Faculty & Staff

ChiArts Administrative Staff

Executive & Artistic Director
José Ochoa

José Ochoa is the founding Executive Director of The Chicago High School for the Arts. Prior to moving to Chicago he was the Superintendent of Cultural Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, where he supervised the dance, music, theatre, and visual arts departments, two museums and the special events department. Besides his work in arts administration and in education, Ochoa has had a diverse career in the performing arts. As a musician, he has performed solo flute recitals including the Festival Internacional de Arte e Cultura de Suchitoto in Central America. In dance, he danced with several regional ballet companies and he was the choreographer for the official state play of Texas for three seasons. He has directed/choreographed for theatres throughout the Southeast and in Central America.  Ochoa is a graduate of the North Carolina School for the Arts in music performance and has a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies-Dance, Music, Theatre, from West Texas A&M University. He served as an honorary trustee for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and he is a board of trustee for the National Guild of Community Schools for the Arts, Arts Alliance Illinois, and Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Principal
Michael Wang

Originally from Wilmette, IL, Michael Wang has seen first-hand the disparities prevalent in Illinois public schools. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Northeastern Illinois University, Mr. Wang pursued a career in urban education through a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from DePaul University. Mr. Wang has been with ChiArts since 2010, serving in numerous roles including 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 in order to ensure ChiArts scholar-artists comprehensive counseling in academics, emotional support, and in post-secondary opportunities. He works to provide equal access to resources in the arts and academics in order to engender diversity in arts community of Chicago.

Dean of Curriculum & Instruction
Lori Birenberg

Lori Birenberg is a founding member of ChiArts and served as an instructional coach for seven years before transitioning to her new role. As Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, she works with teachers across content areas to guide, strengthen, and evaluate classroom instruction, best practices, and curriculum. Prior to joining ChiArts, Lori spent almost twenty years as a classroom teacher.  She completed her Master’s degree at National-Louis University and obtained a double major in English and Communications at Indiana University. In her free time, Lori loves to read, work out, and binge watch television shows. She is also an avid sports fan and can be found most evenings screaming at her television to cheer on her favorite teams.

Dean of Operations
Abbey Cullen
Dean of Students
Joseph Pancer

Joseph Pancer is excited to have been named the new Dean of Students for the 2013-2014 school year. Mr. Pancer comes to ChiArts from Washington High School on the far South side of Chicago where he served as Dean of Students for the past 4 years. Mr. Pancer will bring his experience from a large school setting into ChiArts to continue to build upon ChiArts’ Mission and Vision. He is very excited for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful learning community and will work extremely hard to ensure that all students will have a safe and positive learning environment at ChiArts.

Director of Development
Jessica Ramirez Welton

Jessica Ramirez Welton was thrilled to join the ChiArts team as Director of Development in February 2013. Prior to this position, Jessi worked in Development at Chicago Children’s Choir, where she primarily managed corporate and foundation partnerships for the Choir’s numerous programs. She has a Master’s Degree in Education from Pace University that she earned while completing a three-year commitment as a Teach for America teacher in Brooklyn, New York. During this time, Jessi taught first and third grades at Achievement First East New York Elementary Charter School, where she served as a Science and Social Studies department lead. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Chicago in Sociology.
jwelton@chiarts.org / 773-534-9729

Director of Finance
Karin Nangreave

Karin Nangreave, CPA, joined the ChiArts team in spring of 2015. She has ten years experience in nonprofit finance, with a Master’s in Accounting from University of Illinois-Chicago. Most recently, she was the Fiscal Director for Alternative Schools Network, a government funded agency that provides opportunities for re-enrolled high school students to obtain a GED or High School Diploma. She also has experience working in public accounting at Warady & Davis, LLP, where she was a nonprofit audit and tax team member. Karin also holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Double Bass Performance from Northwestern University, and serves as Treasurer for Dal Niente, and internationally acclaimed new music ensemble based in Chicago. She lives in Rogers Park.

ChiArts Department Heads

Creative Writing
Tina Boyer Brown

Tina Boyer Brown, Creative Writing Department Head and Arts Instructional Coach, was also a founding English teacher at The Chicago High School for the Arts. She co-wrote an article about arts education for The Journal of Education. Ms. Boyer Brown will be a lead teacher at the first Poetry Institute for Educators to be sponsored by the Poetry Foundation this summer. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing while teaching high school full-time. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies with a focus on Rhetoric and completed her teacher education coursework at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. She has been teaching in high schools throughout Chicago for more than ten years.

Dance
Sarah Ford Thompson

Originally from Georgetown, Kentucky, Ms. Ford began her dance training at age 8 at the Lexington Ballet under the direction of Karl Kaufman. She began performing soloist roles with the company at age 13. She went on to earn her B.F.A. in Dance from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. While studying at CCM, she fell in love with the Horton Technique and modern dance. After relocating to Chicago, Ms. Ford danced for 9 years as a company member with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and self-produced several dance concerts as Nucleus Dance Collective. Ms. Ford taught for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Ballet Chicago and served as Associate Artistic Director, Director of Outreach and Ballet and Modern instructor to Hyde Park School of Dance and Tyego Next Generation. She also taught outreach health and obesity prevention programs for the Department of Medicine at UIC and Northwestern University. Ms. Ford is a certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor, certified group fitness instructor and Clinical Exercise Specialist.

Music
Betsy Ko

Betsy Ko, flutist, has been an active performer and teacher in Chicago since moving to the area in 1991. She joined the faculty at Merit School of Music in 1994, where she teaches individuals and groups of all levels. Prior to accepting her current position at ChiArts, she was also a member of Merit’s administrative staff, serving as Director of Bridges: Partners in Music from 2006 to 2009. As a performer, Ms. Ko freelances in a wide variety of settings. Performance resume highlights include being a soloist on “Live from Studio One” on WFMT and at the National Flute Association’s annual convention. She can also be heard performing on the compact disc “Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano”, a collection of Jewish cabaret music released in 2002 by Cedille Records. Ms. Ko received her M.M. in Flute Performance from DePaul University, and she also holds Illinois teaching certification. Her undergraduate degree is in Pure Mathematics from Brown University. In addition to serving as ChiArts Music Department Head, Ms. Ko teaches Band, Freshman Woodwind Technique, and AP Music Theory.

Theatre
Rob Chambers

Rob Chambers has more than thirty years of professional theater experience as a director, actor, educator and administrator. At ChiArts, he has directed productions of “Sweet Charity,” “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992,” “Working,” “The Sparrow,” “Company,” and “Marvin’s Room.” He was the founding Artistic Director of Theatre Mir from 2007-10 and directed the company’s productions of “Beautiful City,” “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook,” and “The Prisoner’s Dilemma.” Prior to ChiArts, he taught acting, directing, playwrighting, and theatre history and literature courses at The Theatre School at DePaul University where he also guest directed productions of “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook,” “Experiment with an Air Pump,” and Aristophanes’ “Birds.” From 1999-2007, Mr. Chambers worked in the Education and Training Center division at The Second City, first as Director of the Chicago Training Center and then as President of Training and Education, International overseeing all of the company’s Training Centers in the United States and Canada. He grew these programs into what was arguably the largest actor training program in the world. At Second City, he also served as Producer of The Second City Detroit, Producer of “The Laugh Track” television program on A & E, instructor of Acting and Improvisation, director of numerous shows at Donny’s Skybox and with The Second City Educational Touring Company (EdCo), and a Board member of The Second City Foundation. He also worked on the design and implementation of the Comedy Studies Program, a joint program of Second City and Columbia College Chicago. Mr. Chambers has held staff positions at Hartford Stage Company, Goodman Theatre, League of Chicago Theatres, Melanie Stewart Dance and South Jersey Regional Theatre, and has served as a consultant, board member, and/or volunteer for numerous arts and service organizations such as the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Arts and Business Council of Chicago, Canadian Consulate General of Chicago, and Philadelphia Dance Alliance. As a director of non-musicals and musicals with an emphasis on new productions, he also worked with Common Ground Stage & Film in New York; Silk Road, Circle, Live Bait, City Lit, Bailiwick, Public Trust, Chicago Dramatists, Women’s Theatre Alliance, and Barat College in Chicago; New Britain Repertory and Mark Twain Masquers in Connecticut; and Society Hill Playhouse and PlayWorks Company in Philadelphia. Mr. Chambers began his theatre career as an actor and appeared in many productions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He earned a B.A. in Radio-TV-Film from Temple University and an M.F.A. in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Chambers is also an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Arts Administration Program at Rowan University.

Visual Arts
Whitney Bradshaw

Whitney Bradshaw is an artist, curator, teacher and social worker. She trained as an artist at Columbia College Chicago where she received an MFA in photography in 2001. While in school, Ms. Bradshaw taught at Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute in addition to working at the Museum of Contemporary Photography as the assistant registrar and curatorial assistant. She received three Weisman Scholarships and in 2001 was named one of the top 10 MFA Candidates and awarded the College Art Association Regional M.F.A Exhibition at Gallery 400 in the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2003, she had a solo exhibition at the International Museum of Surgical Science. Her photographs can be found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography as well as numerous private collections, and have been published in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Ms. Bradshaw was formerly the assistant curator of the renowned LaSalle Bank Photography Collection and the curator of photography for the Bank of America Collection. As a curator, she developed more than 40 exhibitions, which have been loaned to museums and cultural centers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. In addition, she has published a number of books and essays on the collection’s holdings and currently serves on the editorial board of the Columbia College Press. Prior to her graduate studies, Ms. Bradshaw attained a BA in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Eastern Illinois University. She has also worked, in various capacities, as a social worker across the city of Chicago. Her artwork can be viewed at www.whitneybradshaw.com.

ChiArts Support Staff

Production Manager & Technical Director
Mark Bracken
Clinical Counselor
Michael Bruner
Academic Counselor
Kaitlyn Curta

Kaitlyn Curta, LPC, NCC, is the Academic Counselor at ChiArts. She works with students, parents, and teachers to help support student academic growth, including the development of executive functioning and self-advocacy skills. She also serves as the service learning coach and oversees the freshman-sophomore advisory curriculum. Kaitlyn has experience working in high schools in rural, urban, and suburban settings, and has previously written school grants relating to college and career readiness. She received her B.A. from Bradley University and M.A. from Saint Xavier University. Outside of school, Kaitlyn likes to travel, ride her bike, and has a love/hate relationship with running.

Post-Secondary Counselor
Dr. Heather McCowen

Heather McCowen, Ph.D. is Post Secondary Counselor at ChiArts. Prior to this position, Dr. McCowen was the Asst Dean for Enrollment and Student Services for the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and served as Assoc. Dean for Admissions at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. Dr. McCowen holds a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance (with a concentration in Music Business) from Northwestern University, the Master of Music in Bassoon Performance from Southern Methodist University and the Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education (with a minor in Marketing) from the University of North Texas’s College of Education. An Alum of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, she has performed with the Dallas, Fort Worth, Shreveport, Indian Hill Symphonies (among others) including a recent solo performance with the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, where she is currently the principal bassoonist. Dr. McCowen lives in the South Loop with her husband Paul and son Theo. Her stepson Alex graduated recently from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.

Admissions Manager
Laura Marsh

Ms. Marsh is a recent graduate of the Second City Conservatory and Musical Improv Conservatory. As a professional performer, she has toured the country, worked abroad and performed with Disney Cruise Lines. She holds a BA in Theatre and English from Cumberland University in Tennessee.

Admissions Assistant
Rebecca Skrha

Becca is so happy to be part of “Team ChiArts” as the Admissions Assistant. She recently spent 15 months touring internationally while teaching, directing, and performing with Missoula Children’s Theatre. In addition to her work at ChiArts, Becca is a singer/actor and a teaching artist at Emerald City Theatre. She has a degree in Musical Theatre from Roosevelt University, and is so happy to have found a home in the ChiArts community.

External Partnerships and Programs Manager
Alia Walston

Born and raised in Chicago, Alia Walston’s career in the arts began during her studies in Art History at Oberlin College.  From 2009-2015, she held several positions at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, most recently as the Curatorial Administrative Coordinator working on a number of exhibitions and programs that include most recently Anne Collier, David Bowie Is, and Think First, Shoot Later: Photography from the MCA Collection. In this capacity, she was responsible for building external relationships with lenders, galleries, and other premier art institutions. As an advocate for both the arts and youth development, she sits on the board for VGA Gallery and volunteers with the Posse Foundation. In her spare time, Alia also manages promotion and booking for two bands.

