. Cavat received her BA from SUNY Purchase College, and her MFA in film from Columbia University. She is currently working on a book about her teaching experiences.

William_ChurchWilliam Church is the Director of Theatre at Interlochen Center for the Arts and serves as the Artistic Director for the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival, which he founded in 2008. He has performed for theatre companies throughout the United States, including the American Repertory Theatre, California Theatre Center, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Publick Theatre, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. His directing credits range from Shakespeare to musicals and contemporary work, including a touring children’s theatre troupe he founded while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. Mr. Church holds an MFA in Acting from the Moscow Art Theatre School/American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University, is a graduate of Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts and an alumnus of Interlochen Arts Academy. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.

 Kyle Clark Visual Arts Instructor, Cluster Coordinator BTWSPVAKyle Clark joins the BTW Visual Arts Faculty with 17 years of teaching experience from Irving ISD and Plano ISD. He received his undergraduate degree in Advertising Art from the University of North Texas in 1992 and his graduate degree in Education from Parsons School of Design in 2000. He currently teaches Foundation Drawing, Life Drawing and Advanced Placement Drawing. He has participated in many exhibitions in Abilene, Irving, Plano and Dallas. He has been an Advanced Placement reader since 2007 and taught Advanced Placement courses for fifteen years. He has also taught drawing classes at Texas Christian University, Irving Arts Center and the Dallas Museum of Art for their summer programs. He is also a grant participant of the Advanced Placement Strategies and the O’Donnell Foundation as a lead teacher. His students have been exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art and other various locations around the metroplex.

karon-cogdil-1Karon L. Cogdill joined the faculty at Booker T. Washington in 1976.  She currently teaches Acting, Speech/Portfolio, and co-directs the Mime Troupe.  She has a BA in Theatre from the State University of New York/Fredonia, which included a year at Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre in Manchester, England.  She was a member of the Stables Theater Company in Manchester and performed in seven different productions.  She has an MFA from Trinity University through the Dallas Theater Center.  While in graduate school, she began working at Booker T. Washington.  In 2001 she was a Surdna Fellow and studied Mask Making and Mask Performing at the Dell Arte International School of Physical Theatre and with professional mask maker Juanita Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She was named Teacher of the Year in 2002-2003.  In 2008, she became Coordinator of the Theatre Cluster.  She is on the Executive Board of the Rotunda Theater serving as an actor and director there.

jon-collinsJon Collins is a contract Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Writer, and Producer and has worked, in various positions on Commercials, Industrial / Promotional videos, Music Videos, and Feature Films.




conraths_nicola_0Nicola Conraths-Lange, Director of Comparative Arts at Interlochen Arts Academy, has extensive experience in a wide range of artistic collaborations. A dancer by training, Nicola is also a choreographer and author. Greco-Roman antiquity, mythology and culture, and the role of ritual in everyday life are important influences from her Italian childhood that shape her work as an artistic director and educator. At the heart of much of her work is an interest in intercultural exchange as a vehicle for evolution and understanding between artists and humanity. Conraths-Lange’s interest in education has lead to research projects and presentations at conferences in Singapore, Europe, Israel, and New Zealand. Her work on communication for gifted dancers was published in the Journal for Performing Arts Medicine & Science and most recently, she developed a model for successful collaboration, the Creativity and Collaboration Continuum, with her mentor and friend Dr. Kedrik Merwin. In the 2013-14 academic year, she was granted a sabbatical leave and spent the year circumnavigating the globe, watching performances, and studying Ohad Naharin’s innovative movement language, GAGA, in Israel. Conraths-Lange holds degrees in communications, psychology, and theater arts from Eastern Michigan University


Jackie Cornelius, former executive director of fine arts for the Duval County School District serving over 124,000 students in Jacksonville, FL, is the principal of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA) and has served as a nationally recognized arts education advocate and presenter for decades. Her charge at DA is to provide intensive arts education to talented, passionate students and implement quality arts professional development for teachers district-wide. Over the years, Cornelius has spearheaded numerous financial campaigns to underwrite critically needed arts funding; one such campaign successfully netted over 13 million in state funding for DA, while another secured a half-million in private funding for the purchase of arts instruments, equipment and guest artist programs. She recently implemented a pilot collaboration program among the seven district specialized arts schools; last August the district was awarded a federal arts professional development grant of one million.

cornell-sharon-3857Sharon Cornell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications from the University of Texas, Arlington.  She is the Public Relations and Recruitment Specialist at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.  She has over 24 years experience in public relations and has been a guest speaker at events in the U.S., the U.K. and Bermuda.  She is a member of many community and arts boards in the Dallas area and is not only a staff member at BTWHSPVA, she is a graduate of the school’s dance department with extensive ties to the history and media in Dallas.

Sharon is in her 22nd year on the staff at Booker T. Washington HSPVA.  Among her many jobs working with the media, she is responsible for the annual application process for new students, oversees the auditions, heads the committee for the annual “Senior Showcase” and was the lead organizer working with ASN to host this, the 2016 Network conference.


Peggi Davis is a nationally-recognized, award-winning Creative Director, graphic artist, and writer. She has had a successful career specializing in Retail Advertising and Direct Mail, as well as specialty catalogues. Her experience ranges from Divisional Vice President of Direct Mail, Macy’s to Creative Director for Saks Department Stores and AGA Design, New York, to her present position of Chief Communications Officer for the Alabama School of Fine Arts. She graduated from Texas A & M University, Commerce with a BS in Communication Arts. Peggi has won countless awards at NRMA, including being the first, First Place-Campaign winner for three consecutive years. In addition her work has been recognized with Addy, Marcom and Millennium awards. In her free time, Peggi creates multi-media collages and unique fashion jewelry, and is learning to play Mah Jong. She is also writing a novel based on her wacky experiences in the fashion advertising industry.

Davis-CottonDenise Davis-Cotton, Ed.D., a Milken Foundation internationally recognized educator, made a historic contribution to Detroit’s educational and cultural renaissance as the principal and founder of Detroit School of Arts (DSA). In June 2006, the Detroit News named her Michiganian of the Year. Her dream of teaching performing arts to inner-city school children evolved to the founding of what many believe will become an icon of cultural education throughout the country. Through Dr. Cotton’s leadership, DSA provided an environment where academics and arts were not only recognized, but also revered. DSA gained AYP status and was recognized as a bronze medal school by Newsweek magazine. As a result of her vision and leadership, DSA was named a Blue Ribbon School and received the Kennedy Center Creative Ticket National School of Distinction Award. Although she is now retired from Detroit School of Arts, Davis-Cotton continues to be an advocate for arts integration and arts inclusion along the K-12 academic continuum. Her awards and citations are too numerous to list individually. Davis-Cotton earned a doctorate from Wayne State University, a master’s from the University of Montevallo, and a bachelor’s of science from Alabama State University.

