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. In 2013, Ochoa was named to the 2013 class of Crain’s 40 Under 40 – a list of Chicagoans who have reached professional success and made significant civic contributions before turning 40.

Principal
Michael Wang

Originally from Wilmette, IL, Mr. Wang received a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from DePaul University and his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Northeastern Illinois University. He is an Executive Scholar of Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern 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 currently, Principal. In his current leadership role, Mr. Wang is focused on fostering an inclusive school culture within ChiArts’ highly diverse student body. He works to provide equal access to resources in the arts and academics in order to engender diversity in arts community of Chicago.

Assistant Principal
Abbey Cullen

Abbey Cullen came to ChiArts in 2012 in the schools’ fourth year. As the World History teacher, she fell in love with the mission and vision of the school; diversifying the arts in Chicago while broadening the horizons of students. In 2016, Abbey shifted her focus and joined the administration team as the Dean of Operations. There she played an active role in ensuring the day-to-day needs to the school and the ChiArts family were met.

Abbey has developed a creative and flexible approach to finding solutions given ChiArts’ unique focus on educating the scholar-artist while also operating as a successful non-profit. Now as the Assistant Principal, Abbey has expanded her work at ChiArts into curriculum development and working to advance the school’s mission and vision.

Ms. Cullen is a proud stepmom to Harrison and lives with her husband Brett in the Horner Park neighborhood.

Managing Director for Arts Conservatories
Tina Boyer Brown

Tina Boyer Brown, Managing Director of the Arts Conservatories and Creative Writing Department Head was also a founding English teacher at The Chicago High School for the Arts. She is a lead teacher at the Summer Poetry Teachers’ Institute sponsored by the Poetry Foundation. Her work has appeared in RHINO, POETRY Magazine, The Journal of Education, and Jet Fuel Review. Working on behalf of ChiArts scholar-artists brings her great joy.

Dean of Culture & Climate
Joseph Pancer

Mr. Pancer enters his 7th year at ChiArts and 14th year in education. Mr. Pancer serves the ChiArts community as the Dean of Culture and Climate. Mr. Pancer’s main responsibilities is to ensure all students are given the right to a safe and productive learning environment. Mr. Pancer’s role also includes a support role to teachers and staff to implement strategies to focus on positive classroom environments.

Mr. Pancer’s other roles in ChiArts include Activities Director. Mr. Pancer’s role is to coordinate student activities such as school dances and senior activities. Mr. Pancer also serves at the schools liaison with the Illinois High School Association. Mr. Pancer was elected to a 3 year term to the Illinois High School Association Activities Director Advisory Committee representing all Public and Private Schools located in the City of Chicago. Prior to ChiArts, Mr. Pancer spent 7 years at George Washington High School on the far southeast side of Chicago where he served as Dean of Students, Athletic Director, and Head Varsity Baseball Coach. Mr. Pancer currently resides in New Lenox, IL with his wife Christina, and 3 boys Nick, Jack and Sonny.

Director of Development & Marketing
Johnny Merrifield

Johnny Merrifield joined ChiArts in July of 2019 to lead fundraising efforts for the school’s five arts conservatories. Prior to ChiArts he was the Director of Development at Marwen, an after-school visual arts nonprofit for Chicago youth from under-resourced communities and schools. He has also held fundraising positions at Adler Planetarium and Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Johnny participated in the Development Leadership Consortium’s 2018-2019 Management Fellows Program, an advanced fellowship that prepares new generations of non-profit managers to lead their organizations with confidence and knowledge. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Drury University in his hometown of Springfield, MO.

Human Resources Manager
Dwayne Jervier

Mr. Jervier leads and oversees the formal human resource functions, and assists with all employee relations to support a safe and effective workplace. He brings over 20 years of Human Resources experience, with direct experience working within non-profit organizations.

As a life-long Chicagoan, Mr. Jervier holds a degree in Human Resources Management from DePaul University, and brings work experiences from Maryville AcademyCarole Robertson Center for Learning and more recently, at Heartland Alliance.

As Mr. Jervier joined our support staff in July of 2018, he looks forward to his first academic year and being a part of the ChiArts community.

ChiArts Department Heads

Creative Writing
Tina Boyer Brown

Tina Boyer Brown, Managing Director of the Arts Conservatories and Creative Writing Department Head was also a founding English teacher at The Chicago High School for the Arts. She is a lead teacher at the Summer Poetry Teachers’ Institute sponsored by the Poetry Foundation. Her work has appeared in RHINO, POETRY Magazine, The Journal of Education, and Jet Fuel Review. Working on behalf of ChiArts scholar-artists brings her great joy.

Dance
Greer A. Reed

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Greer Reed successfully completed the Certificate and Merit scholarship programs at The Ailey School and shortly after became a member of the outstanding Ailey II. The bulk of Ms. Reed’s professional career took place with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, retiring after 10 years in 2002 with the “Josie” Award for Outstanding Female Artist. Her dedication to young people is a driving force to enrich, empower and inspire. In the classroom, Ms. Reed focuses on dance curricula on academic quality, technique, and cultural experiences that reveal the transparency of thoughtfulness, refinement, and holistic teaching. As the 2018-2019 academic year began, The Chicago High School for the Arts welcomed Ms. Reed’s transformational teaching into their dance studios and classrooms as Chair of the Dance Department taking the Dance Conservatory scholar-artists to new heights. She is excited and committed to developing the next generation of incredible dancers who will redefine movement and honor past traditions while creating a heritage that reflects their voice. Along with her busy schedule, Greer recently received her B.A. from LaRoche University in Pittsburgh, PA with a 4.0 grade point average and the President’s Leadership and Scholarship Award, the highest honor La Roche University can bestow on a graduate for exemplary academic and leadership skills who best exemplify the values and characteristics of the college’s mission. She is currently a Master’s candidate at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT.