Finance Clerk
Kim Flowers
Payroll & Benefits Coordinator
Dinasha Walker
Development Associate
Marlena Dzis

Marley Dzis has taught in the ChiArts music conservatory since graduating with a master’s in music from Northwestern University in 2010. She has taught music history, music theory, keyboard skills, choir, and private voice. While teaching, Ms. Dzis worked as both a development and marketing associate for the Chicago Sinfonietta and public relations and marketing associate for The Lira Ensemble. Marley has participated in Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Junior Council and has held executive leadership positions as an undergraduate student, most notably as the Student Government Association’s College of Music and Fine Arts President. Aside from holding an M.M. from Northwestern, Ms. Dzis holds a bachelor in music degree from Loyola University New Orleans, from which she graduated magna cum laude. She has also taught at New Trier High School, the Chicago Center School of Music, as well as in Columbia University’s Upward Bound program. Marley is also an active performer and has sung with the New Orleans Opera Chorus, The Lira Ensemble, American Chamber Opera (which includes her solo operatic debut as Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute), Chicago Choral Artists, Le Cantanti di Chicago, Paderewski Orchestra (which includes her solo debut with symphony orchestra), and has made solo appearances at the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria as well as the Polish Consulate and Polish Museum here in Chicago. She won her university’s concerto/aria competition vocal division and placed second in the Marcella Sembrich/Kochanska voice competition in 2014. Marley looks forward to combining her interests as ChiArts’ development associate!

Marketing Associate
Nick Matthews

Nick joined ChiArts in 2015 shortly after graduating from Indiana University with degrees in Telecommunications and History. He grew up in South Bend, Indiana and spent the frozen months of the year watching too much TV. Nick writes and performs comedy in his free time, and loves to tell stories. He has not been in a fist fight since Christmas 2001, when he threw the basketball in his brother’s face “just because.” Nick hopes to bring awareness of the mission of ChiArts to scholar-artists across Chicago and elsewhere.

Executive Assistant
Nichole Wallace

Born and raised just south of the city, Nichole’s love for art began fresh out of high school when she attended her first art history class at Joliet Junior College. She went on to receive her B.A in Art History from Saint Xavier University and an M.A in Museum and Exhibition Studies from The University of Illinois at Chicago. During her time as a graduate student, Nichole held the Community Engagement Associate position Gallery 400 and became involved in a number of arts-based internships throughout the city including a position at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Nichole is thrilled to be a part of the ChiArts community and to intertwine her passion for public programming and arts administration with her role as Executive Assistant.

Rental & Production Coordinator
Larissa Nikola-Lisa
Office Manager
Benjamin Harris
Attendance Manager
Antoinette Collier

ChiArts Academic Faculty

Integrated Arts

Brenda Torres-Wakai
Integrated Arts

English

Meg Arbeiter
Survey of Literature

A teacher who has achieved National Board Certification, Meg Arbeiter received a grant from Facing History and Ourselves to travel to South Africa in order to build relationships with educators, community leaders, and students to enrich a human rights unit on the legacy of apartheid. She collaborated with What Kids Can Do to develop and publish curriculum and student work (“Mentors That Matter”, 2007; “Fires in the Mind,” 2010). Ms. Arbeiter has always been passionate about the value of arts education and wrote “Seeking Inner Truth,” an article that was published in AIMprint (2008). She received a Master’s of Education from DePaul University, a Master’s of Industrial Relations from Loyola University Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has served as Department Chair of English and Instructional Leader for Chicago Public Schools.

Laurel Begick
American Literature

Laurel Begick hails from the mitten state of Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Michigan State University with a teaching minor in Psychology. This is her second year teaching American Literature at ChiArts. She came to the school as a maternity leave substitute for British Literature. When she isn’t teaching, Laurel enjoys reading, watching sitcoms, eating Thai food, and exploring neighborhoods in Chicago other than her beloved Hyde Park.

Dan Duffy
World Literature and Composition

Dan Duffy was born and raised in the small town of Morrison, Illinois. Upon graduating high school, he traveled and worked in several U.S. National Parks before settling on the coast of northern California for six years, where he received his bachelor’s degree in English from Humboldt State University. After graduating from Humboldt State, Dan moved to Chicago, where he has now lived for over ten years. Mr. Duffy is an avid reader, he writes whenever he can, and he enjoys traveling, playing music, and going to shows whenever possible. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College and a Master of Education from DePaul University, and he is proud to be a member of the ChiArts faculty.

Crystal G. Lennix
Strategic Reading, Survey of Literature

Crystal G. Lennix was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, IL. Crystal did her undergraduate research at Northwestern University, studied abroad at Oxford University, and pursued her Master’s at Harvard University while studying Africana Studies, English, and Teacher Education. A lover of furry animals, glitter, chocolate, and tea, she emphasizes the importance of positivity and dedication in English class. Her favorite authors include: the empowering Maya Angelou, the brooding Edgar Allen Poe, and the enlightening bell hooks. When not in school, Crystal enjoys performing spoken word, gardening, cooking, and laughing.

Lara LeVoy
World Literature
Filip Lewandowski
Honors British Literature + Freshman CP Survey of Literature

Filip Lewandowski was born in Krakow, Poland and immigrated to the U.S. to join his family when he was eight years old. He quickly fell in love with martial arts and became an avid legomaniac. After graduating from Whitney Young High School, Filip took his talents to southern Indiana (Greencastle, to be exact) where he double majored in English Literature and Communication at DePauw University. His previous teaching experience includes serving as an ESL instructor at a nonprofit and teaching English abroad in South Korea. He recently completed his M.Ed. in Secondary Education at Loyola Chicago. When he is not at school, Filip enjoys watching movies (occasionally really bad ones), reading, riding his motorcycle, experiencing other cultures, and cooking. Some of his goals include going back to school for an ESL endorsement, backpacking around South America, and watching Breaking Bad (no spoilers please). This is Filip’s first full year at ChiArts, but he is familiar with the school, the vision and the students after spending a majority of the previous year student teaching, as well as serving as a long term substitute. Filip is extremely excited to join the dedicated staff at ChiArts and to work with our fabulous students!

Omar Tabbara

Mr. Tabbara is in his third year at ChiArts and in his second as English department lead teacher.  A Chicago native, he has been teaching high school English in the area since 2007.  Mr. Tabbara earned his BA in the Teaching of Secondary English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and earned his master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago.  He is a doctoral candidate at Concordia where he is researching student mobile device use in schools.  When not at school, Mr. Tabbara enjoys spending time with friends and family, walking or running around Chicago, traveling, music, and reading.

Math

Shifra Adler
Integrated Math II + Pre-Calculus

Shifra Adler is a mathematics teacher with a humanities approach. She earned her BA in Philosophy at Cambridge University with a focus on Classical Greek thought. After a few years away from school to work and play Klezmer music around Chicago, she returned for a MS in Math Education at Northwestern University and did research into the use of primary sources the math classroom. As a teacher, she works to bring an analytic and historical flavor to her students’ math experience.

Kristen Hefferan
Algebra I

Kristen Hefferan graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a Bachelors in Science in Psychology. Afterwards she spent one year at Northern Illinois University in a Developmental Psychology graduate program researching adolescent development. She decided to set out on a new path and found math education as her new passion. As a result, she pursued and completed a Masters in Math Education at DePaul University with certification in Secondary Education. It is her eighth year of teaching, and she is excited to be part of the ChiArts faculty.

Sarah Riley
Numeracy & Integrated Math I

Sarah Riley is an energetic math teacher who is in her fourth year at ChiArts. Mrs. Riley was born and raised in the west suburbs of Chicago and loves the city. She graduated form Elmhurst College with a Bachelors of Science in Secondary Education/Mathematics. Her minor studies in Special Education & Psychology have influenced her teaching vision and style. Outside of teaching, Mrs. Riley enjoys reading, playing board games, and doing arts & crafts with her family.

Monica Saucedo

Monica Saucedo was born in Chicago and received her BA in Secondary Education Mathematics from Northeastern Illinois University. She recently received her Master’s Degree from Concordia University Chicago. She loves helping students realize their own potential and develop a deeper appreciation for math. Outside of teaching, Monica loves Spanish dance and is a company member and instructor with the Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater.

Gabriel Warner
Algebra II

Science

Paul Dorney
Chemistry

Mr. Paul Dorney graduated from Indiana University in 1992 with a BS in Science Education and a minor in Meteorology. He received his first masters degree from Nova Southeastern in 2005, and a second masters degree in Astronomy from Ball State University. Mr. Dorney currently works with NASA in its Astrobiology program and has been taking courses both in Hawaii and at Penn State. He is an avid soccer player since a young age when he played for FC Stuttgart and currently plays in CLASA. He also enjoys playing the piano and doing anything creative! This is Mr. Dorney’s 23rd year teaching, and his third year at ChiArts.

Social Studies

Roman Marchenko
US Government and Politics

After immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union as a child, Mr. Marchenko was raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago and attended Northwestern University, where he majored in political science and religion. He received a Master’s Degree in teaching from DePaul University and taught in elementary and junior high schools in Japan as well as a high school in the northern suburbs for eight years before coming to teach US Government and Politics at ChiArts. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, playing table tennis, and hanging out with his little four-year-old son.

Joseph Wagner
Human Geography

Love of learning and a passion for culture and history has driven Mr. Wagner since his childhood. Mr. Wagner and his wife are traveling addicts, who take every opportunity they can to go out and explore the world. He also served for several years overseas as a religious volunteer in Israel. These travel experiences are often channeled into his Human Geography classes. He takes great joy in watching his students learn and become empowered to use their knowledge to benefit themselves and society. Mr. Wagner earned both a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Education from Maryville University.

World Languages

Marcella Bonnan
Spanish II

Marcella Bonnan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in English Literature and also studied French and Comparative Literature as an undergraduate student. After graduating, Mrs. Bonnan taught English at three schools in Carcassonne, France for a year; it was her experience there that inspired her to teach languages. Upon her return from France, she began her graduate studies in Second Language Acquisition and Education with a focus on Spanish and French at Northern Arizona University. Prior to beginning her Master’s degree, she completed two Spanish immersion programs in Cuernavaca, Mexico and Flagstaff, Arizona, which both provided her with the opportunity to experience many places in Mexico through travel and study abroad. While completing her graduate degree, Mrs. Bonnan taught Navajo high school students Spanish and obtained grant funding to take a group of those students on a cultural exchange trip to explore many of the states of Mexico and their indigenous cultures. Mrs. Bonnan started her career teaching French and Spanish at a bilingual high school in Tucson, Arizona and then moved home and taught at Steinmetz Academic Centre in Chicago before coming to teach at ChiArts. While at ChiArts, she has taught French I for a year, followed by four years teaching Spanish II, and began to teach AP Spanish Literature & Culture last year.

Chris Cashman
Spanish + Spanish for Native Speakers + Choral Experience

This is Chris Cashman’s fourth year at ChiArts. He received his B.A. in TESOL at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and spent a summer teaching English in Mexico while living with a pastoral family there. After teaching ESL at Harold Washington College for a year and a half, he decided to pursue a long-time goal of being a Spanish teacher and studied Spanish Linguistics at UIC (M.A. degree) and taught Spanish there. He completed education coursework at Northeastern and taught for two years at Oak Park & River Forest High School.

Mr.Cashman has been immersed in the Hispanic community in Chicago by being involved in a Spanish-speaking church. He serves as a youth ministry leader and a few years ago started a band in the church which he directs. He has served as the accompanist for Senior Chorale, and this year will be teaching Chorale Experience. Mr.Cashman has a wife and two children and lives in Humboldt Park.

Kathryn Fahey
Spanish I + AP Spanish Language

Kathryn Fahey graduated with a B.A. in Teaching of Spanish from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her love of travel was sparked during her junior year when she studied in Madrid, Spain. After graduation she worked as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2005-2007 teaching English, Spanish, math and HIV/AIDS prevention in a rural town in western Honduras. Since then she has traveled to several countries in Latin America and Europe. Outside the classroom she enjoys traveling, running, yoga and reading. She will be entering her eighth year of teaching and is looking forward to her third year at ChiArts.

Leonard Hinds
French II + IV

At City High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Leonard Hinds found inspiration in reading the poetry of Baudelaire and Rimbaud in translation. At the University of Michigan, he decided to learn French intensively. He then went to France and worked on an organic farm. While earning his BA in Comparative Literature and Medieval and Renaissance Studies, he studied at the Université d’Aix-en-Provence for a year. After having done research in the National Library of France in Paris and having attended seminars at the Collège de France and the Université de Paris VII – Jussieu for a year, he received his Ph.D. in French Language and Literature from Emory University. He then taught French Language, Literature, and Culture at Emory, Indiana University, and Dominican University. He also taught French and Latin at the College of DuPage. He earned his M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership at UIC and was certified to teach French and Latin. He is very enthusiastic to coordinate the French and Italian Clubs, to organize fundraising for the trip to Spain and France in 2015, and to share his love for French and French-speaking cultures with students in French II and French IV at ChiArts.

