Speakers #asnMinnesota2017

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       Arts Schools Network Annual Conference | Oct 24-27, 2017 Twin Cities, Minnesota

Look who’s talking!
Learn about the engaging, informative, and accomplished speakers for this year’s annual conference

Keynote Speakers

Russell Joel Brown – Opening Keynote, Wednesday, Oct 25th

Strange Fruit: Being Courageous and Creating Hope in Arts Programming and Casting

Speaking to the idea that we must serve as both sentry and beacon when it comes to inclusion in the arts. We must diversify the pathways, if we are to achieve true diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field.

An Augusta, GA native, Russell Joel Brown is a graduate of Morehouse College. He has appeared on Broadway, in Taiwan, and on the first and second national tours of Disney’s “The Lion King”; the first national tours of “The Scarlet Pimpernel”, and “Smokey Joe’s Café”, the Japanese tour of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe'”, and a European tour of “Ain’t Misbehavin'”. As a bass soloist at New York’s famed Cathedral of St. John the Divine, he sang for the state funerals of Dizzy Gillespie, Arthur Ashe, Cab Calloway, and Thurgood Marshall. Mr. Brown also won the “Best Actor in a Musical” award from the Connecticut Critics’ Circle for his work as Jim in “Big River” at Goodspeed Opera House.

As creator, producer, and principal talent, Mr. Brown developed “From Mozart to Motown: An Evening with Russell Joel Brown”. This full-scale theatrical show featured local area high school students and sold out a 900-seat theater five times. He also developed “Russell Joel Brown’s Project: Inspire”, an outreach program for middle and high school students. From 2014-2017, it has been presented in over 280 schools, and has encouraged children to strive for excellence and explore their creativity, using theater arts as a conduit for more general applications.

Ben Cameron – Closing Keynote, Friday, Oct 27th
Ben Cameron is President of the Jerome Foundation, which supports emerging artists in MN and New York City, and the Camargo Foundation, which operates a retreat center for artists and scholars in Cassis, France.  From 2006-2015, he was Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York, NY, and supervised an annual $15 million grants program focusing on the theatre, contemporary dance, jazz and presenting fields, and an additional $50 million initiative designed primarily to serve individual artists. Previously, he managed philanthropic programs for Target Stores and the Dayton Hudson Foundation; served as the Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group, and was Director of the Theater Program at the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the recipient of two honorary doctorates.

Speakers, Presenters, and Discussion Leaders

ROXANNE ANDERSON
Children’s Theatre Company
Bio forthcoming

LAURA APPERSON
Arizona School for the Arts
Laura Apperson has served as Arts Director since 2009. Previously, she was Arts Coordinator, and an instructor in the strings department from 1998 through 2009. She has extensive professional experience as a violist, and was recognized by the Governor of Arizona in 2013 with a Support Music Merit Award.

SAMPADA ARANKE
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
Sampada Aranke (PhD , Performance Studies) is an Assistant Professor in the Art History, Theory, Criticism Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Her research interests include performance theories of embodiment, visual culture, and black cultural and aesthetic theory. Her work has been published in e-flux, Artforum, Art Journal, Equid Novi: African Journalism Studies, and Trans-Scripts: An Interdisciplinary Online Journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences at UC Irvine. She has written catalogue essays for Sadie Barnette, Kambui Olujimi, and Zachary Fabri. She’s currently working on her book manuscript entitled Death’s Futurity: The Visual Culture of Death in Black Radical Politics.

ATOM ATKINSON
Chautauqua Institution
Adam Atkinson is the new Director of Literary Arts at Chautauqua Institution. Atkinson most recently served as instructor of Creative Writing at Interlochen Arts Academy, and is a doctoral candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah. He is one-sixth of the poetry collective, Line Assembly, and has received grant and residency support from theChildren’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Ventspils International Writers’ & Translators’ House inLatvia, and the U.S. Department of State. His poems and performances are in Black Warrior Review, Entropy Magazine, Evening Will Come, and elsewhere.

AMBER AMERSON
LaVilla School of the Arts
Amber AmersonAfter graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University, Amerson lived in Los Angeles where she worked as a Talent Agent at Judy Schoen and Associates, Development Executive for Waterstreet Pictures, Independent Film Producer for Backlight Productions, and Member of the International Improvisation Troupe:  Theatre Sports International.  She is currently the Theatre Chair at LaVilla School of the Arts as well as an award winning, nationally recognized teacher, director, writer, actor, arts advocate and community leader within Duval County Schools and the city of Jacksonville.  She was the Florida Association of Theatre Educators’ Outstanding Theatre Educator (2016) and ASN’s Teacher of the Year (2015).  Other recognitions include;  Leadership Jacksonville,  Florida Times Union EVE award finalist, Jacksonville Cultural Council’s Outstanding Arts Educator, Jacksonville’s Character Builder, LASOTA Teacher of the Year and the Gladys Prior Career Teacher of Excellence.  ASN member since 2007, she has presented at past conferences about Arts Integration (Washington, DC) and Steam vs. Stem (Dallas, TX).

CHRIS BANKS
LaVilla School of the Arts
Chris BanksI am thrilled to be entering my 13th year at LaVilla School of the Arts. I serve as one of a 3 member team in Band as part of the instrumental music department. I have particular responsibilities for Percussion, Jazz, and Chamber Music classes, in a program that includes a full range of ensemble offerings. I came to LaVilla after more than 20 years as a professional musician. I held full time positions with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Charleston Symphony, and numerous short-term appointments with the Minnesota Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, American Brass Quintet, and many others. I hold degree’s in Philosophy from University of North Florida, and Trombone Performance from the Juilliard School. It is a daily adventure to work with so many creative and giving faculty at LaVilla…Love it!

DR. JIM BEQUETTE
University of Minnesota
Jim Bequette, PhD, coordinates the Arts in Education program at the University of Minnesota. His research examines culturally relevant art education theory and practice as well as arts education policy.

TERESA BERGENE
Perpich Cetner for Arts Education
Teresa Bergene is the regional center leader in Albert Lea, Minnesota. She also teaches music in the Albert Lea School District.

RHODA BERNARD
Berklee College of Music
Founding Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs,Rhoda Bernard holds a BA from Harvard University and a BM in Jazz Voice from New EnglandConservatory. She earned her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Education at the HarvardGraduate School of Education. She has developed and leads several arts education programs for individuals on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities. Currently, these programs serve about 110 families every week in Boston. Bernard created and directs two graduate programs in music education and autism, and is a leader in pre-service and in-service education in the arts and special needs, providing workshops and consultations to arts educators, special educators, visiting artists, and administrators. She has published research in numerous peer-reviewed journals and practitioner-based publications, and regularly presents at conferences and professional development settings locally, nationally, and internationally.