Music
Betsy Ko

Betsy Ko is a founding faculty member of ChiArts, Chicago’s first public arts high school. Ms. Ko has served as Music Department Head since the school opened its doors in the fall of 2009. She also serves as the ChiArts Band Director and has overseen growth in that program from 9 students in 2009 to a current enrollment of 46.  In March 2018, the ChiArts Wind Ensemble under Ms. Ko’s direction was honored to receive the honor of “Best in Day” designation at the Illinois High School Association’s Organizational Contest. Ms. Ko is also a long time flute faculty member at Merit School of Music where she teaches individuals and groups of all levels. She has coached the Purple Hippopotami Flute Quartet for many years and saw that group earn 3rd place in the prestigious M-Prize Chamber Music competition (Junior Winds division) in May 2018.  A native of New York, Ms. Ko has been an active performer in the Chicago area since arriving here in 1991. She currently performs with the Northshore Concert Band. Ms. Ko received her M.M. in flute performance from DePaul University where she studied with Mary Stolper. Her undergraduate degree was in pure mathematics from Brown University.  She additionally holds Illinois Type 10 certification in music.

Theatre
Annie Calhoun

Annie Calhoun believes in the power of equity in arts education. The passion behind this belief led her to become a founding ChiArts teacher in 2009 and then took her all the way to South Los Angeles where she co-founded Kipp Scholar Academy and created their theatre program. She holds a teaching degree from Taylor University in Theatre and English and is IL certified for grades 6-12. Ms. Calhoun also received her MFA in Acting from DePaul’s Theatre School. She returned to Chicago two years ago after five years of teaching, directing and performing in Los Angeles. In LA, Ms. Calhoun taught and directed at the Professional (Adlerimprov), Collegiate (USC), and High School (LA County HS for the Arts) levels; she also founded an inner city theatre program in South LA (Kipp Scholar). She is a novelist and playwright whose pieces have been performed on stages all over Los Angeles and an actor whose work ranges from theater and film, to improv and stand up comedy.

A Chicago native, she is rooted in the values of play, ensemble, rigor and creative new work. While in Chicago she completed iO’s training and then performed there regularly, as well as The Annoyance. One of her favorite experiences was being included as the first improvised play Steppenwolf allowed in their Garage space with a group she founded called ALMOST ATLANTA. The breadth and depth of her expertise in education and theatre offer a vast array of skills from classroom management and facilitating diversity, equity & inclusion to building ensemble among students and staff, and measuring student growth outcomes.

Visual Arts
Whitney Bradshaw

Whitney Bradshaw is an artist, educator, curator, social worker and mother. Bradshaw has been the chair of the visual art conservatory at ChiArts (the Chicago High School for the Arts) since fall of 2012. She 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 throughout the United States, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. While curating for 13 years, Bradshaw was an adjunct professor in the photography department at Columbia College Chicago where she taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in theory and criticism, color photography, senior seminar, etc. She received an MFA in photography in 2001. In 2003, she had a solo exhibition of her Scar series at the International Museum of Surgical Science. After focusing many years on parenting, curating, and teaching Bradshaw is back in the studio and deeply invested in her work. In the Fall of 2018 Bradshaw had a solo exhibition of her Outcry project at the DePaul Art Museum September-December. This exhibition was written about in the Chicago Tribune and her process for this social practice project was illustrated on a segment for public TV, WTTW’s, Chicago Tonight. She also had a solo show of Outcry at the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University and at The Show Gallery in the Twin Cities, both in 2019. The latter was reviewed on MPR’s Art Hounds and in the Star Tribune. Her photographs can be found in the permanent collections of the DePaul Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago, several private collectors, and have been published and/or reviewed in the New York Times, Columbia College’s 6×6 series, Time Out New York, New City, the MCA Chicago catalog for The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music 1965-Now, and the Chicago Tribune. In 1991 Bradshaw attained a BA in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Eastern Illinois, a program she spearheaded and was one of the first to graduate with a degree in. She also worked in various capacities as a social worker across the city of Chicago. In 2001 she was named one of the top 10 MFA candidates and awarded the College Art Association Regional MFA Exhibition at UIC’s Gallery 400. Some of her artwork can be viewed at whitneybradshaw.com

ChiArts Support Staff

Production Manager & Technical Director
Mark J Bracken Jr.
Clinical Counselor
Michael Bruner

Since 2000 Michael Bruner, LCPC has served teens, adults, children, and families as a therapist, counselor, teacher, advisor, and advocate.  Michael earned his master’s degree in Human Services and Counseling from DePaul University and has worked as a counselor for both public and independent schools and community mental health agencies, including Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center and The Latin School of Chicago. Michael specializes in working with teens and young adults and in creating a safe space for them to manage the natural challenges of adolescence as they move towards independence. He facilitates a process by which clients are able to build their resiliency skills, enabling them, long-term, to survive the inevitable challenges life will continue to throw at them.

Case Manager
Cary James

Cary James has been teaching in CPS for 10 years, and it is his third year Case Managing at ChiArts. He feels extraordinarily lucky to work with ChiArts’ passionate, determined students and faculty.

Academic Counselor
Kaitlyn Tobin

Kaitlyn Tobin, LPC, NCC, is excited to begin her 5th year as the Academic Counselor at ChiArts. She works with scholar-artists, parents, and teachers to help support student academic growth, including the development of executive functioning and self-advocacy skills. Committed to the school mission, she’s also proud to be a part of the Climate/SEL Team and Anti-Racism Working Group. Kaitlyn has 10 years of counseling 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. in Elementary Education (English) from Bradley University and M.A. in School Counseling from Saint Xavier University. Outside of school, Kaitlyn likes to stay active, travel, and as of May, hang out with her baby son, Luke!