Allison Kim
Spanish III & IV

Born in Glen Ellyn, IL, Allison Kim received her BA from Miami University (in Ohio) as a double major in Spanish and Strategic Communication. After studying abroad twice in Spain, she began to consider a career in education in order to share her love of languages, culture, and travel. She decided to pursue a Master’s in Teaching at Dominican University, and spent five years teaching at Harper High School in Chicago. She also served as a mentor teacher and the World Language Department Chair. Ms. Kim joined the ChiArts staff in 2013 and is excited to enter her third year here! Outside of teaching, she enjoys traveling, yoga, and (most of all) hanging out with her dog.

Myanna Klein
French I

Computer Education

Tsegaye Kleszczewski

Born in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Ms. Kleszczewski received her Bachelor of Education degree in Computer Science and Accounting from the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. Since migrating to Chicago in 2009, she earned her Illinois Professional Educator License with endorsements in high school Computer Science, Programming, Business, Marketing, and Computing, as well as middle school mathematics. In her spare time Ms. Kleszczewski enjoys spending time with family and friends, sleeping, taking photos, and volunteering. Ms. Kleszczewski is currently in her 13th year as a Computer Science Educator and her 5th year at ChiArts. She looks forward to meeting a new group of juniors and having a successful and rewarding year.

Physical Education, Health & Driver's Ed

Oscar Muñoz
Physical Education I + II

Mr. Muñoz is a fifth year teacher who earned his BSEd in Physical Education from Northern Illinois University. He is certified in grades K-12. He likes to stay active in his free time doing anything that is challenging. He will compete in his second Ironman triathlon this school year. He prioritizes health and fitness and tries to lead his students by example. He founded the fitness club at ChiArts and is always aiming to provide many opportunities for students to be fit. Mr. Muñoz also has a Spanish bilingual endorsement and is an ACE certified personal trainer.

James Salazar
Health + Physical Education I

James Salazar is a second year teacher out of Villa Park, IL. He graduated in December 2009 from Northern Illinois University with a BSEd in Physical Education, certified grades K-12, with a minor in secondary Health Education. After student teaching at York High School in Elmhurst, IL,  Mr. Salazar stayed on the staff to fulfill a full-time substitute position for the Spring semester. He will be teaching Health Education this year as well as assisting with the physical education classes.

Drew Steger
Physical Education II + Driver's Education

Mr. Steger graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Physical Education. He received his Driver Education and Safety endorsement from Northern Illinois University. This will be his fifth year of teaching. Mr. Steger previously taught two years at Downers Grove South High School and one year at York High School.

Specialized Services

Dr. Sunni Ali
Teacher

Dr. Ali has been teaching at the secondary, high school level for 15 years. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Administration from Roosevelt University, holds a type 75 Principal’s Certificate, Type 9 Social Science Certificate, and LBS1 Special Education Certificate Endorsement. Dr. Ali has taught a variety of college prep, honors and AP History classes. He is also an adjunct History Professor at Northeastern Illinois University.

Jeannie Chang
Teacher
Paxton Deahl
Teacher
Brent R. Hamlet
Special Education Paraprofessional

Brent is super excited to have landed his dream job with ChiArts as one of the new Paras. He has long understood that his life was meant for service. Most of his work experience has been primarily focused on both Civic Engagement and Youth Engagement and often grows fascinated with how the two intersect. Prior to working at ChiArts, he was a School Age Group Leader over a bunch of energetic, intelligent, and hilarious 3rd and and 4th graders he called the Lucky Charms. Before that he worked as a Community Organizer which kept him on the front lines championing issues such as: LGBT Equality, Minimum Wage, Immigration Reform, Women’s Rights, Rights for People of Color, Violence Prevention, Senior Citizen Rights and has even used this energy to have an up close and personal experience working on a few historic campaign victories such as President Barack Obama and most recently one of Brent’s mentors: Kim Foxx as State’s Attorney. In 2014, Brent landed a fellowship with Young People For which is a nationwide program of People For The American Way Foundation that provides young people with the tools to become fierce advocates for change in their communities. The organization was founded by the legendary Norman Lear who is known for his genius creations: The Jeffersons, Good Times, All In The Family, etc. Brent completed his post secondary education at Alcorn State University and Northeastern Illinois University in History and English.

With his knack for public speaking and writing, Brent not only wants to go to Law School as well as obtain other graduate degrees in the field of Education someday, that along with given his prior experiences and the many awesome relationships he’s also contemplating running for office one day himself but for right now, he has always immersed  himself in the struggle for liberty and justice for marginalized communities which include many children and families believing that we prepare them for living in a world full of people from different lifestyles, cultures, faiths and that it must be respected that offers safe space and healing. Brent has a twin sister and loves to have hilarious conversations with her and cites his parents, grandparents, big brother and high school History teacher: Dr. Chaun L. Johnson, as his personal heroes. In his free time Brent loves to eat, work out, read, and attend plays. He finds therapy in a nice hot shower, much needed rest, texting, video games and catching up on all his guilty pleasures which include Netflix, Shonda Land and Reality Television.

Lindora Kamalu
Teacher
Marley Mandelaro
Special Education Paraprofessional

Ms. Mandelaro is a native of Rochester, NY and has been living and performing in Chicago since 2014. She holds a degree in Theatre Performance from the University at Buffalo, completed the Comedy Studies program at the Second City and hopes to pursue an MSW in the near future. She can be seen in her living room watching youtube videos of soldiers coming home to their dogs.

Christine Wietasch
Teacher

Graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University, Ms. Wietasch immersed herself with the Cook County Public Defender, doing mitigation work. She attended Loyola University during this time to get her MSW as well. Soon she realized that she wanted to work with children in the educational setting and attended St. Xavier University. She earned her M. Ed. in Special Education and began her teaching career in the therapeutic setting, working with juvenile offenders. She loves art and thrives on creativity, and has found a home at ChiArts. In her spare time, Ms. Wietash likes to spend time with her fifteen year old daughter, devours books, and roots for Manchester United. When she’s not being a homebody, you’ll find her hopping on a plane in search of adventure!

ChiArts Arts Faculty

Creative Writing

Tina Boyer Brown
Department Head + Writer's Studio 1 + Arts Instructional Coach

Boyer Brown is the Creative Writing Department Head and a founding English teacher at The Chicago High School for the Arts. She is an alumna of the Summer Poetry Institute for Educators sponsored by Boston University and is a lead teacher for the Summer Poetry Institute for Educators in Chicago sponsored by the Poetry Foundation. Her work appears in The Journal of Education and RHINO Poetry and is forthcoming in POETRY Magazine.

Kenyatta Rogers
Department Admin. Assistant, Elements of Poetry, Writer's Studio II, Poetry Workshop

Kenyatta Rogers earned his MFA in Creative Writing Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. He is a Cave Canem fellow and was twice nominated for both Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes, his work has been previously published in or is forthcoming from Jubilat, Vinyl, Bat City Review, RHINO Poetry, The Volta among others. He is an Associate Editor with RHINO Poetry and currently serves on the Creative Writing Faculty at The Chicago High School for the Arts.

Virginia Bell
Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Bell is the author of the poetry collection From the Belly (Sibling Rivalry Press 2012).  She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry and a finalist for both the Lamar York Prize in Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by The Chattahoochee Review, and the Center for Women Writers’ Creative Nonfiction Contest. Her work is forthcoming in Hypertext and has appeared in Fifth Wednesday Journal, Cider Press Review, Gargoyle, Spoon River Poetry Review, Cloudbank, CALYX, Poet Lore, Pebble Lake ReviewWicked Alice, and other journals, as well as in the anthologies The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss, Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose and Photography, and A Writers’ Congress: Chicago Poets on Barack Obama’s Inauguration.  Bell is a Senior Editor with RHINO Poetry, and an adjunct professor of English at Loyola University Chicago and DePaul University’s School of Continuing and Professional Education. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and was the recipient of a Ragdale Foundation residency in 2015.

Cecilia Pinto
Elements of Creative Nonfiction

Cecilia Pinto has been a teaching artist in the City of Chicago for close to twenty years. She was an instructor as well as the former director of the Hands on Stanzas program for The Poetry Center of Chicago. She taught in Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development summer program for gifted students. She was also coordinator for the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Parks@Play program. She is adjunct faculty in the certificate-in-writing program at the Graham School for General Studies at the University of Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Esquire, Fence, Diagram, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. She was voted ‘One of 25 Writers to Watch for 2015’ by the Guild Literary Complex. She received her undergraduate degree from Knox College and an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute.

Ruben Quesada
Poetry II, Poetry Workshop

Ruben Quesada is the author of Next Extinct Mammal, translator of Luis Cernuda, Exiled from the Throne of Night, he has been founder and publisher of Codex Journal, Poetry Editor for The Cossack Review, Cobalt Review, and Luna Luna Magazine. He currently serves as a Senior Editor for Queen Mob’s Teahouse. He has been a fellow and Writer-in-Residence at Red Lodge Clay Center, Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Santa Fe Art Institute, and CantoMundo. He is the editor of the anthology, Latino Poetics, forthcoming from the University of New Mexico Press. He lives in Logan Square, Chicago.

David Welch
Literary Magazine

David Welch is the author of a chapbook, It Is Such a Good Thing To Be In Love with You (The Midwest Chapbook Series/Green Tower Press) and has published poems in journals including AGNIBoston Review, and Colorado Review. He’s received awards from the Academy of American Poets, The Poetry Society of America, and The University of Alabama, where he received his M.F.A. in 2008. A former editor at Another Chicago Magazine and Black Warrior Review, he teaches in the English Department at DePaul University where he is Coordinator of Literacy Outreach and Managing Editor of Big Shoulders Books. 

Jeremy T. Wilson
Responding to Art

Jeremy T. Wilson grew up in Georgia but has called Chicago home since 2001. He has served as a tutor and writing teacher for several Chicago organizations, including 826CHI, After School Matters, Loyola University, and Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies. Wilson’s fiction has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Curbside Splendor, Printers Row Journal, and Third Coast among other publications. He is the winner of the 2012 Nelson Algren Award for short fiction. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern. www.jeremytwilson.com

Rachel Wilson
Fiction II, Fiction Workshop

Rachel M. Wilson studied theater at Northwestern, and earned her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of Don’t Touch from HarperTeen, praised by The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books as “A vulnerable, moving, and often witty story about the terrible price of self-protection.” Wilson’s novelette, “The Game of Boys and Monsters” was published by HarperTeen Impulse, and she has penned nonfiction works for younger readers with Rourke Educational Media. Wilson has served as a teaching artist all over Chicago with After School Matters, Pegasus Players, The Actors Training Center, CAST, and Dream Big, among others. She served as an adjunct instructor and writing specialist at Harper College and co-directed the Literacy Department at STAR Education in LA. As a longtime company member with Barrel of Monkeys, Wilson leads creative writing workshops and adapts the writing of Chicago students for the stage, performing in schools and in the long-running show, That’s Weird, Grandma. www.rachelmwilsonbooks.com

Dance

Sarah Ford Thompson
Dance Department Head

Originally from Georgetown, Kentucky, Ms. Ford began her dance training at age 8 at the Lexington Ballet under the direction of Karl Kaufman. She went on to earn her B.F.A. in Dance from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. While studying at CCM, she trained with James Truitte and fell in love with the Horton Technique and modern dance. After relocating to Chicago, Ms. Ford danced for 9 years as a company member with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and self-produced several dance concerts as Nucleus Dance Collective. Currently, Ms. Ford serves as Associate Artistic Director to Hyde Park School of Dance, Tyego Dance Project and Tyego Next Generation. She is the director of Hyde Park School of Dance’s outreach program for the community and director of the modern dance department. She is delighted to be returning to ChiArts for a second year in the dance department. Ms. Ford is also a certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor, certified group fitness instructor and Clinical Exercise Specialist.

April C. Lewis
Department Admin. Assistant + Dance Injury & Prevention

Originally from the south side of Chicago, IL, Ms. Lewis’ dance education has carried her across the country. Joel Hall Dance Center Chicago, Ballethnic Atlanta, Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Ailey School New York, and many other dance institutions have contributed towards shaping her dance education, skills, and style. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Dance from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan), she returned to Chicago where she made guests appearances with several local dance companies. Ms. Lewis also performed and taught with Joel Hall Dancers: Dance is a Language, an outreach company serving communities throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Ms. Lewis has since earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a Stott Pilates trained instructor at the intermediate level on all apparatus. Ms. Lewis has shared her knowledge of dance and movement sciences with students throughout the city and its surrounding areas for over 10 years.