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Patricia Decker is the director of recruitment at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She started her career at Tisch in the department of undergraduate drama, first as the internship coordinator, then as the coordinator of the summer high school drama program. She also served as the manager of admissions and applicant services for ten years. Decker is also a writer, performer, and producer who has worked in both Philadelphia and New York at venues including the Wilma Theatre, The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Big Mess Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, the Manhattan Theatre Club, Theatre Communications Group, Teleotheater, and SPF. She has performed her own work at Dixon Place, CB’s Gallery and Cornelia Street Café and is on the board of directors of Rabbit Hole Ensemble. Decker, who is also an accomplished tarot card reader, earned her BA in theatre from Temple University.

devlin-decutler-pictureDevlin DeCutler is in his eleventh year as the choir director at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center.  Under his direction, the Townview Choir has received numerous accolades and performed at venues across the state of Texas.  Devlin directs the Met: Live in HD program in Dallas by training teachers, managing tickets, and coordinating broadcast logistics.  Hundreds of students attend these broadcasts at a Dallas high school that contains its own HD theatre specifically installed for the Met Live program.  To foster partnership between the Met and Dallas Opera educational programs, Devlin serves on the Dallas Opera Educational Advisory Committee.  In addition to opera and choral activities, Devlin spends many summers writing curriculum resources for Music Theory and Modern Band (partnered with the national Little Kids Rock organization).


Foster Dickson is a writer, editor, and teacher in Montgomery, Alabama. He has taught creative writing at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School since 2003. Dickson has been the Alabama PTA’s Teacher of the Year, a Surdna Foundation Arts Teacher Fellow (now called the National Arts Teacher Fellowship), a Community Legacy Project grant recipient from the Center for Arts Education at the Boston Arts Academy, and twice a Teaching Tolerance grant recipient from the Southern Poverty Law Center. As a writer and community activist, his work has focused on subjects related to Civil Rights history, social justice, and local culture. In his teaching, Dickson uses writing projects that employ experiential learning and community partnerships to involve students in the culture and history all around them.

Paul Diem HeadshotPaul Diem is the Department Chair of the Theatre Department and teacher of acting at the G.W. Carver Center of Arts and Technology in Towson, MD, and a fiercely proud native of Baltimore.  He did his undergraduate acting training at Towson University and his graduate theatre work at California State University in Los Angeles. He continues to perform professionally regionally, nationally, and internationally as an ensemble member with Baltimore’s Single Carrot Theatre.  In 2014 he was named “Best Actor” by the Baltimore City Paper in their annual “Best of Baltimore Awards.” He finds the most important things in life to be family, art, and community, and finds that each necessitates the other.

leslie-head-shotLeslie Eames-Pierce joined the Booker T Washington HSPVA faculty in 2012. She currently teaches Pre AP Art 1, Jewelry, Ceramics and AP 3D Design. Ms Eames-Pierce is a graduate of Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts. Prior to teaching, Ms Eames-Pierce worked for Trinity Ceramic Supply from 2001 – 2012 as a retailer, purchaser and education coordinator and presenter. She continues to create work from her home studio and has participated in exhibitions in Denver, Dallas, Plano and Houston.

img_8643Kent Ellingson has been an active part of the DFW music scene for many years.  He is a full time music instructor at Booker T. Washington HSPVA in Dallas where he teaches jazz piano, AP Music theory, composition, and vocal jazz.  His Jazz Singers group at BTW has been a Downbeat student music award group winner for the last two years.  Kent also teaches adjunct jazz piano at Eastfield College in Mesquite.  He performs with his own jazz group and was featured last spring as a performer for the Dallas Jazz Piano Society 2016 concert series.  Kent is the 2016 recipient of the Sammons D’JAM Jazz Educator award.

jane-farris-2Jane A. Farris began teaching at Booker T. Washington in 1980.  She currently teaches Acting, Mime and Directing.  She holds a BA in Theatre from Southwest Texas State University and an MFA in Acting and Directing from Trinity University through the Dallas Theater Center.  She was an Artist in Residence for the city of Dallas in 1978-1979. .  In 2001 she was a Surdna Fellow and studied Mask Making and Mask Performing at the Dell Arte International School of Physical Theatre and with professional mask maker Juanita Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She is on the Executive Board of the Rotunda Theater serving as a director there.

Robyn 2015 HeadshotRobyn Flatt co-founded DCT in 1984.  As a member of the DALLAS THEATER CENTER Resident Company, she served as Assistant Artistic Director, director of MIMEACT and THEATER-IN-THE-PARKS, and was on the Graduate faculty for 24 years.  She holds an MA Degree from Baylor University and her directing credits include many major titles in the youth theater canon as well as acclaimed world premiere productions commissioned by DCT. Ms. Flatt is a recipient of the 2006 Center for Nonprofit Management Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership, The 500, Inc.’s prestigious Ken Bryant Visionary Award, Dallas Historical Society’s 1999 Excellence in Community Service for Creative Arts, and the YWCA Centennial Award. Ms. Flatt has served on the boards of AATE and ASSITEJ/USA, has also been inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theater and served as treasurer of the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America from 1999 – 2014.

Leah Fregulia

Leah Fregulia is Head of School and CEO for Arizona School for the Arts, where she was a founding faculty member when the school opened in 1995. She served as the school principal for nine years, and has led the organization in her current role since 2007. Her leadership has helped to establish the school as one of the top academic schools in Arizona and in the nation while maintaining a dual focus in the performing arts. Ms. Fregulia has worked to develop partnerships that uniquely position ASA in the Phoenix downtown arts and culture network. Prior to moving to Arizona, she taught in a variety of innovative public and private educational settings in California, Seattle, and New Orleans. Along with her teaching and administrative certifications, she holds a MS from the London School of Economics in England in anthropology and a BA from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California in English and Anthropology.

mg-carroll-msnd-pic-bioDr. Mary Grace Galvan-Carroll: A member of the Music Faculty at the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts since 1994, Dr. Galvan-Carroll maintains the only piano program of its kind in South Texas. Over sixty student members of the “Hanon Society” range from beginner to advanced skill levels, and all students participate in the classical conservatory tradition of piano study, including private and class instruction in music theory, history and literature, public performances, festivals and juried competitions at local, regional and state levels. Notable graduates from the VMT Piano Studies program have continued on to successful careers in music, music education, technology and medicine.