Post Secondary Adviser
Dr. Heather V McCowen

Heather McCowen, Ph.D. is Post Secondary Adviser at ChiArts. Prior to this position, Dr. McCowen was the Assistant Dean for Enrollment and Student Services for the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and served as Associate 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 symphonic orchestras of Dallas, Fort Worth, Shreveport, Oak Park and River Forest (among others). Currently she performs with the Northshore Concert Band, the top adult wind ensemble in the country. Dr. McCowen lives in the South Loop with her husband Paul and her 7 year old son, Theo. Her stepson Alex will begin his MFA in Museum Studies at the School of the Art Institute in the fall of 2019.

Admissions Manager
Laura Marsh

Laura has been with ChiArts since May 2012. She is a performer, choreographer, improviser, comedy writer, and playwright. A Tennessee native, Laura is a graduate of Cumberland University with a BFA in English and Theatre. She has also studied improv and comedy at Second City and ComedySportz while in Chicago. Laura is proud to be a part of ChiArts, helping to recruit a new batch of young artists each year.

Staff Accountant
Kim Flowers
Development Manager
Megan Sauve

Megan Sauve joins the ChiArts team with an expertise in fundraising and special events management. She has been working for non-profit arts organizations since 2009.  Most recently Megan was the Individual Giving Manager at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, where she was also the Facilitator for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group.  Prior to that, Megan was the Marketing and Development Manager at the Performance Garage in Philadelphia.  She has also worked at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Women’s Studio Workshop, and the South Side Community Art Center.

Megan holds a BFA in Ceramics from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MA in Arts Leadership from Syracuse University. Megan is dedicated to providing access to arts experiences and supporting artists of all ages and experience levels.

Marketing & Communications Manager
Natasha Mraz

Natasha Mraz is a communications specialist, creative director, graphic designer, and arts education advocate. Natasha graduated from Marquette University with a bachelors in Public Relations, and double minor in Digital Media and Spanish (Language, Literature and Culture concentration). At Marquette, Natasha co-founded the university’s first all-female a cappella group, acted with Marquette Theatre, and was the Event Coordinator for the two biggest conferences in the Diederich College of Communication, the Public Relations + Social Media Summit and the Digital Advertising Summit.

Natasha has worked in non-profit marketing and development departments at First Stage Children’s Theater in Milwaukee, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the headquarters of Alquería in Bogotá, Colombia. In 2017, Natasha moved to Chicago to work at ChiArts, thrilled to combine her passions of public education and the arts, along with her skillset in communications. Everyday she feels grateful and honored to work alongside the amazing scholar-artists and staff at ChiArts.

Development Assistant
Jo Marie Sison

Jo Marie Sison joins the ChiArts Development team in 2018 after working as development support for three years at Chicago Sinfonietta, a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion-based orchestra. Besides fundraising and specifically grant writing in support of a more diverse and inclusive American arts community, Jo is also a professional freelance violinist of over 10 years. She has worked and toured in full-time and part-time capacities as an orchestral violinist in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, and the United States, working under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Trevor Pinnock, and Diego Matheuz. Jo currently plays with a number of Chicagoland and regional orchestras both as concertmaster and section violinist, and has recently started experimenting with electronic looping and improvisation while touring the Midwest with a Celtic folk-rock group.

Office Manager
Drew Baxter
Originally from Sandwich, Illinois, Drew Baxter holds a Bachelor of Music from Lawrence University. It is during his studies at LU that Drew first learned of gamelan, and was later afforded the opportunity to study the music in Bali. When not performing with the Chicago Balinese Gamelan, he may be seen playing with local ensembles on the bass trombone.
Attendance Manager
Antoinette Collier

Antoinette Collier has been working at ChiArts for seven years. She loves working with the scholar-artists and families in the ChiArts main office. Antoinette is known for her compassion, communication skills, and says “The kids have my heart. I Iove to see them thrive and become the beautiful young adults that they are.”

Recruitment Coordinator
Bianca Corral

Bianca is a Chicago native stemming from the Humboldt Park neighborhood. She is proud to be a part of the ChiArts family in the many capacities the institution has given her the privilege to be. She believes in the power that these students develop within the walls of the school and take out into the world. Bianca graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a theater degree and is amazed that she gets to use it to share the gift of ChiArts with students around the city.

Rental & Production Coordinator
Sarah Goodman

Sarah Goodman is a multipotentialite with a BA in Communication, Media, & Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. A Chicago native for 20 years, Sarah enjoys taking advantage of the rich culture and live music scene in the city. You can find her where art and music meet technology. Musical theatre geek, lover of brass instruments, audiophile, studio & live sound engineer, producer, musician, and vocalist.

Administrative Assistant
Megan Burback

Megan Burback is from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She moved to Chicago five years ago to attend Columbia College Chicago where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in music with a concentration in vocal performance and a minor in music business. Before working at ChiArts, Megan worked at Sherwood Community Music School and is currently pursuing her ‘Music Together’ certificate. Outside of ChiArts, Megan is a member of multiple bands and performs around Chicago as a solo vocalist. Dance, music, and art have been a huge part of her life.

Executive Assistant
Paul Cook

Paul is proud to be filling several roles on the ChiArts staff: serving as Assistant to Executive & Artistic Director, José Ochoa; supporting the Development team; and serving as staff liaison for the Board of Directors. Paul is an active member of the Chicago storefront theatre scene, a proud supporter of Equity in the Arts, and a Chicago native.

Library & Media Assistant
Jalyn Greene
Operations Assistant
Nicholas Fron

ChiArts Academic Faculty

Integrated Arts

Brenda Torres-Wakai
Integrated Arts

Brenda Torres-Wakai (Figueroa), started her journey at ChiArts in 2016. Known for her curatorial work and organization of cultural events, is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Puerto Rico working mainly between performance art, installations and public art. Brenda has been devoted since 2008, almost exclusively to her art teaching practice, raising her two daughters and branding her designs through Freedom Effect. Ms. Torres-Wakai attended the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (MFA) and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2002.