Emily Barrett
Accompanist
Barry Bennett
Accompanist

Barry Bennett is a drummer, bandleader, and a JEFF nominated maker of theatrical music and sound. By day Barry is a modern dance accompanist. He is an Associate Artist with 16th Street Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Moving Company, and Winifred Haun and Dancers. Other folks he has composed and designed for include: Cindy Brandle Dance, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, National Pastime, Asimina Chremos, The Goodman, Emerald City, Breakbone, and Writer’s Theatre. He has no interest in adulthood. He has released two solo albums under his own name, and five albums as part of the group Led MiLkBabY. Barry is the Artistic Director of The Impending Behavior Orchestra, and works with regional bands Black Dot & Grape Juice Plus, as well as Strangers & Saints and Planet Clarie. Listen/Learn/Connect: http://barrybennettsounds.com.

Zineb Chraibi
Graham Technique

A former dancer with the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Zineb Chraibi grew up in Casablanca, Morocco where she first started training. She later returned to her native city of Paris to study ballet, modern, and jazz, then to Montreal to pursue her training at Les ballets Jazz De Montreal. In 1991, she completed her BA in Dance Magna Cum Laude at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, PA while performing with the Playhouse Dance Theatre. Since moving to Chicago, Ms. Chraibi has performed with with the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Winifred Haun and Dancers as well as with various independent choreographers. She has served on the faculty of the Conservatory of Dance at Barat College, The Chicago Academy for The Arts, The Joel Hall Dance Center and taught at the Lou Conte Dance Studio. She is currently on the faculty at the Dance Center of Columbia College, the Joffrey Ballet and guest teaches in the U.S. and abroad.

Colin DeJong
Music for Dancers + Dance Accompanist

Colin DeJong is a company class pianist at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and accompanies classes at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, the Joffrey Academy of Dance, the Hyde Park School of Dance, and the Interlochen Arts Camp. He has sung with Music of the Baroque and taught music theory at the Merit School of Music. Mr. DeJong earned his MM in Music Theory and BM in Music Composition at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he was Associate Instructor in music theory and an accompanist for the university’s pre-college ballet program.

Brandon DiCriscio
Contemporary/Modern C, Musical Theatre Dance Fundamentals + Dance I & III

Mr. DiCriscio, of Wilmington, DE, received his initial training from Anne Marie and Sonny Leo. He then went on to pursue a B.A. in Dance at Point Park University. While in school, he apprenticed with River North Dance Chicago and then became a company member in 2007, dancing with the company for four seasons. Brandon has worked with choreographers including Robert Battle, Sidra Bell, Frank Chaves, Ron De Jesus, Shannon Gillen, Gustavo Ramierz Zanzano, Lauri Stallings, Doug Varone, Edgar Zendejas, and Sherry Zunker. While at Springboard Danse Montreal, he worked with BJM Danse Montreal under the direction of Louis Robitaille. Brandon also has apprenticed with Luna Negra Dance Theater. His true passion is for dance-making. In 2011, he won the Dance Chance Redux competition sponsored by DanceWorks Chicago and the Ruth Page Center for hte Arts. In 2012, he created two works on the Big Muddy Dance Company of St. Louis. Currently Brandon trains aspiring dance professional at ChiArts, as well as the North Shore School of Dance. Additional Chicago Concert dance commissions include Nomi Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Inside Chicago Dance, and LEVELdance. Brandon is currently Rehearsal Director, Choreographer, and collaborating artist at LEVELdance.

Maliwan Diemer
Ballet Technique F, Cardio Conditioning for Dancers + Professional Development II

Maliwan Diemer began her dance training in Columbus, Ohio at the age of three. She continued her studies with RAD certified teacher, Ng Siew Fong, while her family lived abroad. Ballet became her passion and by the age of thirteen she had been invited to study and perform with Indiana University’s Ballet Theater, where she trained with Violette Verdy, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, Jacques and Virginia Cesbron, Leslie Peck and Doricha Sales, along with notable guest choreographers and directors. A long time instructor for Indiana University’s Pre-College Ballet Program, Ms. Diemer also spent a year as Associate Instructor for the African American Dance Company under the direction of Iris Rosa. She is now on faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, serves as faculty member and Performance Project Director for Chicago Ballet Arts, teaches for Hubbard Street’s Youth Dance Program,0 and is a guest teacher for Empower Dance Company. Ms. Diemer has also worked with the University of Chicago’s UBallet and has taught company class for DanceWorks Chicago. She has been a part of the dance faculty at ChiArts since 2011. Ms. Diemer currently competes as a professional ballroom dancer, specializing in American Smooth. She has won Professional Rising Star and Open events in International and American styles. Ms. Diemer holds a M.A. in Arts Administration and a B.S.O.F. in Ballet and Political Science, magna cum laude, both from Indiana University.

Randall Fleer
Accompanist
Robert Garrett
Accompanist
Julia Hinojosa
Spanish Dance

Of Mexican-Puerto Rican descent, Julia Hinojosa is a native of Chicago and a Company Dancer/Rehearsal Assistant at Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. She began her Spanish dance studies with Dame Libby Komaiko in the fall of 2000 and has since studied with renowned teachers and choreographers including Irma Suarez Ruiz, Jorge Pérez, Ana González, Juan Mata, Ron de Jesus, Edo, Timo Lozano, Celia Fonta, Manolete, Vida Peral, Inmaculada Ortega, Miguel Cañas, Omayra Amaya, Carmela Greco, Raquel Gomez, Paloma Gomez and Christian Lozano. She has also studied Ballet and Modern dance with Ana Czajun, Rachel Burton, Jim Morrow, Ana Levin, and Dr. Venetia Stifler of the Northeastern Illinois University’s dance program, to which she received a Dance Talent scholarship. In May 2011, Julia graduated from Colombia College, Chicago with a Master’s Degree in Arts Management. In addition to her work as a dancer, Julia is currently working with the Ensemble Español as their Arts Education Program Coordinator and Associate Artistic Director of the Ensemble Español Youth Company. She teaches in several schools and studios throughout the Chicago land area and is an instructor with the NEIU Preparatory Dance program and on the faculty of the Ensemble Español’s community dance program and in-school residency program.

Mike Przygoda
Music for Dancers + Dance Accompanist

Mike Przygoda is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Chicago who has been at ChiArts since the very beginning. He has written music for film, dance, live theatre, orchestras, jazz and rock bands, commercials, and sometimes just for himself. He also produces records for local bands, has been the touring music director at Second City, and has a Joseph Jefferson Award for Artistic Specialization In Percussion.

Kim Sagami
Ballet

Kim Sagami’s professional background began with American Ballet Theater II, then joined the Joffrey Ballet under the directorship of Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino and completed her career with the National Tour of ‘Phantom of the Opera’. With the Joffrey Ballet for fourteen years, Ms. Sagami participated in many significant historical dance restorations, revivals, as well as newly commissioned works by a wide range of choreographers such as Ashton, Arpino, Cranko, Kudelka, King, Nijinsky, Nijinska, Massine, Tudor, Taylor, Dean, Moulton, Pucci, Kylian, Morris, Sander, Joffrey, and Balanchine. Presently, Ms. Sagami teaches at ChiArts, the Joffrey Academy, and Chicago Ballet Arts. During the summer months, she conducts master classes and teaches at Interlochen Center for the Arts and Fort Wayne Ballet. Ms. Sagami also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. She maintains time between both architecture and dance.

Kyle Seguin
Ballet Technique C

Kyle Seguin danced with the Alabama Ballet in Birmingham, Alabama, where he performed many principal roles including, Count Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Franz in Coppelia, El Capitan in George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, and the title roles in Dracula and Romeo and Juliet. Kyle also worked with Southern DanceWorks, where he danced works by Robert Battle and Teri Weksler. Kyle is a Stott-trained Pilates instructor, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and is currently adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches ballet technique, Pilates, Anatomy, and Kinesiology. Kyle is the founder/owner of One Hundred, a Pilates and dance studio in East Lakeview.

Ted Seymour
Pointe II + Ballet Technique B

Ted Seymour was born in Dallas, Texas where he trained at the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. He moved to Chicago to study with Dan Duell and Patricia Blair as a member of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. Ted later attended The School of American Ballet where he choreographed two ballets for the school and was invited by Peter Martins to create a new ballet for the New York Choreographic Institute. After leaving SAB, he joined Cedar Lake Contemporary dance Company. Ted joined Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2007 where he has danced featured roles in Balanchine’s Episodes, La Valse, and the Act II pas de deux from A Midsummer Night’s Dream among others.

Anna Shuba
Accompanist
Nicole Taylor Steward
Body Conditioning

Nicky Taylor Steward is a graduate of the Chicago Academy for the Arts. She continued her studies with Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater, Chicago Multi Cultural Dance Center, Deeply Rooted Productions and Lisa Johnson-Willingham. She has danced professionally with Bryant Ballet, Randy Duncan, The Joel Hall Dancers and Dallas Black Dance Theater. Ms. Chronopoulos has most recently danced with the Willingham Project, where she also served as rehearsal director and was a part of the creative process behind “A Bronzeville Nutcracker”. She was invited in January 2011 to become the Artistic Director of AileyCamp Chicago, where she worked as the Administrative Director for the past 7 years. In addition to her professional dance career, Ms. Taylor Steward is a graduate of The Chicago School of Massage Therapy, a certified Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® Instructor, as well as a Level I Gyrotonic® Pre Tainer. Having twice completed the McEntire Pilates Comprehensive Professional Track, she was invited by Trent McEntire to become a Master Teacher in the fall of 2009. It is this combined experience and love of teaching dance and movement that she brings to her students at ChiArts.

Teanna Zarro
Ballet Technique C

Teanna Zarro was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and received her early ballet training with Meredith Baylis. She continued her training with The Pennsylvania Ballet School, as well as studying on a full scholarship with The Joffrey Ballet School. At the age of seventeen Ms. Zarro moved to New York to join The Joffrey Ballet II, and also performed as an apprentice with The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. In 1999, Ms. Zarro was invited to join The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, under the direction of Gerald Arpino. With The Joffrey, Ms. Zarro performed ballets by renowned choreographers such as Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Leonard Massine, Agnes de Mille, Vaslav Nijinsky, Frederick Ashton and Martha Graham. Currently, Teanna is enjoying a career as freelance artist and ballet teacher. She has performed featured roles with Ballet New York, The Los Angeles Ballet, Civic Ballet of Chicago, The San Diego Opera, The Dallas Opera and The Lyric Opera of Chicago. Principal roles include: Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Medora in Le Corsaire, Swanilda in Coppelia and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.

Music

Betsy Ko
Music Department Head

Betsy Ko, flutist, has been an active performer and teacher in Chicago since moving to the area in 1991. She joined the faculty at Merit School of Music in 1994, where she teaches individuals and groups of all levels. Prior to accepting her current position at ChiArts, she was also a member of Merit’s administrative staff, serving as Director of Bridges: Partners in Music from 2006 to 2009. As a performer, Ms. Ko freelances in a wide variety of settings. Performance resume highlights include being a soloist on “Live from Studio One” on WFMT and at the National Flute Association’s annual convention. She can also be heard performing on the compact disc “Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano”, a collection of Jewish cabaret music released in 2002 by Cedille Records. Ms. Ko received her M.M. in Flute Performance from DePaul University, and she also holds Illinois teaching certification. Her undergraduate degree is in Pure Mathematics from Brown University. In addition to serving as ChiArts Music Department Head, Ms. Ko teaches Band, Freshman Woodwind Technique, and AP Music Theory.

Alicia Poot Kelly
Department Admin. Assistant + Flute Technique + Music Theory Fundamentals

Alicia Poot Kelly (“Poot” rhymes with “boat”) is an orchestral and chamber flutist in and around Chicago. Since 2009 she is a core member of “Palomar,” the performing arm of Chicago composer resource Access Contemporary Music (ACM). Other performance credits include work with the Chicago Composers’ Orchestra, the Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Southwest Michigan, and Northwest Indiana Symphonies, Whiting Park Festival Orchestra, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Lira Ensemble, New Millennium Orchestra, Highland Park Strings, The Irish Tenors, Bach and Beyond, Anaphora, International Chamber Artists, and Crossing Borders Music Collective. Mrs. Poot Kelly has also been a faculty member at Merit School of Music, and has worked with student composers through the Young Composers Program at Cleveland Institute of Music and ACM’s High School Composers Workshop. She has been a winner or finalist in several competitions hosted by organizations such as The National Flute Association, Tuesday Musical Society, Madison Are Flute Association, and has performed in festivals in Canada and Italy: Orford Arts Centre, Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, Rome Festival, and the Julius Baker Masterclasses. She has studied at DePaul University, The University of Akron (MM), Western Michigan University (BM), and The Catholic University of America. Mrs. Poot Kelly is married to ChiArts percussion faculty member Jeff Kelly.