Dr. Carroll earned degrees from the University of Miami (Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance), Catholic University of America (Master of Music) and Corpus Christi State University (Bachelor of Music).

Sally Gaskill 3-27-13Sally 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. Her 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 grant making 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 BA in History from Colorado College and an MA in Arts Management from American University, where Valerie Morris was her advisor.

gavitt-charlton-3Charlton B Gavitt began teaching full time at Booker T. Washington in 2001. He currently teaches Acting, Introduction to Plays & Playwrights, Stage Lighting, Technology for the Theater and Stage Combat.  A ’89 graduate of Booker T. Washington, he holds a BA in Theater & English from Case Western Reserve University. He taught and worked in theaters in the Cleveland area before returning to Dallas. He is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors where he has achieved the rank of Advanced Actor Combatant. He is the resident fight choreographer at Booker T. Washington and his favorite weapon style is small sword.

gay-anna-2Anna Gay is a 2001 graduate of Booker T. Washington’s music department. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Literature at Loyola University New Orleans in 2005. She began her teaching career with Dallas ISD in 2006 and returned to Booker T. as part of its faculty in Fall 2011. She currently serves as the primary English I PreAP teacher, Language and Literature assistant department chair, and a member of the Teacher Leadership Cadre. Off campus, Anna serves as an active member of the Alumni Advisory Board at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture where she attends monthly conversations about the ever changing world of liberal education and periodically takes graduate level continuing education

humanities courses. She is an activist in her classroom, pressing themes of equity and diversity, helping her students to develop a deeper sense of empathy through exposure to minority voices in literature.

David GierkeDave Gierke joined Toledo School for the Arts as a music and math instructor in the school’s inaugural year (1999) after having spent most of the 80’s touring the East Coast in a show band.  He started playing drums at eight years old, and owned and operated Daves’ Drum Depot and Toledo Drum School for number years. In his sixth year at the school, after launching multiple fundraising projects to support his percussion program, the school asked him to take over as Development Director. Throughout his career,he has designed programs for at-risk youth, corporate development and organizational change. Most recently he has conducted training seminars to help Ohio community public (charter) schools start fundraising programs to help bridge the gap in basic school funding.  He has a degree in Public Service and Education from University of Toledo and holds a Certificate of Fund-Raising Management from Indiana University. He lives in Oregon, Ohio with his wife and two children.

headshotMelanie Little Gomez is an artist and art director at ARTLAB3000. She graduated in 1999 from Texas Women’s University with a major in Photography. After working as an installation artist, she moved to New York and shot for many publications including Time and Rolling Stone Magazine. In 2005 she moved to Denton, Texas where she began painting. She is represented by two galleries in Switzerland, Le Salon Vert in Geneva and Simple Gallery in Gstaad. She formed ARTLAB3000 in 2012


Melanie Hammer_150

Melanie Hammer began as a math teacher and Department Chair at Douglas Anderson School for the Arts (DA), moved into administration in 2008 as Curriculum Manager and became Assistant Principal in 2009. She is President-Elect for the Florida Assistant Principal Association and is on the Executive Board of the Florida Association for School Administrators. Hammer overseas the mentoring program at DA, mentoring 7-10 students herself, as well as tutoring in math. Melanie ensures that all struggling students are paired with an arts and academic mentor to help support them and ensure their success at DA.  Hammer brought “Power Hour” to DA, which allows students an hour during the school day to use for lunch, time to study, attend tutoring sessions, rehearse, participate in clubs, attend guest artist classes, and meet with mentors. As the producer of “Extravaganza”, Hammer collaborates with all art directors to put together a sellout show at the local performing arts center. “Extravaganza” allows the community to learn the mission and vision of DA.

Dave HammondDave Hammond holds a performance degree from the Berklee College of Music and a master’s degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Denver. Mr. Hammond performed professionally in Boston, South America and Denver before becoming one of the founding music instructors at the Denver School of the Arts.  After a two-year stint as Assistant Director of Bands at Western Illinois University, Mr. Hammond was hired as Director of Bands at Denver School of the Arts. Under his direction, DSA bands have performed at 13 of the last 16 CMEA conferences, performed at 13 times at the CBA State Concert Band Finals, won many awards and accolades including Downbeat Magazine Student Awards: Best Chamber Group, Best Classical Symphonic Band, Best Big Band and Best Studio Orchestra.  The Denver School of the Arts Jazz Workshop Orchestra is one of the nation’s top high school big bands selected to compete at the Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah, GA (2014 and 2013), Wynton Marsalis’ Essentially Ellington festival in New York (2004, 1998).  The DSA bands have also performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, CA, Santa Fe, NM, and New Orleans, LA.


Donn K. Harris, ASN First VP, recently took on a new position with the SFUSD as the Executive Director of Creativity and the Arts. With the District employing a Deputy Supt. of Innovation and Social Justice, and an Information Technology Director of Innovation, creativity and innovation is clearly a crowded field in the Bay Area’s largest school district. How to establish an open environment where ideas can flourish and expand, while maintaining a solid foundation of proven programs and essential services, is the final piece of this complex puzzle. And if anyone can find the board game called School District (not seen anywhere in a decade), we can learn some lessons from that as well.

  1. started two new schools with unique philosophies
  2. piloted Special Ed and Outdoor Ed programs merger
  3. Assisted in developing new coursework: The Science of the Arts, Experiential Art History for HS Freshmen
  4. Establishment of internal arts school economy to equalize revenue and establish business practices
  5. Created working definition and process to define “potential” so that it could be rated as part of an audition with inexperienced children.
  6. Turned around an arts school by controversial practice of removing unproductive students from the regular arts discipline and enrolling them in a self-contained experiential counseling-enriched class that allowed them to choose a better arts discipline, a better school or in some cases a newly invigorated appreciation of their former art discipline.
  7. First principal of any SFUSD school to hire a recruitment coordinator to find and support students of color in underserved schools who might have an interest in an arts school — resulted in tripling of minority enrollment between 2002-2007

Susannah HarrisSusannah Harris is the elementary lead specialist for the DigitalWorks program. She coordinated district-wide community literacy projects and has created thematic integrated curriculum. Ms. Harris has her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Toronto.