English

Meg Arbeiter
Honors English IV

Meg Arbeiter is a National Board Certified English teacher and founding faculty member at The Chicago High School for the Arts. In 2007 she received Facing History and Ourselves’ Margot Stern Strom Award to travel to South Africa and again in 2012 to publish a book of essays written by ChiArts Scholar-Artists in her English I class. As an adjunct facilitator for Facing History and Ourselves and long-time member of their Chicago Teacher Leadership Team, she facilitates sessions at DePaul University and recently this past summer with Golden Apple Scholars. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Education from DePaul University, and a Master of Industrial Relations from Loyola University Chicago.

Dan Duffy
English III: American Literature & 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 and writer, and he enjoys traveling, cooking, playing music, and going to museums and 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.

Andrew Holt Van Herik
English I College Prep

Mr. Van Herik is here because being part of a school trying to bring equity to the arts and streets of Chicago matters to him. He was raised by teachers and environmentalists who taught him to care about changing broken systems so every person can thrive. He believes skillful writing, reading, and speaking gives people the power to change their worlds for the better. He wants every freshman leaving his class to have the tools to care for themselves and their worlds. Also, he enjoys reading young adult literature and fantasy/sci-fi, watching comedy and drama on the TV, playing board games with friends, dismantling the patriarchy and racism, listening to rap, writing poetry, rooting out injustice in labor, and playing lots of video games.

Filip Lewandowski
English I College Prep + English I Honors + AP Language and Composition

Filip Lewandowski was born in Krakow, Poland and immigrated to the U.S. to join his family when he was eight years old. He fell in love with martial arts after watching Bloodsport, starring Jean Claude Van Damme, and quickly took up Tae Kwon Do, then Kyokushin Karate. He also became an avid Legomaniac and Ninja Turtles enthusiast. After graduating from Whitney Young High School, Filip double majored in English Literature and Communication at DePauw University. His previous teaching experience includes serving as an ESL instructor at a nonprofit (Polish American Association), as well as, teaching English abroad in South Korea. He completed his M.Ed. in Secondary Education at Loyola Chicago in 2014 and student taught at ChiArts, where has been a full-time English teacher for 5 years. When he is not at school, Filip enjoys watching movies (occasionally really bad ones), watching Forensic Files with Jennifer (his partner and better half), walking around with his dog, experiencing other cultures, and cooking. Some of his goals include going back to school to get a PhD (…maybe), backpacking around South America, and moving somewhere on/near a beach. Filip is super excited to teach the stellar tiny humans in his English I College Prep, English I Honors, and AP Language and Composition classes.

Dara Miller
English II + English II Honors

A native of Western Kentucky, Dara Miller earned her B.A. in English Education at Murray State University. After completing a teaching internship in Corozal, Belize, she taught for two years in her home state, where she also worked as a Writing Fellow and Instructional Technology Teacher Leader for the Kentucky Writing Project. In 2011, she relocated from Kentucky to Chicago, Illinois and joined the ChiArts faculty for the first time and earned her MA in English Literature at DePaul University. In her first four years at ChiArts, she served as a Grade Level Team Leader and English Department lead teacher and worked to develop and pilot a collaborative project between Facing History & Ourselves and Harvard University’s Project Zero. She has been a member of Facing History’s Chicago Teacher Leadership team for the past six years, and has also worked as an educational consultant. In her spare time, she loves reading, exploring Chicago’s beautiful park spaces, and helping her four-year-old daughter practice violin. She is ecstatic to return to ChiArts this year as a member of the English Department and the 10th Grade Level Team Leader!

Dr. Omar Tabbara
AP English Language + Composition English IV

Dr. Tabbara has been teaching English at ChiArts since 2014, and this is his 13th year as a high school English teacher. A life-long Chicagoan, Dr. Tabbara is a Lane Tech grad (where he coaches wrestling), has a BA from UIC, and an MA and PhD from Concordia, Chicago. He lives in Logan Square with his wife and son, and in his spare time enjoys sports, travel, movies, music, and good food.

Math

Shifra Adler
AP Calculus & Honors Pre-Calculus

This is Shifra Adler’s 8th year teaching mathematics at ChiArts. She earned her BA in Philosophy at Cambridge University with a focus on Classical Greek thought. After a few years away from school to play Klezmer music and sell advertising space, 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. She is currently enrolled in a PBL certification program through the University of Pennsylvania.

Allison Filbin
Integrated Math 3 Honors + College Prep

Allison is originally from Elmwood Park, Illinois and graduated with a mathematics degree from the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign. After Allison received a teaching certificate from Northeastern Illinois University, she headed west to Bakersfield, California where Allison taught math and coached basketball for the last four years. Allison is excited to be back in Chicago and honored to be a part of ChiArts.

Seamus Foley

Born in Chicago but raised in the northwest suburbs, Mr. Foley attended the University of Illinois where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He held a few different sales jobs and finance operations roles before deciding that corporate for-profit industry was not for him. Upon realization that his true passion was working with kids and sharing knowledge, he went back to school to become a certified high school math teacher. In just his second year teaching, Mr. Foley is happy to have found a life-long career path, and in ChiArts, a school that so closely aligns with his values and passions. In addition to teaching, Mr. Foley is also an avid Chicago Bulls fan (and season ticket holder) and enjoys discovering and listening to many genres of music.

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.

Karoly Keefe
Integrated Math II Honors + Integrated Math III College Prep

Karoly Keefe is a passionate math teacher who strives to eliminate mathematics education as a barrier for any student they comes across. Karoly studied at DePaul University with a Secondary Education Mathematics degree. During that time, Karoly discovered a love for finding the mystical and intriguing qualities of mathematics and hopes to influence students to do the same! If you get the time, ask about their tattoos…as they can be a lesson in and of themselves! Karoly feels honored to be at ChiArts and is excited to engage with such a beautiful and authentic community–students and staff!

Andrew Paluck
Math II

Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Marquette University. After spending several years working in logistics, Andrew decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in education. In 2018, he graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics. In his free time, Andrew enjoys playing video games, and training for triathlons.