Anthony Bruno
Jazz Coordinator + Jazz Combo A + Jazz Combo & Repertoire A + JCR B + Professional Development for Instrumentalists + Sax Tech

Anthony Bruno is a freelance saxophone, clarinet, and flute player who plays throughout the country. He earned a B.M. in Music Education from DePaul University in Chicago and played in the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Bob Lark. While at DePaul he was immersed in Chicago’s vast scene of working musicians and began playing at the top jazz clubs in Chicago: the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase, and Andy’s Jazz Club. He has played with famous names such as R. Kelly, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Wynton Marsalis, Gerald Clayton, Doc Severinsen, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Bobby Watson, Sean Jones, and Phil Woods. He has also performed in two Universal Pictures Movies, Public Enemies with Johny Depp and Diana Krall, and The Express, where you can hear him soloing during the dance scene at Syracuse University. Anthony has played at Riot Fest, North Coast Music Festival, Umbrella Music Festival, Jazz Education Network Conference, Festival Cubano, and the Fox Jazz Festival. He is also heavily involved in studio and session work and has his own home studio where he records and produces his own music. You can listen to his music at his Music Page. As Jazz Coordinator of ChiArts, Anthony works with the Thelonious Monk Institute, The Ravinia Jazz Scholars, and the Louis Armstrong Legacy Performance Celebration. Anthony is a member of JEN, the Jazz Education Network. Anthony is a Selmer Endorsing Artist.

 

Natalie Chami
Vocal Chair, Junior Choir

Natalie Chami is a composer, performer, and music educator. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music with an emphasis in Music Education from Northwestern University and concentrations in classical voice, opera performance, and choral conducting. She has studied with renowned professors Robert A. Harris, soprano Pamela Hinchman, and music educators/researchers Bennett Reimer and Maud Hickey. She has also acted as director of volunteer music outreach groups including the Music Learning Community (MLC) and UpBeat!, which organized free music lessons in the Evanston and Chicago area. In addition to her degree, Ms. Chami is also Illinois Teacher Certified for grades K-12 (Music). She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and was a finalist for the National Artist Teacher Fellowship in 2014.

Ms. Chami is an active member of Chicago’s experimental music scene. She records and performs solo music under the name TALsounds, in the trio Good Willsmith, and as half of the duo l’éternèbre, in addition to being the co-founder of the experimental digital collective Screaming Claws. Each of these projects presents a variation or complication of an overarching performative process: her vocal loops and analog synth tones drift and accumulate across long sessions of improvised music – generating an atmosphere of her own, or colluding with the processed electronics and textural sound collages of her collaborators. Ms. Chami has released solo music on labels including Chicago-based imprints Hausu Mountain and Notes and Bolts, in addition to contributing an album to cassette podcast Tabs Out’s tape subscription series in 2015. Forthcoming solo albums will appear on Hausu Mountain, and on Mexico City-based label Umor Rex. In addition to her regular local performances, Ms. Chami has performed across the US on four national tours with Good Willsmith to date, and was chosen with the trio as an artist in residence at Chicago’s High Concept Laboratories for the Fall/Winter 2012-13 season. Good Willsmith’s debut 2014 LP The Honeymoon Workbook on Umor Rex earned positive reviews from publications including Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, and AdHoc.fm, while TALsounds’s 2015 solo album All The Way saw praise from The Fader, The Quietus, and FACT Magazine. Good Willsmith’s second LP is due for release in February 2016 on Umor Rex.

Bill Chin
Senior Choir

Mr. Chin is Assistant Director the Chicago Symphony Chorus and is the founder and artistic director of The Oriana Singers, a six-voice a cappella group that has presented concerts nationally and internationally since 1979. He is Music Director of the Pro Musica Youth Chorus, with whom he has recorded two CDs for GIA Publications. In addition, Mr. Chin directs the Symphony Chorus for the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, is founder and director of the community chorus City Voices, and is the conductor of the Anshe Emet Synagogue Choir in Chicago. He is an active professional singer and performs with numerous Chicago-area choral ensembles. Mr. Chin has served on the adjunct faculty for both DePaul and Roosevelt Universities.

Julian Chin
Vocal Technique & Repertoire IV + Music Theory Fundamentals + Keyboard Skills

Julian Chin joined the ChiArts faculty in 2012. He has served as an instructor and accompanist for many organizations in the Chicago area, including After School Matters, Merit School of Music, and the Pro Musica Youth Chorus. He has worked as a a music director and pit musician for Light Opera Works, Porchlight Theater, and the Journeyman, among others, and is proud to have been the music director for all of ChiArts’ main stage musical productions. In addition to his work in theater and education, Julian can be seen performing around the city with bands in a wide variety of genres, from jazz to rock to hip hop and everything in between. In 2011, he toured the US and Europe with the avant-garde rock group Capillary Action, including performances at Willisau Jazz Festival and the Rumor Festival in Utrecht. Currently, he can be seen performing with rock/soul singer Elle Casazza, and as a guest artist with a wide variety of local acts. Julian is a native Chicagoan, and graduated in 2008 from Oberlin Conservatory with a B.M. in Piano Performance, with a focus in Jazz Studies.

Tom Clippert
Guitar Tech III & IV + Guitar Ensemble I & II + Chamber Music

Thomas Clippert savors the wide variety of music available for the guitar, from the early Renaissance to the present day. He frequently performs as both soloist and chamber musician throughout the Chicago area. He has appeared with a variety of ensembles including L’Opera Piccola, Heartland Voices, CUBE, Northwest Chicago String Quartet, Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble. In 2010, Tom became a founding member the Avanti Guitar Trio with friends and colleagues Julie Goldberg and Jeffrey Gabriel Silva. Tom is a graduate of the Yale School of Music where he studied with Benjamin Verdery and was awarded the Eliot Fisk Guitar Prize. Additional studies include Phillip de Fremery at the Mount Holyoke Guitar Master Class and Patrick Roux at the Domaine Forget Music and Dance Academy in Quebec. In addition to being a founding faculty member at ChiArts, Tom teaches at Oakton Community College, The Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Tom has been a featured artist at the Interlochen Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop.

John Corkill
Mallet Technique I + Percussion Ensemble + Music Theory + Professional Development

John Corkill is currently serving as the instructor of percussion studies at Loyola University, Merit School of Music, and Chicago High School for the Arts. He recently completed a fellowship as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago’s MusiCorps outreach program that provides musical master classes to inner city schools.As a chamber musician, John has held residencies at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Yellow Barn Festivals. He has also garnered awards at the Yale Chamber Music Competition and the Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble Competition. Originally trained as an orchestral musician, John is currently a member of the NOVUS Orchestra in New York City and frequently substitutes with orchestras throughout the Chicago area. He has also had the privilege of working with many of today’s leading orchestral conductors and composers such Marin Alsop, Peter Oundjian, Reinbert de Leeuw, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Oliver Knussen, and Krzysztof Penderecki. John received his Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University where he graduated cum laude and Master of Music Degree from the Yale University School of Music. His teachers include Robert van Sice, Michael Burritt, and James Ross.

Jason Ellis
Acoustic Bass Technique

Jason Ellis performs with Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Million Dollar Quartet, and a wide variety of classical and popular ensembles. His teaching experience includes the Jacobs School at Indiana University as well as Interlochen Center for the Arts. Jason has performed with the Memphis Symphony, the World Youth Symphony, and jazz luminaries such as Bobby Watson, James Williams, and Fareed Haque. His primary teachers are Lawrence Hurst, Bruce Bransby, John Clayton, and Rufus Reid. Jason endorses Lakland basses and Genz Benz amplifiers.

Dr. John Elmquist
Bass for the Guitarist + Chorale Accompaniment + Composition

John Elmquist received his DMA in composition from the University of Memphis, and his MM in piano performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. He serves on the faculties the Chicago High School of the Arts, the Merit School of Music and the People’s Music School. He is also the Music Director at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago and works in and around Chicago as a bass player. In 1999, Mr. Elmquist formed HardArt group as a vehicle for performing his music. This ad hoc ensemble, ranging in size from 3-20 players, has produced 14 recordings and currently performs at various venues in Chicago. The group has performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, the Green Mill and Northeastern Illinois University. In January 2011, Mr. Elmquist won first prize in the Rapido! composition competition held by the Atlanta Chamber players, receiving a commission to be performed in the 2011-12 seasons of the Atlanta Chamber Players, Boston Musica Viva and Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble. Also in 2011 he will hold a fellowship at Georgia’s Hambidge Creative Residency Program. hardartgroop.comhttp://hardartgroop.com/

Dhilanthi Fernando
Piano Ensemble + Piano Technique + Keyboard Skills

Ms. Fernando, a native of Sri Lanka, has lived in Chicago since 1981, except for a 7-year break when she temporarily “migrated” to New York and Switzerland. She holds piano performance diplomas from the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College of Music, a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the American Conservatory of Music, and a master’s degree in musicology from the University of Chicago. She is a certified teacher of English as a second language. Ms. Fernando is the founder/director of the Hyde Park-based women’s choir, Le Cantanti di Chicago. She is the current Chicago representative of the Trinity College of Music, London, an organization that administers music exams worldwide. She considers herself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach both piano and theory, as well as to have performed widely as a soloist and accompanist, in Sri Lanka, India, Chicago, New York and Switzerland, where she was on the piano faculty of the International School of Geneva. She also served on the music ministry team of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva. Prior to leaving Chicago in 2003, Ms. Fernando was on the faculty and administrative staff of the Merit School of Music, St. Therese Chinese Catholic School in Chicago, and was the Midwest representative for the Royal Schools of Music. In New York, she was the pianist for the United Nations choir, and briefly had her own music school, the Taprobane Academy of Music, in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. 2015-16 will be Ms. Fernando’s 5th year at ChiArts.

Terrance Gray

Terrance Malone Gray’s career as a violinist and conductor has garnered him national and international recognition. Born in Wisconsin, he began studying the violin with Elizabeth Grabow Mueller at the age of eight. Mr. Gray went on to study with Marc Zinger and Victor Aitay at DePaul University and later studied with Ruben Gonzalez. He served as concertmaster of the DePaul University Orchestra and as concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Mr. Gray later became a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Chicago Sinfonietta as well as embarking on the study of conducting.

In his post college years Mr. Gray became Music Director of the South Side Family Chamber Orchestra, and principal conductor of CYSO’s Concert Orchestra, which led to engagements at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago as well as the Rocky Ridge Music Festival in Colorado. In 1999 Mr. Gray became the principal conductor of the Illinois Chamber Symphony, and during 2002 season was Music Director/Conductor and Professor of Violin at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

In 2010 Mr. Gray had his premiere performance conducting Chicago Sinfonietta at Orchestra Hall and spent the year as cover conductor for the Joffrey Ballet under Scott Speck. Later that same year Mr. Gray was awarded a Conductor of the Year award from the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

As a chamber musician, he has performed as a member of the American Arts Trio, the Tower Ensemble and the EDU String Quartet. He also has performed with such jazz greats as Edward Wilkerson, Mwata Bowden, Ari Brown and Orbert Davis. Mr. Gray has performed at the Musikverein and Kozerthaus in Vienna, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Tonnehalle in Geneva and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His touring has also taken him to Switzerland, Germany, Spain, China and Japan.

Mr. Gray is currently a member of Chicago Sinfonietta and concertmaster of the New Black Repertory Ensemble; Associate Conductor of CYSO, and Music Director of the South Side Family Chamber Orchestra.

Jeff Kelly
Snare Technique

Jeff Kelly has played and studied drum set and percussion for more than two decades. He was fortunate to have received a large part of his training from the late Alan Dawson, who mentored such drum set luminaries as Tony Williams and Vinnie Colaiuta. He studied Music at Boston University, and went on to earn his Masters Degree in Jazz from The Berklee College of Music & Boston Conservatory. There he continued his drum set work under the fine tutelage of Ron Savage, and Jon Hazilla, who was a student of Max Roach’s. He studied Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music with Ed Uribe, Sa Davis, and Bobby Sanabria (Dizzy Gillespe) and West African drumming with Joe Galeota (maker of JAG drums). He traveled to Ghana for additional study with Emanuel, Rueben, and Victor Agbeli, sons of Master Drummer Godwin Agbeli. Jeff is an experienced, enthusiastic, and dedicated Drum Teacher and an active performer in genres including jazz, funk, folk, rock, r&b, pop, and “other.” In addition to his work as a Professional Musician, he is a Producer, a Recording Engineer with major label credits, a Songwriter whose works have gotten international airplay, and a Composer for clients such as Twentieth Century Fox Searchlight, MTV, Frito Lay, and Pepsi. Having worked on production teams with Grammy nominees and Oscar winners, he brings to his classroom an understanding of the type of professionalism it takes to succeed in the music industry. Jeff is a big fan of science, history, football, and loves to fish, having recently caught a ferociously bellicose 45-inch Northern Pike.