NANCY BLANKFARD
HGA Architects and Engineers
Nancy-Blankfard

Nancy is an Arts Principal with more than 20 years’ experience designing cultural, arts and community work. She has repositioned organizations for the 21st century through innovative, sustainable strategies and bold designs that engage users in new ways, contribute to their surroundings, and inspire healthy communities. Among her notable work are the American Swedish Institute, which radically opened up an historic property to the community, and the St. Paul Academy Performing Arts Center, a gateway project that reinterprets the campus context in a striking and inviting way. Nancy has taught at the University of Minnesota College Of Design, presented at national conferences, juried design awards, served on the AIA Minnesota Board of Directors, and Chaired the Committee on Design.

SARA MALINE BOHN
Arizona School for the Arts
Sara Maline has been at ASA since 1997, and transitioned to administration after completing her MSW in 2005. She has a passion for empowering teachers and students.

ALISHA BOUCHER
Edwin S Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School
Bio forthcoming

REBECCA BULLEN
Perpich Center for Arts Education
Rebecca Bullen has been with the Perpich Center for Arts Education since 2009 in positions including media arts teacher and education specialist. During 2013-14, she worked with Crosswinds Arts and Science School to develop its visual and media arts program. She recently joined Concordia University as Adjunct Professor in the Masters Education program, teaching Arts Integration courses. Bullen has presented at local and national conferences including Arts Educators of Minnesota, TIES, the Religious Educators Association, and the National Arts Educators Conference. In 2012, she received the Robert Rauschenberg Power of Art Award and most recently she received a MadeHereMN grant. In addition to her education degree from Concordia University, Bullen has a BFA in media arts and interactive design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and more than 15 years of experience in film and media production.

ANDREA CALVO
Ladera Vista School of the Arts
Andrea Calvo holds a master’s degree in Education and credentials in Dance and Music. She has been teaching performing arts classes for 16 years in the Fullerton School District and 20years in Orange County. She produces two musicals a year at Ladera Vista Junior High School of the Arts (LVA), in addition to directing the choral program, teaching guitar classes, and chairing the Arts Integration Committee. Mrs. Calvo has worked in the community leading choirs and camps for students and adults with disabilities and regularly collaborates with the Special Ed. department at LVA. She believes in the inherent value of arts to bring people together works to create meaningful musical experiences for all students.

SUZANNE CANALI
New Hampshire Institute of Art
Suzanne CanaIi is Founder and Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching Visual Arts at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. She is a 14-year veteran high school art educator, comfortably standing with one foot in K – 12 and the other in higher education. Her true passion is finding ways to make the arts more socially equitable for people of all ages.

BONNIE CARPENTER
Idyllwild Arts Academy
Bonnie Carpenter is Chair of Theatre at Idyllwild Arts Academy, Idyllwild, California. She earned an MFA in Design from Northern Illinois University, a BS in Theatre Education and a BS in Education from Carroll University.

JENNINE CHAPMAN
Edwin S. Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School
jennine ChapmanJennine Chapman teaches Grade 4 at Edwin S. Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School in Mission, British Columbia, Canada. During her time at ESR, she has observed how integrating arts across the curriculum provides expansive opportunities for differentiation and inclusion, and a lens through which students can embody new concepts.  She is passionate about encouraging marginalized students to find ways to express themselves through the arts and is committed to providing artistic opportunities for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

WILLIAM CHURCH
Interlochen Center for the Arts
William Church is Director of Theatre Arts at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Michigan. He has an MFA in Acting from Moscow Art Theatre School and is a graduate of the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. He received his BFA. in Regional Theatre from Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts and is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy.

CELESTE CLARY-HOBBS
Ladera Vista School of the Arts
Celeste Clary-Hobbs has been teaching a special day class for students with moderate to severe disabilities for 15 years. She holds master’s degrees in Child Health and Special Education. For the past 10 years, she has taught at Ladera Vista Junior High School of the Arts (LVA), where she has built cross-curricular collaborative activities for her students, focusing on facilitating personal growth and the development of authentic friendships between neuro-typical and neuro-diverse students. She has built the “LVA Buddies” program, which offers students from general education and special education settings the opportunity to come together twice weekly for enrichment activities that include explorations of the culinary arts, performing arts, and visual arts. Mrs. Clary-Hobbs collaborates with the Choir andDance Departments at LVA to help her students explore and enhance their behavioral, communication, and social skills via arts integrated learning opportunities.

SILAS COOPER
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
Silas Cooper is the chair of the drama division at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He is an actor and director, who has toured nationally in Noises Off and appeared in Moscow, London, and New York. Regional credits include Baltimore Center Stage, Delaware Theatre Company, Swine Palace, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and at Los Angeles theatres, The Falcon, 24th Street, and Colony. In New Orleans, he has also appeared at theatres including Le Petit, Southern Rep, New Orleans Shakespeare Festival, and NOCCA Stage Company. Directing credits include work in Los Angeles and New Orleans. He starred in the film Snakeskin Jacket, and his featured roles in other films and television series included The Big Short, The Green Lantern, Multiplicity, Assassination Nation, Treme, NCIS New Orleans, Astronauts Wives Club, and The Bold and the Beautiful. Cooper holds a BFA from Tulane and an MFA from the University of Washington.