Science

Jennifer Archis
Chemistry + Biology

Jennifer Archis graduated from Elon University with a BS, double-majoring in Biology alongside Environmental & Ecological Science. She is originally from the rural mountains of North Carolina and moved to Chicago in 2018. Her love of science and learning led her to become a teacher; now, she is in her fourth year teaching, and first year at ChiArts. In her free time, she can be found reading, cooking, sleeping, and exploring. She is ecstatic to be at ChiArts and to be a part of such a beautiful community!

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 fourth year at ChiArts.

Dr. Ross Hyman
Honors Physics + College Prep Physics

Dr. Ross Hyman graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio with a B.S. in physics. He received a Ph.D in physics from Indiana University, Bloomington where he was awarded the William Koss Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research. He has a Masters in Science Education from University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Hyman Is a NSF Noyce Teaching Fellow and has participated in Northwestern University’s Research Experience for Teachers program doing material science research in the summer.

John Jarosz

Mr. John Jarosz graduated from Creighton University with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science as well as a co-major in secondary education. After graduating, he taught Biology and Earth and Space Science in Omaha, Nebraska. During his two years at Omaha Bryan, he was involved in coaching, sponsoring clubs, and receiving the Outstanding Educator Award. He enjoys biking, playing lacrosse and going on adventures throughout the city.

Social Studies

Zainub Fiaz
AP World History
Roman D. Marchenko
AP US Government and Politics + US Government and Economics

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

Since he was a kid, Mr. Wagner knew he wanted to be a teacher. As a member of the ChiArts staff since 2013, he has gotten to live that dream. He takes great joy in watching his students learn and become empowered to use their knowledge to benefit themselves and society. When not at school, Mr. Wagner enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He earned both a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Education from Maryville University.

Bethany Wassink
World History

Bethany is from southern Illinois but has been living in Chicago on and off for the past 5 years. She has bachelors degrees in both Business Administration and History from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She loves to travel with her husband, read, eat yummy food, play volleyball, meet new people and she’s pretty sure that her dog is the best. She also has a firm belief that an education in the social sciences helps individuals reflect on their own identity and have a greater understanding of the shared human experience, especially those identities and experiences that many history courses overlook. Most students describe her as “so nice” and this description really makes her happy.

World Languages

Guadalupe Leon
Spanish
Chris Cashman
Spanish + Spanish for Native Speakers + Choral Experience

This is Chris Cashman’s fifth 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.

Leonard Hinds
French II + IV

While studying Latin and Creative Writing 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, hitchhiked, and found a job 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, Dominican University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also taught French to adults and French and Latin to children and teenagers in the Youth Enrichment Program at the College of DuPage for seven years. Wanting to share his passion for French with young people, he earned his M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership at UIC and was certified to teach French and Latin. After having filled in for a French teacher on sabbatical at Oak Park River Forest High School, he came to share his love for French and French-speaking cultures with students at ChiArts.

Kevin Ramirez
French II & Spanish I

Kevin Ramirez graduated with his B.A. in K-12 World Language Education from DePaul University. Ever since his youth, he has loved the world, its people, its cultures, and the ability to tear down the walls of language barriers and ignorance towards other people and their respective cultures. During the summers of his university education, he taught English and Spanish primarily in Mexico in impoverished areas at local recreation centers or schoolhouses. In his final two years as a university student, Kevin taught French at the Lycée Français de Chicago in a complete immersion program that focused on bridging the youth together through language and cultures of the Francophone world. Since then he regularly travels and stays on a path for knowledge of the world — he has just returned from a tour of Europe spanning across 18 different cities. Outside the classroom he enjoys creating music on his guitar, being involved with fitness at the local gyms, playing sports, and reading about anything from language-related items to topics in the scientific community. He will be entering his fifth year of teaching and is looking forward to his second year at ChiArts!

Computer Science

Tsegaye Kleszczewski
Computer Science

Mrs. Kleszczewski (affectionately known as Ms. K throughout the building) is enjoying her 9th year with the ChiArts family and celebrating her sweet 16th year of teaching. She is originally from Jamaica where she completed her Bachelor of Education in Computer Science and also taught Information Technology for six years before migrating to Chicago in 2009. In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her husband, friends, family and her dogs.

Physical Education, Health & Driver's Ed

Oscar Muñoz
Physical Education I + II

Mr. Muñoz is a 9th year teacher who earned his BSEd in Physical Education from Northern Illinois University. He is certified in grades K-12. He recently earned his Masters degree in learning and technology from Wester Governors University. Staying very active in his free time doing anything that is challenging. He has completed two ironman triathlons and has competed in over 120 different races. 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 10th 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. He will be teaching 4 sections of Health Education and 1 section of Physical Education this year, as well as supporting his sophomore advisees. Mr. Salazar enjoys staying active and working on his two hobbies: cars and sneakers.

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
Senior DL: "Thriving and Striving"

Dr. Ali is entering his 22nd year as a high school teacher (12 years as a Social Science Instructor and 10 years as a Diverse Learner Instructor). Ali has taught a variety of college prep, honors, and AP History classes. Ali 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. He also is an Associate Professor at Northeastern Illinois University within the Education Inquiry and Curriculum Studies Department (EICS).

Cheryl Graff
Diverse Learning

Ms. Graff is in her third year of teaching. She was born and raised in Highland Park, Illinois. She earned her Bachelors in Special Education and her Masters degree in Special Education and educational technology from Michigan State University (Go Green!). Ms. Graff is recognized throughout Chicago as a professional and respected Mezzo Soprano opera singer. Last year, she had the opportunity to perform behind broadway stars in a 250+ chorus at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Ms. Graff is excited to join the ChiArts family this school year!

Joslyn Holman
Diverse Learners
Cary James
Case Manager

Cary James has been teaching in CPS for 10 years, and it is his third year Case Managing at ChiArts. He feels extraordinarily lucky to work with ChiArts’ passionate, determined students and faculty.