Gaye Klopack
Keyboard Skills + Vocal Jazz Techniques + Vocal Jazz Choir

Gaye Klopack has taught vocal music in the Chicago Public Schools for 19 years and has been a private voice teacher for over 20 years. She has taught choral methods and vocal music education at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and has been a featured lecturer for “Jazzin’ Up Chicago Public Schools” for the Chicago Institute of Jazz. In November of 2010, Ms. Klopack was featured on the front cover of Choral Director Magazine. She performs in classical music and as a jazz soloist in Chicago and has just released a CD of jazz standards, Small Day Tomorrow. Ms. Klopack has been a soloist with Ars Musica Chicago, a member of Grant Park Symphony Chorus, Chicago Choral Artists and has performed as a recitalist in the Chicago area. As a jazz vocalist, she has performed with Oscar Brown Jr., Clark Terry, Erwin Helfer and Johnny Frigo. She has been a member of the vocal jazz group Unified Jazz and Old Town Cool, directed by Mark Burnell. She holds memberships in Internos, is a multiple-time Teacher Grant Incentive Program recipient through the Oppenheimer Family Foundation for the Jazz Recording Project, and is on the board of the National Association for Teachers of Singing, Chicago Chapter where her private voice students have won places in Chicago and Regional Chapter Auditions. Among her students are Broadway performers, Jazz Singers, a YoungARTS winner, a GRAMMY-Baldwin Vocal Jazz winner, a Kiewit-Wang Scholarship Vocal Jazz awardee, student performers on WFMT’s Introductions, winners of the Bel Canto Foundation Opera Contest, Classical Singer Magazine and the Schmidt Youth Vocal Contest. In 2009 she was honored by the United States Department of Education as a “Distinguished Teacher” for mentoring a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Ms. Klopack has also served on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

Dr. Denise Knowlton
Vocal Technique I + Opera Workshop + Music Theory

Denise Knowlton received her DMA in vocal music performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, an Artist’s Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music and an MM from Bowling Green State University. She is a supplemental member of the Grant Park Festival Chorus and the Chicago Symphony Chorus and has been performing with regional opera and musical theater companies for over 10 years. Dr. Knowlton’s recent roles include Ulrica in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, with Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, the Mother in Petite Opera Productions’ presentation of Amahl and the Night Visitors and the Duchess in The Gondoliers for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Chicago. As a chorister she has sung with the Chicago Symphony Chorus in Orff’s Carmina Burana and most recently with Grant Park Festival Chorus. She was a Teaching Artist for Lyric Opera Kansas City for 3 seasons and was a regular member of the KC Lyric opera chorus for three seasons. This year, Denise will teach Vocal Techniques I, Opera Workshop and, private lessons.

Erica Lessie
Cello Technique, Chamber Music & Keyboard Skills II

Erica Lessie received her BM in cello performance from Indiana University, where she studied with Fritz Magg. At Florida State University she earned an MM in cello performance and completed coursework for a DMA. Currently, she is teaching at DePaul University Community Music Division, Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College, Chicago High School for the Arts and Whitney Young Magnet High School. Ms. Lessie is a freelance cellist in the Chicago area. She is a founding member of the cross-style string quartet Red Riding Hood and co-founder of Cherchez la Femme, an ensemble dedicated to performing works by women. She is also an auxiliary member of the rock band Tributosaurus.

Dr. Greta Pope
Professional Development for Vocalists

Greta Pope is an award winning, internationally acclaimed entertainer. She has delighted audiences throughout Europe, the Far East, South America and the Caribbean, as well as the United States and Canada. Ms. Pope has been touted one of the great voices of our time, as she performs with ease all styles from Jazz to Opera, and from Rhythm and Blues to Broadway. Greta’s performance credentials include singing in several languages. She has shared the stage with such well-known performers as Wynonna Judd, Dick Van Dyke, Stanley Clarke, Ramsey Lewis, Rich Little, Penn & Teller and many others. Greta’s voice is featured on commercials and voice-overs, including those for McDonald’s, Whirlpool, Allstate, Lexus, Este Lauder and others. Greta Pope is the daughter-in-law of legendary Duke Ellington vocalist Kay Davis. Through this relationship, Greta has developed a one-woman show entitled Duke Ellington…The Man…The Music…The Legend! This historic show features the music of the legendary American Composer. In this engaging performance, Greta shares funny and heartwarming anecdotes from Kay’s years with “The Duke.” Greta Pope holds a Bachelor of Music Degree, a Master of Music Degree and has studied at Indiana University with the brilliant Metropolitan Opera soprano Eileen Farrell. Greta Pope is a Ph.D. in Business Administration and is the author of self-help book Music, Money & You; Managing the Business, now available at leading booksellers nationwide. Music, Money & You has been chosen as the selected text for several school programs. Dr. Pope is a consultant to the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools where she has served as musical director and vocal coach. Dr. Pope is The Music Business Expert. She is a Motivational Speaker and travels the country with her Music, Money & You Motivational Tour, presenting Master Classes to groups on the topics of “Breaking into the Music Industry” and “It’s Your Life; Being All You Can Be!” Dr. Pope has been a featured speaker at the Annual Self Employment in the Arts Conference (SEA) and the Annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference (CEO). Greta Pope is a current/past member of several not-for-profit Boards around the Chicago area, including the Ronald McDonald House, WorldChicago, Illinois Children’s Home and Aid Society, Chicago Cabaret Professionals, Morgan Park Academy and Advocate Trinity Hospital. Greta Pope is also a member of Jack and Jill of America, The Girl Friends, Inc. and The Links, Incorporated, for which she serves as the Windy City Links Arts Chairman. Dr. Pope is involved with performing arts organizations and serves on the Board of Directors for the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Chicago local, where she is the Chairman of the Singers Committee. Greta is also a member of the Manhattan Association of Cabaret Artists, Cabaret West and the Chicago Cabaret Professionals. Greta Pope is married to Chicago businessman Edward L. Wimp. They have one son, Edward W. Wimp.

Patrick Rustandi
Upper String Technique II

Patrick Rustandi received his early music education in Romania and Belgium. He graduated from DePaul University, receiving his Masters of Music in violin and his Performer‘s Certificate with distinction in viola. Mr. Rustandi was a first place winner in the 4th Annual Leonard Sorkin Memorial Violin Competition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His performing experiences include concerts with the Theatre de la Monnaie Orchestra in Belgium (violin), the Elgin Symphony (viola), Northwest Indiana Symphony (violin), Concertante di Chicago (viola), Civic Orchestra of Chicago (principal violin), Chicago Opera Theater (violin) and Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra (associate concertmaster). In addition to performing as a freelance artist, Mr. Rustandi is also a faculty member at the Merit School of Music where he teaches over 30 private violin and viola students.

Devvora Papatheodorou Schreier
Piano Ensemble I + Piano Repertoire + Piano Technique I & III + Piano Accompaniment

Devvora Papatheodorou Schreier has an M.M. in Piano Performance from DePaul University, a B.M. in Piano Performance from Nikos Skalkotas Conservatory and a Degree in Harmony from Model Conservatory. During her Master’s degree, she studied piano with Mary Sauer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she studied piano technique and chamber music with Deborah Sobol of the Chicago Chamber Musicians for five years after the completion of her Master’s. She has had master classes with Mary Stolper, Yehuda Hanani, Jerry Grossman, William Cernota, and Christopher Costanza, among others. Ms. Papatheodorou has extensive experience in teaching piano, piano ensemble and theory. She has had training and certification in YAMAHA’s Clavinova lab and trained piano faculty in group class repertoire, class management and methodologies. Ms. Papatheodorou has coached one‐piano four‐hand and two‐piano ensembles, as well as mixed chamber groups for several years and currently teaches at Dominican University, where she also serves as Director of the Music Discipline. She has had several years of solo, chamber music and one-piano found-hands performing experience, as well as accompanying other instrumentalists and vocalists.

Dr. Brooks Truly
Percussion Ensemble + Mallet Technique I + Music Theory I

Dr. Brooks Truly holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, a Master of Music degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of South Alabama, all in the field of Percussion Performance. Currently, he teaches percussion and music theory at ChiArts, applied percussion at Morton College, music theory at The Merit School of Music, and private lessons on percussion and piano. Additionally, he performs with the World Fusion Group Callaloo, The Chicago Dance Institute, and is a freelance musician with various other groups in the Chicago area. Dr. Truly has taught percussion at several universities, secondary and primary schools, and has performed with dozens of orchestras and chamber groups as a section/principal percussionist, and as a featured soloist, as well as hundreds of drum set and theater performances throughout the Gulf Coast, South Florida, and Midwest areas. During this time, he has shared the stage with such artists as Lil Greenwood, Bobby Shew, Louis Bellson, Sherwood Mobley, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Jim Walker, Yo-Yo Ma, Michel Camilo, Samuel Ramey, Andrea Bocelli, Marcello Giordani, Ramsey Lewis, Paul Potts, Faith Hill, and Elvis Costello, to name a few, and has worked with such conductors/composers as Scott Speck, John Strickler, Aaron Jay Kernis, David LaMarche, Aaron Kula, Ramón Tebar, Steven Mercurio, Alexander Platt, James Judd, Helmuth Rilling, Sir Andrew Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Daniel Barenboim, Russell Peck, Placido Domingo, and Phillip Glass, among others, and was a percussionist in the world premiere of Mason Bates’ Music for Percussion and Orchestra. Dr. Truly is an endorsed performing artist with Remo Drumheads, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team in the Collegiate Educators Program. Recently he was invited to present his doctoral essay, The Afro-Cuban Abakuá as a performance/demonstration at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). For a full bio and more information, please visit www.brookstruly.com.

Theatre

Rob Chambers
Theatre Department Head

Rob Chambers has more than thirty years of professional theater experience as a director, actor, educator and administrator. At ChiArts, he has directed productions of “Sweet Charity,” “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992,” “Working,” “The Sparrow,” “Company,” and “Marvin’s Room.” He was the founding Artistic Director of Theatre Mir from 2007-10 and directed the company’s productions of “Beautiful City,” “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook,” and “The Prisoner’s Dilemma.” Prior to ChiArts, he taught acting, directing, playwrighting, and theatre history and literature courses at The Theatre School at DePaul University where he also guest directed productions of “The Arab-Israeli Cookbook,” “Experiment with an Air Pump,” and Aristophanes’ “Birds.” From 1999-2007, Mr. Chambers worked in the Education and Training Center division at The Second City, first as Director of the Chicago Training Center and then as President of Training and Education, International overseeing all of the company’s Training Centers in the United States and Canada. He grew these programs into what was arguably the largest actor training program in the world. At Second City, he also served as Producer of The Second City Detroit, Producer of “The Laugh Track” television program on A & E, instructor of Acting and Improvisation, director of numerous shows at Donny’s Skybox and with The Second City Educational Touring Company (EdCo), and a Board member of The Second City Foundation. He also worked on the design and implementation of the Comedy Studies Program, a joint program of Second City and Columbia College Chicago. Mr. Chambers has held staff positions at Hartford Stage Company, Goodman Theatre, League of Chicago Theatres, Melanie Stewart Dance and South Jersey Regional Theatre, and has served as a consultant, board member, and/or volunteer for numerous arts and service organizations such as the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Arts and Business Council of Chicago, Canadian Consulate General of Chicago, and Philadelphia Dance Alliance. As a director of non-musicals and musicals with an emphasis on new productions, he also worked with Common Ground Stage & Film in New York; Silk Road, Circle, Live Bait, City Lit, Bailiwick, Public Trust, Chicago Dramatists, Women’s Theatre Alliance, and Barat College in Chicago; New Britain Repertory and Mark Twain Masquers in Connecticut; and Society Hill Playhouse and PlayWorks Company in Philadelphia. Mr. Chambers began his theatre career as an actor and appeared in many productions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He earned a B.A. in Radio-TV-Film from Temple University and an M.F.A. in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Chambers is also an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Arts Administration Program at Rowan University.