JACKIE CORNELIUS
Douglas Anderson School for the Arts Foundation
Jackie Henson Cornelius, the Executive Director of The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Foundation and a National Arts Consultant, passionately works to ensure the successful support of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts’ mission and arts programs.   As Douglas Anderson’s former Principal of 21 years she is well aware of the challenges faced in providing world class training and opportunities in the fine and performing arts for students seeking intensive arts study. Under her leadership, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA) has been recognized as having one of this country’s best high school music programs by the Grammy Foundation ten times; has consistently been named by Newsweek & US & World Report  as one of our nation’s best  high schools (top 1-4%) ; has consistently had students recognized by the College Board as National Merit and National Achievement award winners; is recognized as a National Exemplary Arts School by the Arts Schools Network;; has over 151students recognized as outstanding scholars by Young Arts; and consistently has national winners in the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition. Ninety eight percent of DA graduates are accepted to major universities and conservatories and over 11 million is offered in arts and academic scholarships each year. In an effort to determine what indicators or patterns of success exist among arts high schools across the country, on behalf of the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools (now known as the Arts Schools Network) Jackie conducted a National Research Study which has been used by arts schools throughout the United States. She also secured the first Kennedy Center Partnership Grant in Jacksonville, Florida benefitting arts teachers, districtwide. Jackie’s actions as a community trustee are evident in her years of relentless lobbying at the state and local levels…as have been recognized by former US Representative Ander Crenshaw, former Florida Representative Charles McBurney and former Florida Senator Jim King. She not only secured state funding for an 18 million dollar arts school construction project in 2015 as well as 13 million dollar one in 2002 but also has raised over five million for the Douglas Anderson Endowed Fund in support of DA’s arts mission. She continues to expand DA’s community partnerships, works closely with the new DA principal, Melanie Hammer, and recently established an Endowed Artist in Residency Program. Jackie is in the midst of establishing a student visual artist internship with Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). As an Arts Consultant, Jackie’s latest presentations have been…. “Stem to Steam, a presentation emphasizing the importance of the arts for the 21st Century workforce; The Rise of the Creative Class; The Status of Florida’s Public Education System; Techniques to Bring Recognition to Your Schools and Fundraising for Education.” Jackie serves on the boards of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville; Mayo Clinic’s Humanities and Medicine, the National Arts Schools Network and recently was appointed by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry to the city’s Arts in Public Places Committee. Jackie is a Leadership Florida & Leadership Jacksonville Alumni, a Downtown Jacksonville Rotarian, and has served on several state boards and committees: the Florida Federation of Business & Professional Women, The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Strategic Planning Committee and the Florida Women’s Consortium. She is a Past President of Theatre Jacksonville, Uptown Civitans, First Coast Business & Professional Women’s Club and the International Network of Visual & Performing Arts Schools. Over the years Jackie has been recognized as a Nationally Distinguished Leader by the University of Florida, the Florida Alliance for Arts Education, Girl Scouts of America and the US & Florida Departments of Education. Recently, she was honored as one of Jacksonville’s Icons.

PATRICIA DECKER
Tish School of the Arts – NYU
Patricia Decker is the Director of Recruitment at New York University 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 then served as Manager of Admissions and Applicant Services for 10 years. Patricia is also a writer, performer, and producer who has worked in both Philadelphia and New York. Philadelphia: Wilma Theatre, The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Big Mess Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet. New York: Manhattan Theatre Club, Theatre Communications Group, Teleotheater, SPF. She has performed her own work at Dixon Place, CB’s Gallery, and Cornelia Street Café. Patricia is also an accomplished Tarot card reader. She holds a BA in Theatre from Temple University.

JASON DIMINICH
Think 360 Arts
As Education Director of Think 360 Arts, Jason coordinates teacher professional development programs, including the Institute for Creative Teaching as well as overseeing the new Creative Aging initiative. Jason draws upon his years of service as a middle school theatre teacher in New York. During his tenure, he served as a consultant for the NYC Department of Education designing and implementing professional development and as a contributing writer to the NYC Blueprint for Teaching and Learning Theatre. Jason’s experiences allowed him to work with diverse populations including Brooklyn College and Kigali Institute of Education in Rwanda. Jason holds a B.S. from New York University’s program in Educational Theatre and a M.A. in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York.

DAWN C. DREISBACH
Dreisbach Special Education Services
Dawn C. Dreisbach, MA, MEd, is a special education teacher who has taught students pre-K to 11th grade in school settings and tutoring. Dawn advises parents on the special education process. She has presented at special education groups and at the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts. With the Boston Music Education Collaborative, a partnership of the Boston Public Schools, WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and New England Conservatory, she brought professional development workshops to teachers across the state. She is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and formerly worked at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts.

JONATHAN EDINGTON
Minneapolis Public Schools
A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Vocal Music Education, Jonathan has been working at Folwell School, Performing Arts Magnet (formerly Ramsey IFAC) since 2006. Starting his teaching career with the Learning Through Music Consulting Group (LTMCG), he served as a music consultant, teaching artist, and integration specialist before being hired by Minneapolis Public Schools to teach choir, and later, rock band. As part of the LTMCG, he developed, modified, and implemented arts integration curricula and helped pilot new music plus music integration (M+MI) programs at other schools. His current position with Folwell School provides him with the opportunity to continue his arts integration work during the regular school day in both arts and non-arts classrooms.

LARES FELICIANO
Think 360 Arts
Lares is an artist, filmmaker, and arts administrator dedicated to creating and promoting thoughtful media that educates and inspires. She holds an MFA in Cinema Production from San Francisco State University and a BA in Film & American Studies from Smith College. In December 2011, she served as Artist in Residence at Grand Canyon National Park. Her films have screened all over the world including New York, San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Melbourne. In 2012, she co-founded, and was Festival Director and Director of Programming of, the Southern Colorado Film Festival.

MAGDALENA FITZSIMMONS
George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology
Magdalena Fitzsimmons is currently an instructional coach at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology as part of the Baltimore County Public Schools S.T.A.T. initiative in Baltimore, MD. She is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and the University of Calgary, Canada. Ms. Fitzsimmons has presented at numerous national and state conferences on the topics of arts integration, problem-based learning, curriculum for gifted students, creativity, and technology integration. She was awarded the National Music Foundation Lois Bailey Glenn Award for Teaching Excellence, the Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education Citation and Award for Teacher as Leader in Gifted Education, and is a three-time winner of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in performance and recording. Ms. Fitzsimmons has also written and edited reading language arts curriculum for gifted and talented students for Baltimore County Public Schools, the Maryland State Department of Education, and is the author of Challenging Common Core Language Arts Lessons: Activities and Extensions for Gifted and Advanced Learners in Grade 5, Prufrock Press, publishers.

KATE FOLKINS
Denver School of the Arts
Kate Folkins, Goodwill Industries Youth Facilitator at DSA, works with students in classes and 1:1 case management to build online portfolios, professional internships, and skills for postsecondary success. She is also a theatre director, and is passionate about providing artists with the tools to thrive personally and professionally over a lifetime.

JOANNA FOX
Booker Middle School
joanna-fox
Joanna Fox is the creative writing teacher at Booker Middle VPA Magnet School in Sarasota, FL. She created the program 15 year ago. In that time, both Joanna and her students have won local, national and international awards in writing and the teaching of writing. Joanna collaborates on campus and throughout the community to give her students a variety of arts related writing experiences.  She is known throughout Florida for the Dragonfly Café where her students read their poetry and members of their families and of the community are encouraged to share their poetry and creativity as well.