Jennifer B. Larson
Diverse Learners

Jennifer B. Larson has been teaching diverse learners for seven years. She grew up in Michigan but has been in Chicago permanently since 2007, when she graduated from Loyola University of Chicago. Outside of teaching, she is a musician as well as a writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Katie Pollastrini
Diverse Learners

Katie has taught at ChiArts for three years and is proud to be a member of ChiArts’ creative, unique, and determined community. Katie started her journey as an educator at Monmouth College receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and secondary education. After teaching for two years in a suburban school, Katie decided to purse my masters degree in Special Education to support students with a variety of learning styles. In the past few years at ChiArts, Katie has learned a lot from her students and colleagues. She is excited to continue to grow in order to best support each and every one of her students.

ChiArts Arts Faculty

Creative Writing

Tina Boyer Brown
Creative Writing Department Head + Writer's Studio I

Tina Boyer Brown, Managing Director of the Arts Conservatories and Creative Writing Department Head was also a founding English teacher at The Chicago High School for the Arts. She is a lead teacher at the Summer Poetry Teachers’ Institute sponsored by the Poetry Foundation. Her work has appeared in RHINO, POETRY Magazine, The Journal of Education, and Jet Fuel Review. Working on behalf of ChiArts scholar-artists brings her great joy.

Kenyatta Rogers
Elements of Poetry + Writers Studio II + Poetry Workshop

Kenyatta Rogers is a Cave Canem Fellow and has been awarded multiple scholarships from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference. He has also been nominated multiple times 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, The Volta, PANK, MAKE Magazine among others. He is as a co-host of the Sunday Reading Series with Simone Muench, an Associate Editor with RHINO Poetry and currently serves on the Creative Writing Faculty at the Chicago High School for the Arts.

Virginia Bell

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.

Sophie Goalson
Journalism + Writer's Studio IV + Podcasts for Writers

Sophie Goalson (a.k.a. Sophie Lucido Johnson) is a writer and illustrator whose work has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Bon Appetit, Jezebel, Guernica, The Believer, and many other places. Her first book, “Many Love,” came out with Simon & Schuster in 2018. She is also a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her book has been nominated for and has won several awards, including a nomination for the nationally established Lambda Literary Award. Mrs. Goalson has over a decade of teaching experience, and she specializes in working with students with exceptional needs, trauma-informed practices, behavioral intervention, and intentional anti-racism. For a complete CV and samples of Mrs. Goalson’s work, please visit sophielucidojohnson.com.

Bessana Kendig
Professional Development

Bessana Kendig graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in creative writing. Bessana writes non fiction, magical realism, and short stories. They’re originally from Denver, Colorado and also work at the non-profit, Care for Friends which provides meals and necessary supplies for individuals experiencing homelessness. In addition to teaching at ChiArts, Bessana is a teaching artist at Ravenswood Elementary, specializing in visual arts and creative writing. Bessana spends their free time frequenting bookshops and coffee shops, reading tarot cards, and binge drinking chai tea. Since they began interning at ChiArts in college, they connected with the diverse and embracing community. Bessana says ChiArts “feels like home and I find myself not wanting to leave.”

Susanna Lang
Literary Magazine + Writer's Toolkit

Susanna Lang is a long-time educator in the Chicago area, having taught 5th grade through graduate school at various Chicago Public Schools, Northeastern Illinois University, and other institutions, and led poetry workshops at public libraries in the city and suburbs. Her third collection of poems, Travel Notes from the River Styx, was released in 2017 from Terrapin Books, and a chapbook, Self-Portraits, is forthcoming from Blue Lyra Press in June 2020. A two-time Hambidge fellow, her poems have appeared in such publications as Little Star, Prairie Schooner, december, American Life in Poetry and Verse Daily. Her translations of poetry by Yves Bonnefoy include Words in Stone and The Origin of Language. More information available at www.susannalang.com.

David Mathews
Poetry Workshop

David Mathews is a lifelong Chicagoan and earned is MA in Writing & Publishing at DePaul University. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart. His recent publications include After Hours, Midwestern Gothic, Eclectica Magazine, Freeze Ray Poetry, Belt Magazine’s Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology, and in Endlessly Rocking, an anthology of poems in honor of the 200th birthday of Walt Whitman. www.davidmathewspoetry.com

Cecilia Pinto
Creative Nonfiction + Poetry II + Writer's Studio III

Cecilia Pinto has been a teaching artist in the City of Chicago for over 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 Writer’s Studio at the Graham School for General Studies at the University of Chicago. Her writing has appeared in various publications including 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.

Jeremy T. Wilson
Responding to Art + Elements of Fiction + Fiction Workshop

Jeremy T. Wilson is the author of the short story collection Adult Teeth. He is a former winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award for short fiction and was recently named one of “30 Writers to Watch” by Chicago’s Guild Literary Complex. His stories have appeared in literary magazines such as The Carolina Quarterly, The Florida Review, Hobart, The Masters Review, Sonora Review, Third Coast and other publications. He holds an MFA from Northwestern University.

Rachel Wilson
Fiction II + Fiction Workshop

Rachel 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 and The Game of Boys and Monsters from HarperTeen Impulse. Her personal essay, “I Am Not This,” appeared in the YA anthology Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles. She has also penned nonfiction works for younger readers with Rourke Educational Media. Wilson has served as a teaching artist all over Chicago with Barrel of Monkeys, After School Matters, Pegasus Players, The Actors Training Center, CAST, and Dream Big, among others. As a longtime company member with Barrel of Monkeys, Wilson adapts the writing of Chicago students for the stage, performing in schools and in the long-running show, That’s Weird, Grandma. She has appeared in several installments of the Neo-Futurists’ experimental storytelling show, The Arrow. When she’s not teaching at ChiArts, Wilson serves as a Library Associate in Teen Services at Humboldt Park Library. She encourages students to visit her at the YOUmedia center, where they can participate in free programs, use maker lab equipment, hang out with other teens, and play games. Ask her for help with your research or for a good book recommendation!