Scott Westerman
Department Admin. Assistant, Acting, Voice & Speech + Senior Project

Scott Westerman is a Chicago-based actor, director, and teacher. As an actor, he has worked with numerous theatre companies in the Chicago area, including Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight, Apple Tree, Chicago Dramatists, Strawdog, Lifeline, Stage Left, A Crew of Patches, Mary Arrchie, Festival Theatre of Oak Park, Pegasis Players, Incognito, Borealis, Reverie Theatre Company, and The Artistic Home, with whom he is an ensemble member and managing director. Nationally, he has worked with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.; with Everyman Theatre in Baltimore; with the Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, South Carolina; and with the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. Scott has done several commercials, has appeared in the television show Prison Break on FOX, as well as a pilot for HBO’s The Washingtonienne, and was seen on the big screen getting beat up by Gerard Butler in the film Machine Gun Preacher. Scott’s directing career has run the gamut from professional productions to students’ devised works. Up next, he is directing a new play called Interrogation for The Artsitic Home. Scott received his MFA from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at the George Washington University.

David Blixt
Stage Combat
Natalie Chami
Vocal Chair, Junior Choir

Natalie Chami is a composer, performer, and music educator. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music with an emphasis in Music Education from Northwestern University and concentrations in classical voice, opera performance, and choral conducting. She has studied with renowned professors Robert A. Harris, soprano Pamela Hinchman, and music educators/researchers Bennett Reimer and Maud Hickey. She has also acted as director of volunteer music outreach groups including the Music Learning Community (MLC) and UpBeat!, which organized free music lessons in the Evanston and Chicago area. In addition to her degree, Ms. Chami is also Illinois Teacher Certified for grades K-12 (Music). She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and was a finalist for the National Artist Teacher Fellowship in 2014.

Ms. Chami is an active member of Chicago’s experimental music scene. She records and performs solo music under the name TALsounds, in the trio Good Willsmith, and as half of the duo l’éternèbre, in addition to being the co-founder of the experimental digital collective Screaming Claws. Each of these projects presents a variation or complication of an overarching performative process: her vocal loops and analog synth tones drift and accumulate across long sessions of improvised music – generating an atmosphere of her own, or colluding with the processed electronics and textural sound collages of her collaborators. Ms. Chami has released solo music on labels including Chicago-based imprints Hausu Mountain and Notes and Bolts, in addition to contributing an album to cassette podcast Tabs Out’s tape subscription series in 2015. Forthcoming solo albums will appear on Hausu Mountain, and on Mexico City-based label Umor Rex. In addition to her regular local performances, Ms. Chami has performed across the US on four national tours with Good Willsmith to date, and was chosen with the trio as an artist in residence at Chicago’s High Concept Laboratories for the Fall/Winter 2012-13 season. Good Willsmith’s debut 2014 LP The Honeymoon Workbook on Umor Rex earned positive reviews from publications including Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, and AdHoc.fm, while TALsounds’s 2015 solo album All The Way saw praise from The Fader, The Quietus, and FACT Magazine. Good Willsmith’s second LP is due for release in February 2016 on Umor Rex.

Julian Chin
Vocal Technique & Repertoire IV + Music Theory Fundamentals + Keyboard Skills

Julian Chin joined the ChiArts faculty in 2012. He has served as an instructor and accompanist for many organizations in the Chicago area, including After School Matters, Merit School of Music, and the Pro Musica Youth Chorus. He has worked as a a music director and pit musician for Light Opera Works, Porchlight Theater, and the Journeyman, among others, and is proud to have been the music director for all of ChiArts’ main stage musical productions. In addition to his work in theater and education, Julian can be seen performing around the city with bands in a wide variety of genres, from jazz to rock to hip hop and everything in between. In 2011, he toured the US and Europe with the avant-garde rock group Capillary Action, including performances at Willisau Jazz Festival and the Rumor Festival in Utrecht. Currently, he can be seen performing with rock/soul singer Elle Casazza, and as a guest artist with a wide variety of local acts. Julian is a native Chicagoan, and graduated in 2008 from Oberlin Conservatory with a B.M. in Piano Performance, with a focus in Jazz Studies.

Brandon DiCriscio
Contemporary/Modern C, Musical Theatre Dance Fundamentals + Dance I & III

Mr. DiCriscio, of Wilmington, DE, received his initial training from Anne Marie and Sonny Leo. He then went on to pursue a B.A. in Dance at Point Park University. While in school, he apprenticed with River North Dance Chicago and then became a company member in 2007, dancing with the company for four seasons. Brandon has worked with choreographers including Robert Battle, Sidra Bell, Frank Chaves, Ron De Jesus, Shannon Gillen, Gustavo Ramierz Zanzano, Lauri Stallings, Doug Varone, Edgar Zendejas, and Sherry Zunker. While at Springboard Danse Montreal, he worked with BJM Danse Montreal under the direction of Louis Robitaille. Brandon also has apprenticed with Luna Negra Dance Theater. His true passion is for dance-making. In 2011, he won the Dance Chance Redux competition sponsored by DanceWorks Chicago and the Ruth Page Center for hte Arts. In 2012, he created two works on the Big Muddy Dance Company of St. Louis. Currently Brandon trains aspiring dance professional at ChiArts, as well as the North Shore School of Dance. Additional Chicago Concert dance commissions include Nomi Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Inside Chicago Dance, and LEVELdance. Brandon is currently Rehearsal Director, Choreographer, and collaborating artist at LEVELdance.

Cecilie Keenan
Senior Project

Cecilie D. Keenan is a freelance director and producer active in the Chicago Theater Community for over 20 years. Cecilie has often worked with Teatro Vista where she was the Producing Director. Her most recent work with that company was El Nogalar at The Goodman Theatre. Other credits include: Beauty of the Father for Urban Theater Company, Another Part of the House and Dreamlandia for Teatro Vista and The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow for Collaboraction. Keenan has directed at many Chicago Theaters including: American Blues/ATC where she directed Tobacco Road, Living Out (co-pro with Teatro Vista), Toys in the Attic and Bus Stop; Bailiwick Repertory’s Our Town (a deaf/hearing/movement version), Nagasaki Dust, Shanghai Gesture, Dark of the Moon, Stones and Prometheus Bound/UnBound; and Apple Tree Theater where she directed Anna Christie, The Birthday Party and Private Eyes. This past summer Cecilie collaborated with Latinos Progresando to developing a play with 15 youth in Oaxaca Mexico on a MacArthur International Connections Grant. Recent work includes producing a community happening for the Rock Arts Series at Rockefeller Chapel and directing a full South-side community concert of In The Heights at Benito Juarez High School in collaboration with Chicago Shakespeare and Latinos Progresando. Currently Cecilie is workshopping and directing Learn to be a Latina by Enrique Urueta for Pride Plays.

Josie McCanse
Theatre History & Literature

Josie is a local teacher and improviser. After receiving her B.A. in Theatre from the University of Iowa, she moved to Chicago to pursue her love of acting. She is a graduate of IO and the Second City Conservatory program and an original member of the improv group HHDM, which can be seen performing in venues around Chicago. In 2007 she went back to school at Loyola University where she earned her Master’s of Education in Secondary Education with endorsements in English and Theatre. Ms. McCanse has taught English in public and private schools and is thrilled to be combining her love of theatre and literature at ChiArts.

Amber Page
Movement

Amber is a local actress and teacher. She has acted on camera and on stages in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison, from where she received a BA as Theatre Drama Major-Acting Specialist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After college, she moved to Los Angeles where she continued to hone her craft at The Actors Studio with Artistic Directors Martin Landau and Mark Rydell, and studied with Joanne Linville. Alongside being an actress, Amber is also a Certified Yoga Teacher and has held a Group Fitness Instructor National Certification. She also teaches privately at studios and fitness facilities. Amber enjoys challenging herself and growing as an artist and teacher by continuing to study. She had the great opportunity to travel to Italy and study The Body of Mask with Paola Coletto and is thrilled to study the smallest mask, the Red Nose, here in Chicago.

Rebecca Prescott

Chicago-based actress Rebecca Prescott was born and raised a rancher’s daughter in South Central Idaho. At a very young age she discovered she was a much better actress than a cowgirl, and saved up all her steer money to put herself through undergrad at Boise State University. At BSU she was torn between the acting and singing degrees, so she decided to just do both. Upon completion of her two degrees, she followed her brother out to Chicago, where he was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet. Shortly upon her Chicago arrival, she was accepted to the Chicago Conservatory of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and studied with International Opera Bass-Baritone star, Richard Stilwell. While at Roosevelt she met her husband, composer and saxophone player Amos Gillespie. Rebecca is a company member of Eclipse Theatre and VOX3, and an Artistic Associate with Chicago Opera Vanguard. Her regional credits include Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Theatre for Youth, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Eclipse Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Drury Lane, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and Utah Shakespeare Festival. For two holiday seasons she performed as Grandma Who in the National Broadway Tour of the musical How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Rebecca was in the cast of the I Love Lucy Show, a Broadway in Chicago production, where she performed Ethel, Dinah Beach, Gertie, and Fern, and understudied the role of Lucy. Winter of 2014 Rebecca will be performing Trixie Who/understudy Mama Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to be performed at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago and Madison Square Garden in New York City. Rebecca is a member of National Association of Teachers of Singing and Actors Equity Association.

Kathy Scambiatterra
Acting + Directing

Kathy Scambiatterra is Artistic Director and co-founder of The Artistic Home. Chicago acting credits include: Beaten, The American Plan, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Skin of Our Teeth, Look Homeward Angel, Juno and the Paycock, Natural Affection, Orpheus Descending (The Artistic Home); The Glass Menagerie, Nelson Algren Live, The Diary of Anne Frank (Steppenwolf); Broadway Bound (Drury Lane Oakbrook); A Flea in her Ear (Chicago Shakespeare); Romeo and Juliet (Goodman Theatre), among others. Regional credits: The Quick Change Room (Pacific Resident Theatre). TV/Film credits: Chicago PD, The Appointment, Draggage, Sin Collector, Into the Wake. She has received 4 leading role Jeff nominations for work in Sweet Bird of Youth, Natural Affection, Abundance, The School for Wives. As a director, she has helmed acclaimed, Jeff nominated and After Dark Award winning productions for The Artistic Home including: Waiting for Lefty, In the Boom Boom Room, Angel City, After the Fall, Street Scene, Peer Gynt, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Petrified Forest, Modigliani, Days to Come, The Touch of the Poet, The Night of the Iguana. Other directing credits: The Copperhead (City Lit) Angel City, Welcome to the Moon and Other Plays (LA Dramalogue Award), A Christmas Carol (Pacific Resident Theater (LA). Ms. Scambiatterra is the director of the actor training program at The Artistic Home Studio. In addition, she has taught at The Steppenwolf School, Columbia College, Center Theater’s The Training Center, Chicago, IL; Carolyn Berry Studio, The Pacific Resident Theatre LA, CA; Director’s Symposium, US Army, Heidelberg, Germany; Screen Training Ireland, Dublin, Ireland; and currently at The Chicago High School for the Arts.

Rachel Slavick
Acting I for Musical Theatre Majors + Professional Development for Acting Majors + Senior Project for Musical Theatre Majors

Rachel Slavick is a founding teacher in the theatre program at Chiarts. She is in her 19th year of teaching acting at The Theatre School of DePaul University. She has most recently been in The Time of Your Life at the Artistic Home and in Crumble: Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake at Jackalope Theatre where she is also a board member. She has an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School of DePaul University.

Jason Sperling
Acting

Jason Sperling works as an actor, singer, teacher, and director around Chicago. He is an original company member of Barrel of Monkeys, a children’s writing and theater program, and has worked with them for over eighteen years. Mr. Sperling created and taught the drama program at St. Juliana School, and directed there there for seven years; he has taught and directed with the CAST program in Oak Park for seven years; he was a poet/educator with the Chicago Park District/Chicago Humanities Festival’s Words@Play program; he has also taught or music directed for Beverly Arts Center, Raven Theatre, and Prolougue Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Sperling has taught, directed, and music directed with Elmhurst Chilcren’s Theatre, and directed the student-authored sketch comedy show at Chicago Improv Festival’s Summer Theatre Camp in 2009. He has worked as a performer at theatres including Marriott, Drury Lane, Apple Tree, Northlight, Theatre at the Center, Noble Fool, and Ravinia, and can often be seen in BOM’s hit show That’s Weird, Grandma, now in its fourteenth year at the Neo-Futurist Theatre.