Jonathan HowardJonathan 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.

Nikki_Jackson_headshotNikki Jackson, NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) faculty member, came to the United States in 1990 to study with artist Paul Soldner at Scripps College in California via a Gane Travel Scholarship.  She has taught students from elementary school age to college level in California, Alabama, and New Orleans, and in workshops across the United States.  She is the recipient of several National Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the Arts awards, a Surdna Foundation Fellowship and was twice honored by Who’s Who Among American Teachers. Ms. Jackson has exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is collected in Great Britain and the United States. She received her BFA from Bath College of Higher Education (England).

o_id_by_oolin88Niloo Jalilvand is a multimedia artist who has shown her work at the MAC, Dallas Contemporary, 500 X, The Kettle, Aurora and more. She spent her childhood in Iran, as a child of celebrated actors. This upbringing fostered her abiding love for cinema. At age 10 she attended boarding school in London and later moved to the United States, earning her B.S. with a double major in Mathematics and Studio Arts from Texas A&M and later an M.A. in Art and Technology from the University of Texas at Dallas.Currently, she is both the Mathematics Chair and Film and Video Arts Director at nationally recognized Booker T. Washington HSPVA, producing her student’s short films and winning multiple film festival awards nationwide. Ms. Jalilvand is the founder of The Pegasus Film Festival which supports, promotes, and inspires young filmmakers in Texas to produce impactful works in cinema. Additionally, she acts as curator for Women in Film’s Chick Flicks Film Festival.

Most recently she is in co-production with her son, Cyrus Stowe, of her first feature documentary about their walkabout in Iran in 2015.

7234Dr. Linda H. James: Dr. James’ efforts to advance dance include her work as a dance educator, community volunteer and arts advocate. Linda James joined the dance faculty at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in 1982 where she currently teaches Modern Dance and Ballet Technique, Repertory, Composition, Physical Education, Integration of the Arts and Portfolio. Previously Dr. James was a member of the dance faculty at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Bruce Wood Dance Project.

In 1998, 2001, and 2007, the U. S. Presidential Scholars Program and the U. S. Department of Education honored Dr. James as a Distinguished Teacher through the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts youngARTS program. In 2005, Dr. James was named a National Endowment of the Arts/Arts in Journalism Fellow for her work as editor of the Dance Council of North Texas’ quarterly publication–DANCE! North Texas.

Moss Kaplan DSAMoss Kaplan is currently co-chair of the Creative Writing department at Denver School of the Arts. He has a BA in Theatre from Lewis and Clark College, a diploma from Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City, and an MA in English Education from The University of Colorado at Boulder. He is currently completing a second master’s degree in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickenson University.   He recently published an essay entitled “Viewing the Dead” in The Literary Review.


Jeff Kimpton 2016 flagsJeffrey Kimpton is the president of Interlochen Center for the Arts since 2003, where he leads a portfolio of distinguished programs in arts education, presentations, public broadcasting and media at this internationally renowned 90-year old arts organization.

Mr. Kimpton holds degrees in music education and school/arts administration from the University of Illinois–Urbana.  In his more than 40 year career he taught and administered K-12 music and arts programs in New York, Minnesota and Kansas, taking each to regional and national distinction. He was director of education for Yamaha Corporation for the U.S., and a director at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University leading research and capacity development in public engagement around public education reform. Prior to Interlochen he was Director of the School of Music at the University of Minnesota–Minneapolis, and professor of music education.
At Interlochen Mr. Kimpton has led a multi-year $120M+ expansion of Interlochen programmatic, capital, human and financial resources, adding programs in adult education, motion picture arts, comparative arts, digital arts, singer-songwriter and fashion design.  An award winning technology environment has expanded the global reach of broadcasting, media, constituent engagement and operational processes.  In the past decade the Interlochen endowment has grown from $25M to $120M, and a current comprehensive campaign is nearing its goal of $100M.  Interlochen was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George Bush in 2006 for its leadership in arts education.

Mr. Kimpton has served on several national commissions on the future of the arts and education, and is an active author, speaker, presenter and consultant with schools, universities and non-profit arts and cultural organizations in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.  Mr. Kimpton will retire from Interlochen in June of 2017, and concentrate on consulting, writing and teaching, and spoiling his grandchildren.

josh-king-head-shotJoshua King: King’s artwork brings new intensity and expression to sought-after objects that are grounded within our relationship to the everyday. His love for life and culture within a community lead him to being one of the three co-founders in The Aurora Project. A free and public contemporary art exhibition centered in the Dallas Arts District, one of the largest arts district in the U.S. the exhibition presents interactive new media artworks in the art of light, video and sound.

His personal exhibitions include materials that redefine the space in which they engender, including styrofoam, plaster, paper and hair. “Everything has an energy to it and a life cycle,” says King. “It evolves aesthetically from the infancy of a piece, to its maturity when it being shown. I see my work as being rooted in society and the biodiversity of our earth.”

With influences from Fred Sandbeck, Sol Lewitt and Tom Friedman, King’s artwork challenges the viewer to pay attention and with the success of The Aurora Project, the culture of Dallas is rapidly emerging to international heights. Since 2010, The Aurora Project, has exhibited over 300 artists and brought over 100,000 thousand in attendance to Dallas. His photography received the grand prize in The Dallas Morning News “Show Me Your Dallas” competition. His 2012 installation Two Hydrogen One Oxygen was installed at Dallas City Performance Hall, for TedxSMU. King was raised in Lubbock, Texas; he lives and works in Dallas.

Andrew LaueAndrew Laue, Associate Director for Fine Arts Admissions at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, oversees recruitment coordination for the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, which includes marketing outreach, strategic planning, summer programs, and facilitation of the audition and portfolio review process.  He is a regular presenter at the local, state, and national level on the topic of best practices in the college search process for students interested in the fine and performing arts.  This includes organizations such as The College Board, IECA, NACAC, and various state and regional ACAC affiliates.  In addition, he is the City Representative for the NACAC St. Louis Performing and Visual Arts College Fair, held at Webster each fall.