Dance

Greer A. Reed
Dance Department Head

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Greer Reed successfully completed the Certificate and Merit scholarship programs at The Ailey School and shortly after became a member of the outstanding Ailey II. The bulk of Ms. Reed’s professional career took place with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, retiring after 10 years in 2002 with the “Josie” Award for Outstanding Female Artist. Her dedication to young people is a driving force to enrich, empower and inspire. In the classroom, Ms. Reed focuses on dance curricula on academic quality, technique, and cultural experiences that reveal the transparency of thoughtfulness, refinement, and holistic teaching. As the 2018-2019 academic year began, The Chicago High School for the Arts welcomed Ms. Reed’s transformational teaching into their dance studios and classrooms as Chair of the Dance Department taking the Dance Conservatory scholar-artists to new heights. She is excited and committed to developing the next generation of incredible dancers who will redefine movement and honor past traditions while creating a heritage that reflects their voice. Along with her busy schedule, Greer recently received her B.A. from LaRoche University in Pittsburgh, PA with a 4.0 grade point average and the President’s Leadership and Scholarship Award, the highest honor La Roche University can bestow on a graduate for exemplary academic and leadership skills who best exemplify the values and characteristics of the college’s mission. She is currently a Master’s candidate at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT.

Maan Almodovar
Ballet D + Conditioning/Pointe Prep II + Conditioning/Point Prep I

Maan Nabong received her dance training from Sherry Moray, Homer Bryant, Wes Chapman, and Roger Van Fleteran. In 2000 and 2001, Maan placed 1st in the Junior Classical division at Youth America Grand Prix. From 2002-2004, she danced with the Alabama Ballet where she performed Arabian in George Balanchine’s Nutcracker and various roles in Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake. Maan was a scholarship student at Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago and at Alonzo Kings Ballet in San Francisco. In 2006-2007, Maan performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, working with choreographer, Daniel Pelzig in Die Fledermaus. Maan is a Stott-trained Pilates instructor and is also currently on faculty at the Joffrey Academy of Dance.

Barry Bennett
Dance Accompanist

Barry is a Jeff nominated maker of theatrical music and sound with over 40 world premieres, a multitude of albums under his own name and as a band leader — with the seminal trance outfit, MiLkBabY and the art rock group he currently leads, GRAPE JUICE PLUS. Other companies he has worked with since coming to Chicagoland in 1993 would include: The Goodman, Victory Gardens, Lifeline, Chicago Dramatists (former associate artist), Mordine and Company, Something Marvelous, Writers’ Theatre, The Aardvark, Steppenwolf, The Art Institute, Emerald City, National Pastime, Cindy Brandle Dance Company, PROP THTR, Chicago Moving Company (former composer in residence), Estrogen Fest, Asimina Chremos, Breakbone Dance, and others. He is an artistic associate and resident composer for 16th Street Theater, Winifred Haun & Dancers, and the director of Impending Behavior Orchestra. By day, Barry is a modern dance accompanist and plays percussion with a wide variety of groups across stages in the region which includes being the regular drummer for The Przmatics. http://barrybennettsounds.com

Levizadik Buckins
Contemporary Jazz + Senior Repertoire

Levizadik Buckins began his dance education at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, under the direction of Ethan Stiefel. During his time at UNCSA, he worked with choreographers such as Brenda Daniels, Trish Casey, and Diego Schoch. He has also had the chance to work with well-known choreographers Maurya Kerr, Larry Keigwin, Scott Rink, and Trish Lent. He has performed professionally with the Winston-Salem Festival of Ballet under the direction of Gary Taylor in North Carolina, and River North Dance Chicago under the direction of Frank Chaves. While at River North Dance Chicago he worked with Adam Barruch, Kevin Iega Jeff, Ashley Roland, and Ivan Perez. Levizadik is currently in his second year as a dance instructor at the Chicago High School of the Arts.

Zineb Chraibi
Graham Technique

A former dancer, Zineb Chraibi has performed with the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Deeply Rooted Productions, Winifred Haun and Dancers as well as with various independent choreographers. She holds a BA in Dance from Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Pa. Ms. 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. She has also trained at Les ballets Jazz De Montreal, Ruth Page Dance Center and Lou Conte Dance Studios. 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. She has also 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. In addition to teaching dance, Zineb is a certified Yoga and Pilates instructor who 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 and Ballet C Theatre (Dance) + Dance II and Dance IV (Theatre)
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 the Arts. In 2012, he created two new works on the Big Muddy Dance Company of St. Louis. Additional Chicago Concert dance commissions include Nomi Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Inside Chicago Dance, and LEVELdance. Brandon is currently Associate Artistic Director of LEVELdance. He enjoys training aspiring dance professionals at ChiArts, as well as Joffrey Academy, and the North Shore School of Dance. He also is the resident choreographer for ChiArts’ Musical Theatre Main Stage productions.
Maliwan Diemer
Ballet F + Senior Seminar for Dancers

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 currently on faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, serves as faculty member and Performance Project Director for Chicago Ballet Arts, 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 and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. As a ballroom competitor, she has won Professional Rising Star and Open events in Latin, Standard and Smooth and is a United States 10-Dance Finalist and 2x National Rising Star Smooth Finalist. 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. She has been a member of the dance faculty at ChiArts since 2011.

Tracey Franklin
Department Assistant
Robert Garrett
Dance Accompanist
Robin Gayle
Novice Ballet

Robin Gayle is a professional dancer, an established ballet teacher, and a certified Pilates instructor. She performed for nine seasons as a Soloist with the Columbia City Ballet, apprenticed with the Colorado Ballet, and is a frequent guest artist around the country. Robin trained privately under Sherry Moray and Alla Osipenko and attended the Académie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo, the Ruth Page School of Dance, and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Her summer intensives include the schools of American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet. Robin was a top finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix competition and chosen to perform at YAGP Galas in 2000 and 2001. Robin’s reviews include Dance Magazine’s late Ann Barzel, who praised Robin as a “uniquely talented dancer,” and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Hedy Weiss, who characterized Robin’s dancing as “brilliant.” Additional credits include appearing in the movie “Save the Last Dance,” the TV show “Sabado Gigante,” and modeling for Capezio and Leo’s Dancewear. Robin has had the pleasure of working with the dancers at ChiArts since 2017.