Lindsey Thornton

Lindsey Barlag Thornton is a Chicago-based theatre director and performance artist whose recent work has been seen at Archer Ballroom, Copernicus Center, Defibrillator Gallery, Links Hall, Hyde Park Art Center, Mana Contemporary, Sullivan Galleries, Tritriangle Gallery, and Whitebox Studio Gallery. She has performed original work in abandoned storefronts in Chicago and the Divaldo Disk Theatre in Prague. She has taught for American Theatre Company, Auditorium Theatre, The School of The Art Institute, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Writers’ Theatre. She is currently a Teaching Artist for The Museum of Contemporary Art, directs the Education Program for The Gift Theatre, and is a member of Genesis Ensemble. Lindsey received her MFA in Performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Visual Arts

Whitney Bradshaw
Visual Arts Department Head + AP Photography Instructor

Whitney Bradshaw is an artist, curator, teacher and social worker. She trained as an artist at Columbia College Chicago where she received an MFA in photography in 2001. While in school, Ms. Bradshaw taught at Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute in addition to working at the Museum of Contemporary Photography as the assistant registrar and curatorial assistant. She received 3 Weisman Scholarships and in 2001 was named one of the top 10 MFA Candidates and awarded the College Art Association Regional M.F.A Exhibition at Gallery 400 in the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2003, she had a solo exhibition at the International Museum of Surgical Science. Her photographs can be found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography as well as numerous private collections, and have been published in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Ms. Bradshaw was formerly the assistant curator of the renowned LaSalle Bank Photography Collection and the curator of photography for the Bank of America Collection. As a curator, she developed more than 40 exhibitions, which have been loaned to museums and cultural centers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. In addition, she has published a number of books and essays on the collection’s holdings and currently serves on the editorial board of the Columbia College Press. Prior to her graduate studies, Ms. Bradshaw attained a BA in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Eastern Illinois University. She has also worked, in various capacities, as a social worker across the city of Chicago. Her artwork can be viewed at www.whitneybradshaw.com.

Kayce Bayer
Drawing by Design + Senior Seminar: Professional Development

Originally from North Florida, Kayce received her BA in Studio Art and a Minor in Music from Florida State University. She went on to earn her MFA from the Memphis College of Art in Tennessee before moving to Chicago in 2005. An interdisciplinary artist working in drawing, objects, video, and performance, she exhibits nationwide and performs locally. Her biggest project to date combined many of her creative interests to revisit the vaudevillian form. The Great Fire: A Traveling Truck Show toured Chicago neighborhoods in October 2012 with a moving truck as a pop-up stage, engaging audiences with a bit of Chicago history, storytelling, music, and other wackiness. Kayce has over 10 years experience as an arts and design educator working with students of all ages. She is the other half of musical project Jacques Hammer & Wanda Drug and curatorial/production experiment Good Stuff House.  www.kaycebayer.com

Rebecca Beachy
Contemporary Practice + 3D Material Studies

Born in Denver, Colorado, Rebecca Beachy is a recipient of both an MFA in Studio Arts and an MA in Art History from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has taught at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and tutored students in art history, English and the humanities through Supplemental Instruction, Educational Endeavors and the LINK scholarship program. She is a member of the small staff of 8550OHIO (formerly Harold Arts), and is actively collaborating towards the development of a new Chicago residency for German artists through Chicago Sister Cities & Hamburg’s Department of Culture. She recently exhibited work in Hamburg’s Altona as a December/January resident of the FRISE Künstlerhaus. In Chicago, her ephemeral sculptures, interventions and installations have been exhibited at Iceberg Projects, 6018NORTH, the Southside Hub of Production, and Gallery 400, among other spaces. Her written work has been published with literary journal Puerto del Sol and will be included in the Center for Humans & Nature’s upcoming City Creatures. As a volunteer specimen preparator and educator, Beachy also demonstrates taxidermy to the public at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for the Chicago Academy of Sciences, Department of Collections.
www.rebeccabeachy.com

Emily Belknap
Sculpture I + Sculpture II

Emily Belknap examines boundaries in landscape using an interdisciplinary approach that includes drawing, sculpture and installation. In her current body of work, Backyard Dilemmas, she explores the paradoxical nature of landscapes in transition. Belknap received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013, where she earned the Chazen Prize for an Outstanding MFA candidate. She received a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2007. This year Belknap was selected for the Mary Nohl Fellowship Award in Milwaukee. Her exhibition history includes solo exhibitions at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison in 2013, the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center in Brookfield in 2010 and the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend in 2009. Her upcoming Mary Nohl Fellowship exhibition will open in October of 2015. Belknap is passionate about encouraging students to examine their surroundings as they develop their sculptural skills. She has taught a broad range of subjects and levels from introductory sculpture to undergraduate senior interdisciplinary thesis. www.emilysbelknap.com

Megan Greene
AP Drawing + Painting

A native of Buffalo, NY, Megan Greene graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1998, receiving the Emil Jacques Gold Medal of Fine Art and the Mabel Mountain Award for Achievement in Painting. She earned an MFA degree from Rutgers University in 2002 and was awarded the Dean Bettenbender Memorial Performance Award. Prior to moving to Chicago, she lived in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Auckland, New Zealand on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. Ms. Greene is represented by Regards in Chicago and Kinz Tillou Fine Art in New York. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Art Center as well as numerous private collections. She is also the mother of twin toddler girls.

Chris Lin
Intro to Visual Communications + Sequential Arts

Chris Lin is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago, working in media including films, books, puppetry, music, and installation. Born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, he moved to British Columbia, Canada and received his BFA with honor from University of Victoria in 2005. After relocating to Chicago, Mr. Lin pursued an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and graduated in 2008. His exhibition history includes Contemporary Art Workshop, Eel Space, and OP Shop in Chicago, Verge Art Fair in New York, Deluge Contemporary Art and 50/50 Arts Collective in Victoria, BC, and Atlantic Centre for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL. His visual art and short stories has been published in Fiction At Work and Balliwik. Mr. Lin is the co-founder and collaborative director at Good Stuff House, a performance and publishing art collaborative, and the founding member and ukulele player of the folk-thrash-hop duo Hannis Pannis. www.cardboardish.com

Kera MacKenzie
Digital Media

Kera MacKenzie is an interdisciplinary artist who works with moving images, photography, sets, installations, performance and live broadcasts. She has screened and exhibited her work at spaces including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Edinburgh Artists’ Moving Image Festival, MassArt Film Society (Boston), Aurora Picture Show (Houston), High Desert Test Sites (New Mexico), The Luminary (St Louis) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Links Hall (all Chicago). She received her MFA in Moving Image from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. Additionally, Kera is a Founding Co-Director of ACRE TV, an artist-made livestreaming tele-vision network (ACRETV.org), an educator, and a recent recipient of a UIC/UofC/SAIC Consortium Fellowship for the trans-disciplinary program Field Trip / Field Notes / Field Guide. keramackenzie.com 

Devin Mawdsley
Drawing I + II

A son of several places, Devin Mawdsley is proud to call Chicago home. He is a painter and a drawer who received his B.A. at the College of William and Mary in Chinese and an M.F.A in Studio Painting from Indiana University. He has experience in the visual arts, including drawing and digital photography, as well as language instruction, both Chinese and English. His recent exhibition history includes the Momenta Art Gallery in New York, Buy Art Not People in Chicago, as well as the Department of State, Art in Embassies program (Suva). You can find his work at www.devinmawdsley.com/.

Eileen Mueller
Digital Photography I: A Revolution in Seeing + Photomechanics and the Contemporary Eye

Eileen Mueller studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and later received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been a resident of the Wassaic Project and ACRE and is the recipient of the Fred Endsley Memorial Fellowship, and the World Less Travelled Grant. Eileen has shown at Higher Pictures in New York, NY; The Pitch Project in Milwaukee, WI; OSU Urban Arts Space in Columbus, OH; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Elmhurst Art Museum, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Iceberg Projects, Roots and Culture Community Arts Center, Sullivan Galleries, Woman Made Gallery, David Weinberg Gallery and Johalla Projects in Chicago, IL. Her work is published in Phantoms In the Dirt and the The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics as well as the online publications, The Swap, SoftSpot, I Heart Photograph, MakeSpace, and Don & Dean. Eileen is one half of GURL DON’T BE DUMB which has curated shows and performances across the Midwest, produced collaborative work, and published the show catalogue WEIRD DUDE ENERGY. A former board member and co-founder of LATITUDE, Eileen has worked to activate Chicago’s artist community through organizing workshops, lectures, and panel discussions within a publicly accessible studio space. She has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with the Early College Program and has spent several summers assistant teaching at Ox-Bow School of Art.

Zoya Nudelman
Wearable Sculpture
Zoya has been trained by professional artist and fashion designer from Europe and has been able to bring all of her knowledge into her classroom. She grew up learning sewing as well as fine art, and experiencing in a designer couture atelier atmosphere since she was 6 years of age, and used to spend many hours drawing with her grandfather in his Gallery since she was 3 years old. Her experience and knowledge extends to Couture techniques, Tailoring, Garment construction and embellishment, Patternmaking, Corsetry, strong Drawing and Illustration skills, Graphic Design, 3D Design, and more…
Zoya holds a B.F.A in Fashion Design from Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and has earned her M.B.A from New York Institute of Technology in New York City. She has also been certified in various apparel industry used software, including Gerber-Accumark 8.2 computer production systems and Web PDM, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign.
Zoya has been teaching college level classes in both International Academy of Design and Technology and Illinois Institute of Art- Merchandise Mart for 12+ years.
After working for the Fashion design industry, Zoya has gained great skills with Fashion, Graphic, and Visual design, during which she had a great experience publishing two textbooks in June 2009 and March 2016, called “The Art of Couture Sewing”, Published by Fairchild/Bloomsbury Publishing company. Zoya wrote and illustrated both textbook editions using Adobe creative Suite Software.
Zoya is currently running her own ready-to-wear clothing line, ZoyaModa Atelier, on her own website www.zoyamoda.com, a Custom Couture Bridal/Eveningwear line in Skokie, IL as well as teaching art for nonprofit organizations in the suburbs to Children ages 9-13.
Zoya is very excited to teach at the Chicago High School for the Arts this year and is looking forward meeting all of you.
Celeste Rapone
Painting I + Drawing III

Celeste Rapone was born and raised in Wayne, NJ. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2007, where she majored in Illustration. Following her BFA, Rapone attended a residency in Painting and Mixed Media at The School of Visual Arts in New York and was awarded an artist fellowship with Phoenix Gallery, also in New York. After practicing as an artist in Brooklyn for two years, Rapone moved to Chicago where she received her MFA and was the recipient of the 2013 Teaching Fellowship from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of Painting and Drawing. Rapone’s work has been exhibited in New York, Chicago, Michigan, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. She has spoken on panels at both The School of Visual Arts and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Make/Shift Magazine, CMYK, and The Georgia Review. www.celesterapone.com

Alison Rigell
Art History I & II, Junior Professional Development
Alison Rigell is an artist, educator, and permanent student of all creative realms including, but not limited to: visual and performing arts, as well as the art of leadership.  While she practices across many disciplines of art such as drawing, painting, performance, and sculpture, she also enjoys exploring all the ways in which creativity is present and can be used on a moment by moment basis of everyday life. Beyond her personal practice, Alison is a devout believer in the power of art beyond traditional expression and practice: regarding it highly as an ever expanding opportunity to address and resolve complex issues our world continues to face. She received the majority of her formal education at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, earning a BFA in Art Education and then completing her second BFA in New Media at Queensland College of Art in Brisbane, Australia.  She has since continued her education in and outside the classroom, teaching art to students from a range of diverse backgrounds and ages, through both traditional public teaching positions as well as community based arts initiatives.  Alison is privileged to continue her growth as an artist and educator at ChiArts, and is honored to become a contributing member of such an important and gifted community. 
Jen Thomas
Typography + AP Visual Communications

Jen Thomas is a book artist, printmaker, educator, and designer based in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her B.F.A. in Communication Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University; studied printmaking at Plymouth University, Exeter, England; and completed her M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. In 2012, Jen founded werkspace, a gallery and community arts space dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging artists, while also offering workshops focusing on book arts and printmaking. Jen’s artist’s books, sculptural board games, prints, and drawings have been exhibited nationally and have won several awards. Her work is also part of the permanent collection at the Kinsey Institute. When she’s not drawing medical anomalies, wigs, or taxidermied animals, Jen also teaches undergraduate courses within DePaul University’s School of Design. www.jenthomasprojects.com

Gabriel Villa
The Mural: History and Practice
Gabriel Villa is a Chicago-based professional artist. Villa received his MFA from the University of Delaware and a BFA from Corpus Christi State University-Texas A& M and is an art alumni of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, MN. Gabriel Villa was born and raised in the El Paso, Texas/ Ciudad Juarez border region and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, where he is an active member of the arts community. Villa’s teaching practices include Visiting Artist at American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Professor of foundation Painting and Drawing at Triton College, River Grove, IL, Visiting Artist at Stateville Prison, Crest Hill IL, with the Prison Neighborhood & Prison Arts Project and most recently, Foundation Drawing at Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL. Villa served from 2005-2011 as Director of Yollocalli Arts Reach, a youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art and also served as Co-Curator for the Chicago Kraft Foods Gallery from 2006-2011 at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Villa has had numerous national exhibitions and has received numerous awards.