LEAH FREGULIA
Arizona School for the Arts
Founding faculty member of Arizona School for the Arts, Leah Fregulia served as the principal before becoming the CEO in 2007. Ms. Fregulia is the 2015 Athena Public Sector award recipient and a 2017 Piper Fellow. Her leadership helped establish ASA as one of the top academic schools in Arizona and the nation while maintaining a dual focus in the performing arts.

JENNA GABRIEL
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Jenna Gabriel is an educator, program director, and nonprofit leader with a focus on educational equity for high-need learners. Prior to joining the Kennedy Center, Ms. Gabriel was based in Boston, MA, where she served as the Director of Youth Development at IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, where she designed and supervised out-of-school-time programs for low income young people in grades K-12, with a focus on English Language Learners and struggling readers. In recognition of her leadership, IBA’s Youth Development Program was award the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2016. Ms. Gabriel is the Founding Executive Director of Daytime Moon Creations, a NYC-based nonprofit that offers arts programs to children with special needs. Her most recent publication, a chapter entitled “Use of Theatrical Techniques and Elements as Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders” was released in February 2016 by Bloomsbury Press. Ms. Gabriel holds a BFA with honors in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she also was awarded minors in Applied Theater and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She studied IntellectualDisabilities and Autism at Teachers College, Columbia University before completing her Masters in Education at Harvard University.

PENNY GASTON
Edwin S Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School
Bio forthcoming

JAMES GREENE
LaVilla School of the Arts
James GreeneJames Greene is an Accomplished Comic Book Publisher and Illustrator. He is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He obtained a BFA from the University of Northern Iowa and MFA in Studio Art and Printmaking from the University of Tennessee.

DEB GIRDWOOD
Children’s Theatre Company
Bio forthcoming

KATHLEEN GRIFFIN
Edwin S. Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School
Kathleen GriffenKathleen Griffin teaches both primary and intermediate students at Edwin S. Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School in Mission, British Columbia, Canada. Her love of cultural and three- dimensional art-forms have led her to ESR where she develops and facilitates arts-integrated math and literacy projects within her classroom. Her enthusiasm for inclusive, arts-based approaches are evident in her practice and her learned experiences of world art from travel abroad have resulted in an artistic and global approach to education.

GERAMI GROOVER
Conservatory Lab Charter School
Gerami-Groover
Gerami Groover is a musician, educator, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Reciprocal Exchange Fellow, and founder of Gerami Groover Presents. Groover began her musical journey at the Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s only school for the performing and creative arts, where she excelled as the first female pianist accepted into the school. Groover continued to advance in her musicianship by matriculating to Berklee College of Music, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A firm believer in the power of music and arts education, Gerami serves as a music educator throughout the world, working with schools and government to provide formal music education to youth in Dominican Republic, Swaziland, South African, and the USA. She serves as a resident artist at the Conservatory Lab Charter School, developing and teaching musicianship, choir, and the music integration component to the school’s Expeditionary Learning curricula for the upper school campus.

ANDREA GUNNS
North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts
Andrea Gunns is in her third year as an Assistant Principal of the Arts and Kindergarten-3rd grade at North Fort Myers for the Arts. She has been in education for 29 years as a teacher, consultant, and trainer working with teachers and students (kindergarten through college). She received her bachelor of science degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education & master of education in Curriculum & Instruction at Gannon University in Erie, PA. Kimberly Smith has been a teacher at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts for 11 years. This Lee County Golden Apple recipient has taught several grade levels at NFMAA before finding her niche in elementary drama and middle school language arts. Committed to arts integration for student success, Kim has been an advocate for bringing the arts into all disciplines. Kim graduated from Barry University with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Reading.

ALLYSON HALEY
George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology
As a student, Ms. Haley had to address her own dyslexia in a time when very little was known about the disability. Even with these challenges, she found her sense of self when performing on the stage as a singer and an actor. Upon graduation from college in 1985 she began teaching students with special needs. In 2000, Ms. Haley joined the faculty and staff of George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology as an inclusion teacher and became department chairperson of the Learning Resource Department in 2006. In the 17 years she has worked at Carver Center, Ms. Haley has worked with the Performing and Visual Arts faculty to support students with a variety of disabilities from specific learning disabilities to Autism. Ms. Haley and the faculty work together to develop supports that will ensure all students fully and successfully participate in all the programs. As well as being a teacher, Ms. Haley works in the Semi-Professional Theatre community in Baltimore as Production Manager and Resident Stage Manager for two theatre companies.

CAT HAMMOND
Children’s Theatre Company
Bio forthcoming

MARY HARDING
Perpich Center for Arts Education
Mary Harding, MAED, BA, 2002 National Dance Teacher of the Year, has been head of the dance program at the Perpich Arts High School since 1990. Her research, “Peer Coaching in the Arts Classroom”, received multiple awards and was published in the June 2009 edition of JODE. Her article, “Assessment in the High School Technique Class- Creating Thinking Dancers”, was published in the August 2012 edition of JODE. She has presented at multiple national conferences on assessment, curriculum, and standards. She was a member of the Minnesota Standards writing team and was on the National Core Arts Standards dance writing team.

GAIL HARTSFELD
Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts
Gail Hartsfield is in her 11th year as Director of Student Services at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts (FWAFA) and actively involved in all aspects of artistic student life. Her leadership position at FWAFA includes counseling, academic, and artistic curriculum, scheduling, and student recruitment. One of her most rewarding activities is co-writing/directing/producing the annual Faculty Talent Show, a true example of artistic inclusion. Before earning her MEd degree in school counseling, Gail taught grades ranging from pre-k through high school and co-directed several musical productions. Gail is a certified trainer for the Tribes TLC community building process and an active member of the Texas Counseling Association.

MEGAN HILDEBRANDT
Interlochen Arts Academy
Megan Hildebrandt is Painting and Digital Media Instructor at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Camp. Hildebrandt received her master’s degree in fine arts from the University of South Florida. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including: The Painting Center, New American Paintings, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Craft, Arlington Arts Center, Detroit Contemporary, HEREarts Center, The Cultural Center of Spain, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, and the Michigan Institute of Contemporary Art.

JEREMY HOLIEN
Perpich Center for Arts Education & MN Department of Education
Jeremy Holien is Arts Education Specialist for Minnesota’s Perpich Center for Arts Education and the Minnesota Department of Education. The Perpich Center is a state agency within the executive branch of government, whose mission is to improve K-12 arts education for students and educators. He leads professional development, standards-based curriculum, best-practice assessment strategies, and the development of the arts teacher evaluation program. He is responsible for statewide workshops, networks, and innovative initiatives in visual and media arts education, working regularly with school district teacher and administrative teams, and post-secondary teacher preparation programs. Additionally, he presents regularly on the cognitive value of arts education, artistic literacies, 21st century skills, leadership, and public policy centered in the arts. Holien is a co-author of the recent National Core Arts Standards in Media Arts and is a graduate of the 2015 National Art Education Association’s School of Art Leaders.