Jenny Leblanc

Jenny LeBlanc: A Louisiana native, artist and educator, Jenny LeBlanc holds degrees from the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Louisiana State University (BFA in sculpture), and Virginia Commonwealth University (MFA in sculpture). She currently teaches sculpture at The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and also directs Hot Iron Press – a studio she founded in 2002 with her husband and frequent collaborator, artist Kyle Bravo. LeBlanc was a founding member of The Front, an eminent New Orleans art collective and gallery. Her work, which often occurs at the intersection of performance, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, has been exhibited widely in the US and also in Canada, Italy, and Japan.

Sonia Lowman headshot

Sonia Lowman is Director of Communications and Partnerships for the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes (LMC), an educational nonprofit that discovers and celebrates unrecognized role models from history who have had a profound and positive impact on the lives of others. She oversees The Art Effect Project, an international art competition for students in grades 6-12 with a $7,500 grand prize and the opportunity to be displayed in LMC’s state-of-the-art museum. Sonia has a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Bachelor’s degree from Boston University, both in International Relations, as well as a graduate certificate in International Marketing from Cornell University.

IMG_1077William M. “Bill” Lowman graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in History, Music and Civilization in 1970.  In the 1970s he lived the life of a young vocalist, conducting church and community choirs as well as performing as a tenor soloist.  He helped found the Las Vegas Symphony, consulted for many small arts organizations and moved into arts administration as the founder and Director of the Nevada School of the Arts; a summer music camp and year round community school.
In 1985 he was appointed the Executive Director of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation.  He retired in 2011 as the President of Idyllwild Arts.  During these years he founded the Idyllwild Arts Academy and oversaw the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program.  In each of these divisions, Lowman assisted in the development and training of many of the outstanding musicians, dancers, artists, actors, writers and film makers who are working at the heart of contemporary art and culture across the US, Europe and Asia.
From 2012-14 he served as Director of the University of Redlands Salzburg Semester.
He and his wife, Carolyn, are retired but enjoy traveling to New York City to see the openings and events in the life of their son, contemporary artist Nate Lowman.


John Lucius is 3D Art Director for Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy.  He was born in Dallas, TX, and holds a BFA degree in Graphic Design with a minor in Art History from Texas Christian University. Upon graduation, he spent four years working in design and consultation as Creative Director for Innovative Concrete Solutions before beginning his teaching career. He has spent the last 10 years in education and 7 of those years have been spent in the visual art department of GPISD. He has had the opportunity to be involved in several new school openings, including Highland Park Elementary (Pflugerville ISD), Dubiski Career High School, and GPFAA where he is currently on staff since 2014. He spends all his remaining free time with his lovely wife, Karen, and his wonderful 3-year-old daughter, Gemma.

bart-marantz-300-dpiBart Marantz was director of jazz studies at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts from 1983-2015. During his 32 year tenure the music program won 245 “Down Beat Student Music Awards.” and The Jazz and Commercial program at Booker T. Washington HSPVA produced nine alumni with 33 Grammys as well as 17 albums. For a full listing of awards and acknowledgments go to:

Presently Bart works with The Thelonious Monk Institute and it’s “PEER TO PEER” Jazz Education program as Assistant to the Vice President of Education and Road Manager on all national and international performances.

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Sharon Miller, BFA, Grand Prairie ISD (TX), Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy, Middle School Visual Arts Director, is an artist and educator whose creative works include Commercial Art & Advertising, painting, installation, and community arts. She has exhibited in solo, invitational, and juried art exhibitions throughout Texas, California, and Washington. Sharon has taught workshops at both state & national level Art conferences, district professional development, initiated Art curriculum for middle schools, and juried art for the Texas Art Educators Association. She has also served on the board and is an active member of the Arlington Arts League, teacher mentor for Univ. of Texas at Arlington Education Program. Awarded Teacher of the year & Lifetime Achievement Award from two districts.  Sharon teaches Pre-AP Visual Arts and has the distinction of 1st middle school teacher in the district whose student is ranked in the top 1% of young artists in the country by National Scholastic Arts & Writing.

Deborah Moore, AP Arts, Fine Arts DirectorDeborah Moore has been associated with the O’Donnell Foundation and AP Strategies since 1997 and became the APS Arts and Music Director in July 2006. Ms. Moore holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from SMU and a BFA in Arts Education from Texas Tech University. She has 21 years of teaching experience in three Texas school districts: Houston ISD, Wharton ISD, and Plano ISD. She has taught Pre­AP® Art II, AP® Drawing, 2­D Design, and Art History and served for nine years as a Studio Art College Board AP® exam reader. She currently directs the Dallas­area AP Fine Arts incentive grant, Create Schools of Excellence in the Fine Arts sponsored by the O’Donnell Foundation. The leadership role includes planning and facilitating professional development and student prep for College Board AP Fine Arts courses: AP Art History, Studio Art Drawing, Studio Art 2D Design, Studio Art 3D Design, and Music Theory. During the 2015­16 school year, 114 AP and Pre­AP teachers and 1,627 students from 20 Dallas­area high schools participated in the current five­year grant.
While teaching in Plano ISD, Deborah served in various roles of leadership: fine arts department chair, art department team leader, facilitator for the teacher mentor program, member of three schools’ site­based improvement committee, East cluster art team leader and PISD high school art team leader. As an active member of Texas Art Education Association and the National Art Education Association, Deborah has presented at both state and national levels. She has served as the Region 10 Director in the TAEA Visual Arts Scholastic Event and won the TAEA National Art Honor Society Sponsor award. In 2002, Deborah was one of 100 teachers across the United States to be selected as a scholarship recipient of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Teacher Institute in Contemporary Art (TICA) sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Moreno_PictureFrancisco Moreno was born in Mexico City and currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas. In 2012 he graduated from the Masters in Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design with the prestigious Presidential Scholar Tuition award. Moreno’s work has been exhibited in New York City; Providence, Rhode Island; Stowe, Vermont; Concord, Massachusetts; Dallas, Texas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Madrid, Spain. He is represented by Erin Cluley Gallery in Dallas, Texas.


Kevin-MoriartyKevin Moriarty is artistic director of Dallas Theater Center. Since 2007 he has led DTC through many new initiatives, including the creation of the Brierley Resident Acting Company; an extensive series of new play productions and commissions; the launch of Public Works Dallas; and educational partnerships with Booker T. Washington High School and SMU. Before joining DTC, Kevin served as artistic director of Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY and Associate Artist at Trinity Rep Company in Providence, RI. In 2002 he created the MFA directing program at Brown University and served as Head of Directing until 2007. Kevin has directed plays, musicals and operas nation-wide. Additionally, he is Chair of the Dallas Arts District; President of Theatre Communications Group; a member of the Booker T. Washington Advisory Board and the Dallas Assembly; a past Vice-President of National Alliance for Musical Theatre; a recipient of a Drama League directing fellowship; and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Kevin began his career as a public school music teacher at La Crescent High School in Minnesota, and arts education remains his greatest passion.