TRACY HOLT
Denver School of the Arts
Tracy Holt has dedicated 25 years to providing students and staff with a platform to have their own voice within the arts and education. Her roles have included coach, mentor, early education instructor, administrative assistant, and director of DSA’s annual Black History Program. Presently Tracy has the honor of being the Arts Administrative Assistant at Denver School of the Arts, under the leadership of William Kohut for the past five years.

JONATHAN HOWARD
Denver School of the Arts
Jonathan Howard, Audio Production and Sound Design Instructor, challenges students to not only understand the role that music and sound play in performance, but also how the arts can be understood through the lens of applied math and physics principles.

THERESA KING
LaVilla School of the Arts
Theresa King
Theresa King has been teaching private voice lessons since 2001 and teaching at LaVilla SOTA since 2009. She earned her BM in Vocal Performance from Stetson University and her MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona. She performed in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Verdi’s Falstaff, and Menotti’s The Medium. In 2006, she made her European debut in Graz, Austria with the American Institute of Musical Studies. As music director at Edgewater United Methodist Church, she started a handbell choir, sang and played piano as part of the praise band and volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club on campus, creating a children’s chorus. Six months after moving to Jacksonville to teach at LaVilla, she met the love of her life, Mr. David King. She is ever thankful and blessed to have such a great support in her life as she works with her exceptional students and colleagues.

LARA KIRKSEY
Denver School of the Arts
Lara Kirksey, Costume Design/Construction and Wardrobe Instructor, worked professionally for many years in the industry as a designer, craftsperson, and stage manager. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Denver passing on the world of theatrical design and technical theatre to the next generation of artists.

 

NICOLE KITCHEN
Denver School of the Arts
Nicole Kitchen is a mom, a baker, and a child advocate. She has a background in teen counseling with extensive experience throughout the nation (the side effect of being a military spouse). She earned her special education teaching credentials eight years ago, specializing in math intervention and guiding students through the life skills needed to thrive independently. This past year, she worked on a team to create and implement DSA’s Student Success Center (SSC), a physical and communication hub for supporting students’ social/emotional needs. Nicole is a native of the Midwest but now calls Colorado home. When she is not teaching, Nicole is tackling the Sunday crossword puzzle (in pencil), riding her bicycle, losing at pub trivia, interjecting irrelevant comments in meetings, or training seeing eye dog puppies.

SUSAN KNILL
Denver School of the Arts
Susan Knill is Director of Development for the Denver School of the Arts Friends Foundation, overseeing all aspects of foundation operations and working with a 15-member board. She has spent the past 17 years in the field of fundraising and development, leading successful events, campaigns, and initiatives in California and Colorado.

WILLIAM KOHUT
Denver School of the Arts
William Kohut is in his ninth year as Principal of the Denver School of the Arts.  Denver School of the Arts is a 6 -12th– grade Magnet school for the Arts in the Denver Public Schools. Under his leadership, Denver School of the Arts has been recognized as one of the top high schools in America by US News and World Report as a “Gold Medal” winner for seven straight years.  Denver School of the Arts was also named a Distinguished “Blue” School in Denver Public Schools, and was designated an “Exemplary Arts School” by the Arts Schools Network in 2014-2015 and 2016-2017.  Mr. Kohut served as the principal of South High School, a National AVID Demonstration School for 8 years, prior to his appointment at DSA. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, and a MA in School Administration from the University of Phoenix. Bill has taught and served as an administrator in many diverse environments.

In addition to his service in the public schools, Mr. Kohut was an adjunct instructor of Music Education at Metropolitan State University for eight years. His musical background includes Music Director of the Denver Community Concert Band and 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 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 is on the Board of Directors for the Arts Schools Network as their Second Vice-President.   

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.

ANITA LAMBERT
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Anita Lambert has been teaching, and involved in, music and education since her earliest memories. She began taking piano lessons at the age of four, and teaching students while playing for Vacation Bible School at age ten. She had an epiphany while watching The Sound of Music when it was first released, declaring “I’m going to TEACH someone to sing like THAT!” Her love for teaching everyone, regardless of other abilities, led her to major in Music Education and Music Therapy at East Carolina University. Her early career was spent in Fairfax County Public schools with emotionally disabled students. Her work created the first program of its kind where all students were mainstreamed in music classes. Currently Anita serves Prince George’s County Public Schools as Coordinating Supervisor for Creative Arts Programs. She is the supervisor for all of the fine arts, media arts, middle school technology integration, and television production. She is privileged to work under the guidance of John Ceschini, Arts Integration Officer, to build and develop Arts Education and Arts Integration in PGCPS.

ANDREW LAUE
Webster University
Andrew Laue is Associate Director of Fine Arts Admissions at Webster University. In this position, he 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 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 City Representative for the NACAC St. Louis Performing and Visual Arts College Fair, held at Webster each fall.

BARBARA LIEDAHL
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Barbara Liedahl is Instructional Specialist – Media Arts, in the department of Creative Arts Programs in PGCPS. Her responsibilities include supervising TV/Media Production teachers, managing, training and supporting technology integration instructors, coordinating creative arts technology professional development, and supporting all creative arts and arts integration supervisors and teachers. She also serves on several district and state-wide committees. Embracing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, Ms. Liedahl promotes cross-curricular collaboration with technology and arts integration, including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).

STEPHEN MADRID
Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts
Stephen Madrid is Director of Fine Arts at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts (FWAFA). The highlight of his 11 years at FWAFA is co-producing/directing/writing the annual Faculty Talent Show. Previously, he was principal at Pinnacle School of Fine Arts and produced its artistic performances. With the support of Abilene Repertory Theatre, he was the founding Managing Artistic Director for a youth repertory troupe. He received his degree in theatre from Hardin Simmons University. While there, he served as Managing Artistic Director for Moment’s Notice, a local touring acting troupe. Stephen has operated within the non-profit arts community for over 20 years. He has also taught acting throughout the state. Stephen began his professional career at the age of 18 as a reporter, then anchor, for a CBS affiliate in Midland, TX, later appearing in national, regional radio and television commercials and numerous stage performances.

ABBIE MALKEWITZ
LaVilla School of the Arts
Abbie MalkewitzAbbie Malkewitz is the Technical Director for LaVilla School of the Arts. She was one of the original artists specifically chosen to open the school in 2000. Abbie graduated with a BFA in Technical Theatre from Jacksonville University in 1990 and worked for many years as a designer for theatre and dance companies, and a workshop facilitator for educational institutions and theatrical organizations.  Before opening LaVilla, she was a designer and production supervisor for Exhibit Resources/Sally Corp. A firm believer in making the impossible, possible and through many years of research and development, she has created the middle school stagecraft and theatrical design curriculum. She is passionate about sharing the craft of creating theatre with her students. She continues to work in the local theatre/dance community to develop new skills and opportunities for her students.

DR. BETSY MALONEY LEAF
Perpich Center for Arts Education
Betsy Maloney Leaf, PhD, MFA, is the outreach coordinator for Perpich Center for Arts Education. She supports regional centers in Minnesota to implement arts professional development for teachers.

BOBBY MCCLURE
Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts
Bobby McClure, Physical Education Specialist, directs Gilbert’s West African Dance program. He has degrees in English, Physical Education, and Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy.

ELLIE MCKAY
Children’s Theatre Company
Bio forthcoming

ASPEN MILES
Denver School of Arts

Aspen Miles has dedicated 20 years to educating and empowering students, colleagues, friends and family to achieve and use education as a tool to improve their lives and the lives of those in their community. Her roles have included mentor, coach, dean, special educator and administrator in affluent and urban schools. Aspen currently serves as assistant principal at Denver School of the Arts under the leadership of William Kohut for the past three years.

CARRIE MILLS
Booker Middle School
carrie-mills
Carrie originally hails from Allentown, PA and earned her B.A. in Theatre from Penn State and her M.F.A. in Theatre for Young Audiences from Arizona State University.  She has worked onstage and in the education departments of regional theatres across the country including The Utah Shakespearean Festival, Missoula Children’s Theatre, People’s Light & Theatre Company, and Asolo Repertory Theatre.  She made the leap from the professional theatre world to the classroom in 2007 and currently teaches the Drama and Musical Theatre classes at Booker Middle while also serving as one of the VPA Curriculum Leaders. In addition to teaching BMS students, she’s worked locally in Sarasota with Musicians Out of the Box, The Players Theatre, The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and Venice Theatre.  Carrie enjoys life outside school with her husband, Lorenzo, her two children (Henry – 3rd grade and Alice – kindergarten), and their recently rescued Chihuahua mix named Hopper.

JAMIE L. MINLE ROJEK
HGA Architects and Engineers
Jamie-Milne-Rojek

Jamie provides high value to arts clients nationally. Her experience includes concert halls, theaters, performing-arts centers, museums and studio-arts projects. With more than 20 years experience as a project manager and design leader, she focuses on research, site tours, user-group workshops and careful listening to understand her clients’ needs to create highly functional arts-specific solutions. She has led programs and seminars on arts-facilities design and planning at regional and national conferences, including the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), and United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).

SUSAN MORALEDA
Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts
Susan Moraleda, is Gilbert’s Art Specialist and 2011 Nevada Art Teacher of the Year. She is Facilitator for Art K-5, and has degrees in Studio Arts, Cross-Cultural Education, and Creative Arts Learning.

MELINDA MYERS
Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts
Melinda Myers, Drama Specialist, is director of Gilbert’s Shakespeare Festival and matinee musicals, and is Facilitator for Humanities K-5. She has degrees in Elementary Education and Theatre Education.

LINDA NATHAN
Center for Artistry and Scholarship
Linda Nathan is the first executive director of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship and has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for fifteen years. Dr. Nathan served as founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. She also founded and directed the Center for Arts in Education, an arm of BAA that serves the outreach, professional development, and arts advocacy needs of the school. Dr. Nathan was the co-director of Fenway High School for fourteen years and founded two nonprofit organizations: El Pueblo Nuevo (arts and youth development) and the Center for Collaborative Education (school reform issues). She is also the co-founder of the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership and serves on numerous nonprofit boards both locally and nationally. Nathan is the author of The Hardest Questions Aren’t on the Test.

DR. KIT NELSON
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
Dr. Kit Nelson is the Chair of Integrated Sciences for the Academic Studio at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. She earned her PhD from Southern Methodist in 2001.  Following a post-doctorate research position with noted Anthropologist Lewis Binford, she worked for Tulane University for 9 years.  During this time, she taught undergraduate and graduate classes, mentored students, and conducted archaeological fieldwork in Egypt, Peru, and the American Southwest. For her dedication to students in the classroom and the field she was awarded the Newcomb Distinguished Faculty Award (2010).  She continues to publish and is currently carrying out archaeological research in the American Southwest at a Puebloan site near Taos, New Mexico in association with Southern Methodist University.

ROXANNE NELSON
HGA Architects and Engineers
Roxanne-Nelson
Roxanne has more than 20 years of experience focused on projects for visual and performing arts, museums and learning environments. As a project designer, planner and principal, she works with clients and project teams to develop innovative, functional and sustainable buildings. Her collaborative leadership style focuses on building consensus through interactive workshops and establishing clear communication throughout the planning and design process.

RANA NESTRUD
Perpich Center for Arts Education
Rana Nestrud is the regional center leader in Elk River, MN. She also teaches visual arts in the Elk River School District.

MARY ELLEN NEWPORT
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Mary Ellen Newport is Director of the R.B. Annis Math and Science Division. She is in her sixth year at Interlochen Arts Academy, incorporating arts into her STE[a]M classes. Her background is in evolutionary biology and she teaches Ecology at IAA. The project in the 10-Acre Woods is supported by Wilsonart as part of their outreach in education and conservation.

DEBORAH OBALIL
Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD)
Deborah Obalil has over 20 years of experience as a leader in the national arts and culture industry, having led multiple highly acclaimed organizations and served as a well-regarded management consultant to the field. She was appointed Executive Director of AICAD in June 2012 and as President of AICAD in fall 2015. Prior to her appointment with AICAD, Deborah operated a successful boutique arts management consulting firm, Obalil & Associates, for four years. She was recently Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, an organization dedicated to the advancement of America’s creative vitality through supporting the field of artists’ communities, based in Providence, RI. During her six-year tenure as Executive Director, the Alliance’s membership grew by more than 20%, the annual budget tripled, and new relationships developed with the Ford Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Joyce Foundation directed more than $2 million in re-granting funds through the Alliance. Deborah received a BA from Illinois Wesleyan University in History and Dance, and a certificate from the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders – Arts at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

MICHELLE J. OTTLEY-FISHER
LaVilla School of the Arts
Michelle J. Ottley-Fisher
Michelle J. Ottley-Fisher, director of Dance at the LaVilla School of the Arts, is moving towards her 25th year of public education. She enjoyed her first four years at the prestigious, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts as an Earth Space Science and Dance instructor and then as the Director of Dance at the Landon Middle School for the Arts and Academics. She has been at LaVilla since its inception in 2000. Michelle’s Bachelor of Science degree in Dance and Secondary Education comes from Jacksonville University where she was recently recognized as College of Fine Arts’ Distinguished Alumni in Theatre/Dance 2017. She has been awarded the LaVilla School of the Arts, Teacher of the Year award, 2010 and The LaVilla Dance Department also holds an FAAE, Florida Arts Model Program Award for 2017-2020. As a dancer and educator, Mama O is very excited to be a part of this amazing adventure and can’t wait to see what’s next.