Nathan De’Shon Myers: American singer/conductor, Myers has established himself as a versatile artist  with international appeal. Having begun his professional singing career 20 years ago as a chorister with the Fort Worth Opera, he has since graced numerous prestigious stages throughout the United States and across Europe as a soloist.  During the 2014/2015 season, he created the role of Julian in the world premiere of the opera Wading Home and performed the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for the Amalfi Coast Festival in Italy.  In the 2013/2014 Season, he made his Austrian debut with the Salzburg Landestheater in the title role of Ernst Krenek’s Jonny Spielt Auf just before returning to The Dallas Opera to recreate the role of Fiorello in their new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Nathan Gunn for which he received excellent critical reviews.

A proud alumnus of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Mr. Myers is in his sixth year on faculty of the acclaimed school where he serves as Music Coordinator and Director of Opera & Vocal Studies.

Dr. Ralph Opacic HeadshotRalph S. Opacic, EdD, President and Executive Director, Orange County School of the Arts, founded the award-winning Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 1987 and currently serves as President and Executive Director. Dr. Opacic is credited for assembling the finest arts and academic instructors in Southern California and for creating opportunities for young 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 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 and Artistic Visionary by Arts Orange County. While under the leadership of Dr. Opacic, OCSA has received top honors and recognition for excellence in both arts and academic education. In the 2015 Niche Rankings for “Best Charter High Schools”, OCSA was ranked number one in the state of California. 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.

Jeff Poulin, Arts Education Program Director, Americans for the Arts, works to empower local, state and federal advocates to advance policies supportive of arts education through communications, field education, and strategic partnerships. Before arriving in DC, Jeff worked for several nonprofit and commercial organizations in the US and abroad focused primarily in production and programming, audience development, research and policy. Notably, he was a chief advisor on the implementation of the first national Arts in Education Charter under the directions of the Ministers of Arts and Education in the Republic of Ireland. Jeff frequently speaks at a number of nonprofit organizations and universities. 
Jeff hails from Portland, ME, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Arts Management and Cultural Policy from University College Dublin and a Bachelor of Science degree in Entertainment Business from Oklahoma City University.

price-guinea-8855Guinea Bennett Price holds a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from Howard University in Washington D.C. and a Texas Teacher Certificate in Theatre Arts K-12.   All of her full time teaching experience has been in Fine Arts schools.  She built a short lived but very successful Theatre Arts Cluster at the Wilmer Hutchins Performing Arts High School from 2002-2004 (when the district closed).  She completed five years as Theatre Coordinator and Instructor for W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy/Middle School with Dallas ISD (2004-2009).  She developed an Integrated Theatre Arts Curriculum for the newly chartered George Washington Carver Elementary – Creative Arts Learning Center from 2010- 2014. Currently she is the Assistant Theatre Coordinator and Instructor at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Professionally, Mrs. Bennett-Price is the founder and Artistic Director of Dallas’ critically acclaimed Soul Rep Theatre Company.

pc-markas-turnerOnye Ozuzu is a dance administrator, performing artist, choreographer, educator and researcher currently serving as Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago. She has been actively presenting work since 1997. Her work has been seen nationally and internationally at The Joyce Soho (Manhattan, NY), Kaay Fecc Festival Des Tous les Danses (Dakar, Senegal), La Festival del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Lisner Auditorium (Washington, DC), McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA), as well as many anonymous site-specific locations. She has performed locally in Chicago at Hamlin Park Summer Sampler, with Red Clay Dance in La Femme, and in the Afro-Latin@ Summer Dance Intensive at Columbia College Chicago. She has been Artist in Residence at EarthDance Workshop and Retreat Center, Bates Dance Festival, Chulitna Wilderness Lodge and Retreat, and Camp Merveilles. Her collaboration with jazz composer Greg Ward, Touch My Beloved’s Thought, premiered at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Chicago, IL)—a live dance and music performance in honor of Charles Mingus and commissioned by Links Hall and Constellation. Recently, Ozuzu was selected as a 2016 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist.

me 2014Deb Rosenbaum has been Visual Arts Director at Denver School of the Arts for 13 years.  She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and a National Board Certified Teacher. Ms. Rosenbaum co-directs Telling Stories, an annual collaborative art event, featuring Band, Creative Writing, Guitar and Stagecraft students along with Visual Art Majors.  This work challenges students in diverse disciplines to work together toward the creation of an original performance based art piece.


Lori Rotherham is the principal of Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, a grade 6-12 public school in Vancouver, WA. Prior to serving as principal, Lori served as associate principal at Arts and Academics, Vancouver Public Schools Visual and Performing Arts Manager, Associate principal and Dean of students at a large comprehensive  high school, and a theatre teacher. Having been an educator for 23 years, Lori believes that an arts-rich education is a right for every student, a cause she has championed as a teacher and administrator. At Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, students study 6 art forms, participate in arts-integrated projects, and focus their learning around a yearly art form-based theme.

Chris SampsonChris Sampson enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, educator, producer, and arts administrator. Chris currently serves as Vice Dean for Contemporary Music at the USC Thornton School of Music.  Additionally, he is the founding director of the Popular Music program which has been hailed by Rolling Stone as “the cutting-edge department that’s become the site of Los Angeles’ most productive new music scenes.” As a professor of songwriting, Sampson’s students have penned number one hit songs, won multiple GRAMMY Awards, won national songwriting competitions, placed songs in numerous television shows and films, written musicals, and secured major recording and publishing contracts. Through the Popular Music program, Sampson has presented collaborative seminars and events with Smokey Robinson, Sir Elton John, Young Guru, Graham Nash, Flea, Randy Newman, John Fogerty and Chaka Khan to name a few.  Chris also teaches the Careers in Music class and is asked to speak at conferences and events nationally and internationally on the subject.  Chris is also the songwriting instructor for the GRAMMY Foundation and Young Arts.


Ann Schwab, NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) faculty member, works in photography, mixed media and installation, creating works that utilize nature and natural forms to explore our human processes of coping with physical and emotional trauma. Ms. Schwab received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, MFA from Tulane University and studied at SACI in Florence, Italy. She is the recipient of numerous awards including: a Maryland State Arts Council Fellowship, a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship, a Surdna Foundation Fellowship and grants from the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Anderson Ranch and the Surdna Foundation. Assistant Chair of Visual Arts, Schwab has been honored in Who’s Who Among American Teachers, has received Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for Teaching and recognition by the National Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the Arts.

des3Des Smith – Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Des Smith is a sculptor, artist and art director living and working in Denton, Texas. He began his career working as an assistant to a public artist. He studied and graduated with a BA (hons) degree in Fine Art Sculpture from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Scotland in 2005 and received a Masters in Fine Art Sculpture from The New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture in New York in 2010. That same year he was awarded the Dedalus Foundatiion’s Master of Fine Arts Fellowship in Sculpture. For the last 6 years he has worked as an self-employed artist and in 2012 he and Melanie met at a gallery in Switzerland, they got married, he moved to the USA and they began to work together on projects that would become their company – Artlab3000.

Jan Spencer de GutiérrezJan Spencer de Gutiérrez has worked in Saint Paul Public Schools for 25 years as a teacher and in leadership capacities. She supervises arts programming and is director of the U.S. Department of Education DigitalWorks project. She partners with organizations and programs including Ordway Center, Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education, Minnesota Museum of American Art and others. Ms. Gutiérrez earned her Masters from California State University and Administrative Leadership endorsement from St. Thomas University.

Karen Steele

Karen Steele has 27 years of experience and a deep commitment to innovative education methods and practices that promote talent, equity, diversity, and excellence. Ms. Steele joined Baltimore County Public Schools in 1993 to help design and open BCPS’s first magnet schools. In 2000 she went to Carver Center as Assistant Principal and became Principal in 2006. Integrated arts instruction and cross-disciplinary experiences advance student learning, allowing Carver Center to win acclaim for its programs, students, and faculty including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Schools of Excellence in the Arts Education Award, the ASN Exemplary Arts School, and Maryland Blue Ribbon. Ms. Steele is co-author of Education, Social Ecology, and Urban Ecosystems with Examples from Baltimore, Maryland in Understanding Urban Ecosystems: A New Frontier for Science and Education and was a member of the NAfMe Teacher Evaluation Task Force for the publication Workbook for Building and Evaluating Effective Music Education in the School Ensemble, Instruction Manual. Ms. Steele served on the board of directors of Magnet Schools of America from 2008-2014, and has served on the U.S. Department of Education Magnet High School Advisory Group and Maryland State Department of Education Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel.

Judy Stone Nunneley photo[2]

Judy Stone-Nunneley, MA, MFA, Grand Prairie ISD (TX) Artist-in-Residence &Visual Arts Coordinator, is an artist and educator whose creative work encompasses mixed media prints and textiles, installation, and artist’s books. She has exhibited her work in over one hundred solo, invitational, and juried exhibitions in the United States, China, Canada and Australia. She has given lectures and workshops on creativity and printmaking at national and state art conferences including the Southern Graphics Council, Mid-America Print Council, Texas Association of Schools of Art, National Art Cloth Symposium, Texas Art Education Association, Art Educators of Minnesota, Wisconsin Art Educators Association, Nebraska Women’s Caucus for Art, and the National Art Education Association. College-level teaching includes the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is the visual arts coordinator and artist-in-residence at Grand Prairie ISD, where she works with 45 art teachers to create programs, curriculum, exhibitions, and staff development.


Mark Stutz has been connected with the Parkland School District near Allentown, Pennsylvania since 1999 when he arrived at the High School to “help out” with the Spring Musical. He has been there since, serving at first as the resident stage director for the High School and in 2003 becoming the District’s first Director of Visual and Performing Arts. Mark has helped unify the various Art and Music teachers throughout the district, resulting in an excess of 70% student participation in the arts within the school district. In 2004, seeing little opportunities for dancers in the High School, he helped create a dance team that now boasts Varsity, JV, and Middle School squads. The following year he created the Parkland Festival of the Arts, a three day celebration of music, art, dance, theater and crafts. He is proud to be working for a public school district that supports the arts and wants to thank his wife, Jill, for pushing him to say yes 17 years ago when the school asked for some “help” with the musical. Mark has a BA in English and Theater from the University of Bridgeport and has taken Graduate work at Catholic University and Villanova University.

Eric SwanEric Swan is the Secondary Lead Arts Specialist in Saint Paul Public Schools working with DigitalWorks.  He is also a certified Apple Education Trainer with over a decade of experience in literacy education and literacy coaching.




tatumhsM. Scott Tatum (Assistant Principal, Booker T Washington HSPVA) is restless. After more than twenty years of active work in the arts as a dancer, actor, technician, designer, director, educator, producer, and administrator, he is looking for a way to make an even bigger impact. Starting as a dancer and quickly becoming excited by the arts as a career, he attended The University of Texas at Austin where he graduated with a BFA in Theatre Studies and continued on as Head of Theatre at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy in Austin, TX. Scott successfully executed an innovative vision of what a magnet high school theatre arts curriculum could be by tripling space, program offerings, and enrollment. His integrated curriculum approach yielded collaborative projects alongside other faculty members from all areas and led to being featured in several publications about the changing signs of theatre education in our country.

With his Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, including a focus on gifted & talented arts education, from the College of Education and certification in Arts and Cultural Administration and Entrepreneurship from the the LBJ School of Public Affairs (both at The University of Texas at Austin), M. Scott Tatum now looks to help communities, families, and schools make significant progress toward the development of arts-intensive, academically rigorous, and unique environments for the education of the whole student.

Melody Townsel BTWHSPVAMelody Townsel teaches AP Language & Composition, AP US History and broadcast journalism at Dallas ISD’s Booker T. Washington HSPVA. She also coaches debate and sponsors several school clubs, including Feminist Club, Radio Club and Secular Students Alliance. This is the seventh year within DISD for Townsel, a DISD distinguished teacher, who was one of 20 teachers selected nationwide to attend the 2015, NEH-funded “Voices Across Time” Teacher Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, designed to help K-12 teachers use music as a primary source to teach US History. Townsel, one of 16 teachers selected by the NEH to study existential philosophy in the summer of 2016 at Mount Holyoke College in Hadley, Massachusetts, also serves as a part-time study-session presenter for the National Math Science Initiative, and is a member of the Teacher Alumni Advisory Board at the Dallas Institute for the Humanities and Culture.

vernonaCathy Vernon joined the Booker T. Washington faculty in 2009 and is currently in her 23rd year in education. She earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from the University of North Texas, with a degree in Occupational Training and Development.  Over the span of 23 years, Cathy has taught a variety of classes, including technology applications, layout and design, photography, and student leadership.   She has also coordinated and directed many student leadership camps and conferences, and has created and led a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers. She was hired at Booker T. Washington as the Activities Coordinator and has been instrumental in developing student programs, and has helped to create partnerships across the arts district as well as with parents.  Her passion is creating opportunities for all students.