WENDY PAYER
Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts
Gilbert Magnet School for Communications and Creative Arts Wendy Payer, Library Specialist, has taught at Gilbert for 18 years. She has extensive training in arts integration, and has degrees in Journalism, English, Elementary Education, and Library Science.

SHAWN PENDRY
LaVilla School of the Arts
Shawn Pendry
Mr. Shawn M. Pendry BME, MM, NBCT has been a choral director at LaVilla for the past fourteen years. He was awarded “Teacher of the Year” at LaVilla School of the Arts in 2008 – 2009. He was selected as Teacher of the Month by WAWS in January 2008 and Teacher of the Week by WTLV in the 2009. He was a nominee for the national Life Changer of the Year award in 2015. He has been an All-County conductor and adjudicator for the Florida Vocal Association. His choirs consistently score top ratings in adjudications and contests in the United States. He has conducted middle school students performing in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. Marks in Venice, Christ Church in Oxford as well as many other prestigious venues in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, England, France and Greece. Mr. Pendry is a member of the ACDA, NAfME and the American Synesthesia Association.

JEFF POULIN
Americans for the Arts
Jeff M. Poulin joined the arts education team at Americans for the Arts in 2013. He 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 nonprofit organizations and universities. Jeff hails from Portland, Maine and holds a MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy from University College Dublin and a BS in Entertainment Business from Oklahoma City University.

JENNIFER PRESTRIDGE
Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts
Jennifer Prestridge has taught music and movement to students in Las Vegas for the past 20 years. She is also an instructor for the Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education course at UNLV.

JAMIE QUERCIAGROSSA
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School
Ms. Querciagrossa has been a Drama Specialist in the District 65 schools for 20 years.  She is a proud graduate of Knox College (B.A. in Theater and Education)and Northwestern University (M.A. in Theater) teaches Drama to our students in Kindergarten thru 8th grade.

GARY REETZ
HGA Architects and Engineers
Gary-Reetz
Gary is a recognized design leader focusing on arts-related projects. His work includes museums, performing-arts centers, studio-arts spaces, concert halls and theaters. As a long-time supporter of the arts, he is a national voice promoting the arts and arts education as a means to build business and engage the community. Under his leadership, HGA has won numerous regional and national awards. “Arts clients, in particular, are open to having their buildings express their cultural identity. They are visual clients and they want something that is visual.”

MALCOM RIO
Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Maryland Institute College of Art
Malcom RioMalcolm Rio is a graphic and architectural designer and thinker from Amherst, Massachusetts. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Architectural Studies, Urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to MIT, Rio was an inaugural AICAD teaching-fellow positioned at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland, where he taught graphic design, architectural design, and foundation studio courses. During his tenure at MICA, Rio’s research focused the class and racial exploitation of mobile network technologies that hollow out the transit systems of medium-sized cities in the US post-industrial landscape. His current research interests (in partnership with Aaron Tobey, YSOA) investigates the relationship between data analysis and urban planning to produce new forms of subaltern or “blackened” citizenship. Their recent work, Bias By Design, was presented at the “Architecture, Natures & Data: The Politics of Environments” conference in Estonia. Rio obtained his Master of Architecture (M.Arch) from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and his Bachelor of Science in Philosophy and Bachelor of Fine Art in graphic design from Towson University.

ROXANNE ROJAS DE BLANCO
Coronado School of the Arts
Roxanne Rojas de Blanco graduated from UCSD with a Bachelors degree in Third World Studies in 1993.  After graduation, she hosted a public service television program on San Diego FOX called “Tijuana Window to the South” that promoted tourism and culture in Baja California for 6 years.  She also coordinated conferences to develop relations between high-tech companies in Baja California for UCSD Extension’s Crossborder CONNECT.  Ms. Rojas developed her talents as a dancer studying contemporary dance at UCSD and cultural dances with master teachers from around the world, including extensive travel to Cuba.  Ms. Rojas performed with several local dance companies in the 1990’s including Prowess DanceArts directed by former Urban Bush Woman, Christina Jones Stewart.  She collaborated to create a non-profit, Baraka International Arts, dedicated to sponsoring Multi-Cultural master artists to teach and perform in the San Diego area.  She is founding member and has performed with Omo Aché Afro-Cuban Dance Company since 1997. She has taught dance through several arts organizations including the Institute for Arts Education, San Diego City School District VAPA and City Moves!.  Ms. Rojas received a Bilingual Cross-cultural Language Acquisition Development credential (BCLAD) from SDSU in 2002.  She taught Visual and Performing Arts at the King Chavez Academy of Excellence and served as principal for the King-Chavez Arts Academy from 2005-2008.  She has worked for Arts for Learning San Diego as a master teaching artist since 2008. Her passion is connecting academics, cultural arts and language development through arts integration.

MELINDA ZACHER RONAYNE
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Melinda Zacher Ronayne, Director of the Visual Arts, leads all aspects of visual arts education at the Interlochen Arts Camp and Academy. Ronayne received her bachelor’s degree and her master’s in arts education from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is in her seventh year as the Director at Interlochen and has taught art at the high school level for 12 years, primarily in Florida before relocating to Michigan.

SHANE SCHMEICHEL
Coronado School of the Arts
Shane Schmeichel has been Director of Coronado School of the Arts for five years. Schmeichel relocated to San Diego from Minneapolis, where he created specialty educational programs for Minnesota’s fourth-largest school district. Schmeichel is a violinist and past orchestra teacher for two districts in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Schmeichel’s strategy is a multi-faceted approach to learning, developing programs that both support high quality, discrete arts and integrated arts experiences – making learning more meaningful and applicable to real life.