Christopher Vo is proud to have danced through the halls and classrooms of Dallas’ performing arts schools. He has had the unique opportunity of attending Sidney Lanier Vanguard, W. E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he trained vigorously and passionately with hopes to achieve his dream of becoming an artistically-fulfilled and top-notch artist. Following the ebb and flow of the years to come, his career now runs the gamut of concert and theater dance. Upon graduating from The Juilliard School, he toured with Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Aszure Barton and Artists, Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away, appeared on TV in NBC’s Smash, performed Off-Broadway in David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, and on Broadway in On the Town and The King and I. Most recently, Chris was a guest performer with Jessica Lang Dance and assisted Jessica Lang on a 2016 premiere for American Ballet Theatre. His awards and recognitions include: Texas Young Master, Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Princess Grace Award, Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch. Since 2008, Chris has had a parallel career as a fitness professional and is a highly sought-after instructor in NYC.

Daryl WardDaryl Ward, PhD, President, Florida Alliance for Arts Education, is in his third 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.

kyle_wedbergKyle Wedberg has a professional career that has focused on education and public service.  His career began as a City Year AmeriCorps volunteer in Boston, MA. After graduate school, he was a Senior Budget Analyst for the Office of Budget and Management for the City of Chicago. He was then recruited to the School District of Philadelphia where he served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer. Kyle then returned to City Year to help lead new site development and the start of City Year Louisiana (where he fell in love with New Orleans), City Year Johannesburg, and City Year Los Angeles. Kyle embraced the opportunity to move to New Orleans and took a leadership role at the Recovery School District where he served as Chief Administrative Officer. While working at the RSD, Kyle visited and was inspired by NOCCA-the performing and visual arts high school for the State of Louisiana, where he is now President and Chief Executive Officer. In his spare time he enjoys being with his wife Michelle and son Waylon above all else; traveling the state; and experiencing the arts, sights, sounds, food, culture, and sports (especially the Saints) of New Orleans and Louisiana. Kyle has performed as Heck Tate in the NOCCA Stage Company production of To Kill a Mockingbird and as the Narrator for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s production of Peter and the Wolf. He has a BA from St. Olaf College and a MPA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

thumb_img_1050_1024Lily Cabatu Weiss is the Executive Director for the Dallas Arts District and most recently served as the Artistic Director for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, the 2nd Artistic Director since Paul Baker, founder of the school. In addition, she served as Chair of the Dance Department that now serves as a national model. She 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 dance 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. Much of her work was instrumental in Booker T. Washington HSPVA’s distinction as the Top 8 Magnet Schools by the U.S. Department of Education, the Texas Medal of Art (the first institution to receive this award), and the renovation and expansion of Booker T. Washington HSPVA in the first Public/Private Capital Campaign for Dallas ISD. Additional awards include the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished Teacher by the Commission on Presidential Scholars twelve different years by 14 students, SURDNA Arts Teacher Fellowship, the Texas Dance Educator Award, Bates Dance Festival Teacher Fellowship, was featured in two articles in Dance Teacher magazine in 2007 & 2009 for her work at BTWHSPVA, Distinguished Alumna from Texas Woman’s University, received an Honor Award by the Dance Council of North Texas and an Outstanding Service Award from the National High School Dance Festival. She has trained many students who are performing in dance companies both nationally and internationally and who are now her colleagues and friends. She was instrumental in many current partnership programs such as Sammons Lunch Jam series with AT&T Performing Arts Center, the sold-out run of the all-school musical, HAIR with Dallas Theatre Center, and Soundings through the Nasher Sculpture Center, each promoting the Dallas Arts District, and recent feature articles in D Magazine and Patron Magazine. She serves on the Boards of TITAS Presents, the Booker T. Washington HSPVA Advisory Board, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB) Cultural Tourism Committee, Advisory Board for the Creative Arts Center, DCVB’s Committee for Moving Cities-Dallas, Board Alternate for the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and represents the Dallas Arts District as a board member of Texans for the Arts.

ann-williams-photo-brian-guilliauxAnn M. Williams: (Photo by Brian Guilliaux) For nearly 40 years, Ms. Williams directed Dallas Black Dance Theatre from a community-based organization and a semi-professional organization to a full professional dance company. Presently, the organization has an administrative staff of twelve and twelve dancers on an eleven-month contract. The company presents six series of performances at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre and Winspear Opera House; Dallas’ new City Performance Hall; Ft. Worth’s Scott Theatre; the Ailey Citigroup Theater; and tours nationally and internationally. DBDT’s repertoire includes works of such noted choreographers as Alvin Ailey, Ulysses Dove, Talley Beatty, Christopher Huggins, Elisa Monte, Milton Myers, David Parsons, Darryl B. Sneed, and others.  In May of 2014, Ms. Williams officially retired as Artistic Director of the organization, but she is currently serving as Artistic Advisor. She remains actively involved with the dance company providing guidance for the annual Founder’s Luncheon and as an emeritus member of the Board of Directors.

Ms. Williams serves on the Board of Directors of Texas Ballet Theater and The International Association of Blacks in Dance. She is a dance consultant and has served as a dance panelist for the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs, Texas Commission on the Arts, Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, Houston Arts Council, Arkansas Arts Council, the Corsicana PRIDE Project, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

LMC-Chair-Pic-Mark-Williams1-e1350662385623Mark A. Williams is an artist, educator, and scholar.  He has won awards for both his work as a writer, and an educator, and has been doing the former for more than twenty-five years, the latter for the past twenty years.  He is currently the Chair of the Literary Media and Communications Department (LMC) at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.  His work at Ellington has been recognized in “Who’s Who Among American Teachers”, and the National Society for Advancement in the Arts Teacher Recognition.  Additionally he is a recipient of the “Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education” in the area of Language Arts as well as the prestigious “Surdna Fellowship”.  He also holds a MA in English from George Mason University, and has completed course work in their PhD program in Cultural Studies.