EILEEN SHEEHAN
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School
Ms. Sheehan teaches Creative Movement/Dance to students in grades K-8 at KingArts. She started her career as a modern dancer performing with the Chicago Moving Company under the direction of Nana Shineflug. With this strong background of performance, teaching and Arts Administration, she grew as an Interdisciplinary Arts Educator with successful outcomes in collaborating and facilitating cross-curricular learning through the arts.  It is exciting to be able to bring all this experience to her dance classes.   She has a B.S. Education from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and MA, Education from North Park University IL.

KIM SMITH
North Fort Myers Academy
Bio forthcoming

DARIA SOUVOROVA
GW Carver Center for Art and Technology-Baltimore County Public School
Daria Souvorova is a painter and designer. She received her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. Daria works as an AP Studio Art and AP Art History instructor at G.W. Carver Center for Arts and Technology.

NAN STEIN
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School
Ms. Stein has been a Visual Arts Specialist in Evanston-Skokie School DIstrict 65 for the past 10 years.  She holds a B.S. in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MEd in Educational Administration from National Louis University.  Ms. Stein teaches Media Arts to grades 4-8, Visual Art to grades K, 2 and 4. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she chairs the Art Department for the District. In her spare time, she enjoys her family, freelance photography, travel, swimming and watching UW Badger football!

M. SCOTT TATUM
Booker T. Washington HSPVA
M. Scott Tatum, MA Curriculum Instruction & Arts/Cultural Management, is an educator, director, designer, and advocate. With experience in the classrooms and administrative offices of K-12 arts/creative schools, Scott works to synthesize the experience of arts learners with the world around them and a focus on social justice issues. Better teacher & better learning will yield a better world.

STEPHANIE THOMPSON
Ten Thousand Things Theater
Stephanie Thompson is an arts collaborator who specializes in strategizing ways to engage communities of all sizes in creative industry. She is currently Managing Director at Ten Thousand Things Theater in Minneapolis and previously was Executive Director at Dell’Arte International in Blue Lake, CA. She has taught at Dell’Arte and throughout the US in the areas of mask, puppetry, commedia, clown, acting, community engagement, and entrepreneurship. Prior to her work at Dell’Arte Stephanie served on the faculty of the MFA Acting program at University of Missouri Kansas City. As a performer, Stephanie has worked throughout the US and abroad with companies such as Dell’Arte International, New Pickle Circus, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Kenneth Feld Productions, California Revels, Tears of Joy Theatre Company, and Partners in Mime. She is a graduate of Dell’Arte (MFA), Case Western Reserve University (BA), and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

RANDI VEGA
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School
Bio forthcoming

MICHAEL WANG
Chicago High School for the Arts
Michael Wang has seen first-hand the disparities prevalent in Illinois public schools. After receiving his BA in Biology from Northeastern Illinois University, Mr. Wang pursued a career in urban education through a MEd in Educational Leadership from DePaul University. Mr. Wang has been with ChiArts since 2010, serving as Biology Teacher, Freshman Academy Coordinator, Assistant Principal for Operations and Management, and now, Principal. In his current leadership role, Mr. Wang is focused on fostering an inclusive school culture within ChiArts’ highly diverse student body. With approximately 50% low-income students, he has restructured the school’s support services to ensure ChiArts scholar-artists comprehensive counseling in academics, emotional support, and post-secondary opportunities. He works to provide equal access to resources in the arts and academics to engender diversity in arts community of Chicago.

KYLE WEDBERG
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
Kyle’s professional career has focused on education and public service. He began as a City Year AmeriCorps volunteer in Boston, MA. After graduate school, he was Senior Budget Analyst for the Office of Budget and Management for the City of Chicago. He was recruited to the School District of Philadelphia where was Deputy Chief Financial Officer. Kyle returned to City Year to lead new site development and the start of City Year Louisiana (both Baton Rouge and New Orleans), City Year Johannesburg, and City Year Los Angeles. At the Recovery School District, he served as Chief Administrative Officer. While working at the RSD, Kyle visited and was inspired by NOCCA , where he is now in his eighth year as President and Chief Executive Officer. In his spare time, Kyle helps lead and support the civic work of the city, region, and state; enjoys being with his wife and son; experiences the arts, sights, sounds, food, culture, and sports (especially the Saints) of New Orleans and Louisiana; and annually engages in believing that this will be the Cubs’ year (and in 2016 it was!). 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.

SHARON WIDDOWS
Edwin S. Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School
Sharon Widdows is Principal at ES Richards Arts-Based Curriculum School in Mission, British Columbia Canada and is a PhD candidate in the Arts Education Program at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada. She created and facilities the SPARK (Supporting and Providing Arts for Remarkable Kids) program in Mission BC and is passionate about inclusion and equity for all learners through the arts.  She is a tireless advocate for arts in education and is studying how music-infused international service-learning can encourage transformative engagement in students and mitigate the power balance inherent in typical service-learning programs.

CHRIS WINEMAN
Denver School of the Arts
Chris Wineman is the parent of a Creative Writing alumna at DSA and has served on the DSAFF board since 2012. He is a principal at Semple Brown Design, a Denver architecture firm, and remembers fondly working on the design of DSA’s current facility.

DR. RUSSELL WOLFE
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
Dr. Russell Wolfe moved to New Orleans in 2007 from Nebraska, where he studied Physics, Biology, and Mathematics. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University for research focused on understanding how stem cells respond to the physical forces that occur during large-scale bioprocessing. While at Tulane, he also taught hands-on undergraduate engineering courses in robotics, electronic circuits, and medical device design, in addition to mentoring undergraduate students in research practices, public presentation, and professional career development. Dr. Wolfe’s artistic endeavors include ceramics and digital photography.

ZIYANG WU
Minneapolis College of Art & Design
Wu Ziyang AICAD fellow
Ziyang Wu received an MFA in Painting in 2016 from the Rhode Island School of Design, and he is currently in his second year at Minneapolis College of Art & Design as an AICAD Teaching Fellow. Originally from Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China, Ziyang Wu’s art practice has been focused on micro-alienation phenomenon within contemporary society including the impact and control on individuals by new technology and internet power through a combination of video, painting, sculpture, installation, and performance. Wu has shown his work internationally in China, the United States, and Europe, including solo exhibition at the Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York and the CO2 Gallery in Florence, and group exhibitions at the Milan Design Week in Italy, the Today Art Museum and Times Art Museum in Beijing, the Rochester Art Center in Minnesota, the Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art in Rhode Island, the Academy Art Museum in Maryland, the Hole Gallery, the Microscope Gallery, and the Rogue Space Gallery in New York.

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