Mike Przygoda
Music for Dancers + Dance Accompanist
Mike Przygoda has been at ChiArts since the beginning, playing for dance classes, teaching Music For Dancers, composing pieces, and running sound. Outside of ChiArts he works as a composer, arranger, producer, music director, sound designer, and a multi-instrumentalist around Chicago at such places as The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Goodman Theatre, Second City, Ailey Camp, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and others. He won a Jeff Award for artistic specialization in percussion, and his band has released several critically acclaimed albums.
Nicole Scatchell
Ballet A + Musical Theatre Dance I + Musical Theatre Dance III

Nicole Scatchell is a Chicago native.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from Columbia College Chicago, as well as her certification to teach Dance K-12 from University of Milwaukee, WI.  As a young dancer Nicole trained at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet Legere.  Nicole has trained under the direction of Anna Paskevska, Liz Burrit, Jefferson Baum, Eduardo Vilaro, Krenly Guzman, Kathleen Hermsdorf, Darrel Jones to name a few.  She has performed with companies BONEdanse, Zephyr Dance, Get Down/Pick Up Company, David Dorfman, Dropshift Dance and has worked with choreographers such as Peter Carpenter, Reggie Wilson, Jan Bartosek, Tammy Thomas, Sean France, Jeff Hanncock, Jimmy Orrante, Emily Stein, among others.  She performed for audiences in Chicago, Scotland, Italy, France, Germany, New York as well as across the U.S as a soloist with the International Ballet Ensemble.   Nicole has been a dedicated dance educator in CPS, domestically, and internationally for 12+ years.   She is the Artistic Director of Chicago Dance Institute, All City Dance Ensemble Director, and on faculty at Harold Washington College, and Joffrey Academy.  She continues to work with countless non-profits across the U.S. teaching, training, and developing high-level dance programs for specific populations.  She led and directed international programming in Haiti where she worked with local children and trained over 20 local volunteers in pedagogy, in partnership with Worldwide Orphans.  Nicole also choreographs ChiArts’ Musical Theatre main stage productions.  She continues be a guest artist with Chicago choreographers, teach yoga, and perform with her improv comedy group.

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
Megan Wright
Ballet + Pointe + Injury Prevention/Nutrition + Professional Development

Megan is a Chicago native who danced professionally with the Los Angeles Ballet and the St. Louis Ballet. Some of her freelance work includes performances with the San Diego Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Comedy Central, and a variety of music video and photo shoots. Megan studied at Ballet Chicago and the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, as well as summers at the School of American Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet School, American Ballet Theater, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She also teaches at Ballet Chicago, the Beverly Arts Center, and independently offers adult classes in her neighborhood. In addition, Megan is an alumni of DePaul University, the iO Theater, and a certified group fitness instructor.

Teanna Zarro
Ballet Technique Level E

Teanna Zarro was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She received her early ballet training with former Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo Soloist, Meredith Baylis. Zarro continued her studies 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. Zarro has performed featured roles with Ballet New York, The Los Angeles Ballet, RPM Productions, 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.

Ms. Zarro is a current faculty member of The Chicago High School for the Arts and Hyde Park School of Dance. Zarro co-directs the top tier of Hyde Park School of Dance’s studio company for youth dancers, alongside Artistic Director, August Tye.

Music

Betsy Ko
Music Department Head

Betsy Ko is a founding faculty member of ChiArts, Chicago’s first public arts high school.  Ms. Ko has served as Music Department Head since the school opened its doors in the fall of 2009. She also serves as the ChiArts Band Director and has overseen growth in that program from 9 students in 2009 to a current enrollment of 46.  In March 2018, the ChiArts Wind Ensemble under Ms. Ko’s direction was honored to receive the honor of “Best in Day” designation at the Illinois High School Association’s Organizational Contest.   Ms. Ko is also a long time flute faculty member at Merit School of Music where she teaches individuals and groups of all levels. She has coached the Purple Hippopotami Flute Quartet for many years and saw that group earn 3rd place in the prestigious M-Prize Chamber Music competition (Junior Winds division) in May 2018.  A native of New York, Ms. Ko has been an active performer in the Chicago area since arriving here in 1991. She currently performs with the Northshore Concert Band. Ms. Ko received her M.M. in flute performance from DePaul University where she studied with Mary Stolper. Her undergraduate degree was in pure mathematics from Brown University. She additionally holds Illinois Type 10 certification in music.

Alicia Poot Kelly
Department Assistant + Flute Technique + Music Theory Fundamentals + Concert Band

Alicia Poot Kelly (“Poot” rhymes with “boat”) is an orchestral and chamber flutist in and around Chicago. From 2009-2014 she was a core member of “Palomar,” the performing arm of Chicago composer resource Access Contemporary Music (ACM). Other performance credits include work with 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, Chicago Composers’ Orchestra, The Irish Tenors, Bach and Beyond, Anaphora, International Chamber Artists, and Crossing Borders Music Collective. Mrs. 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 Area 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.

Rubén P. Alvarez
Afro-Cuban Percussion

Rubén P. Alvarez is a Chicago based Latin percussionist, drum set artist, composer, and music educator. His performance credits include musical theatre as a Latin percussionist for the Goodman Theatre production of Crowns, the Broadway Chicago productions of The Lion King, and On Your Feet.  He has performed and/or recorded with blues artists John Mayall and Junior Wells, rock artists Dave Mason and Dennis De Young, Latin jazz artists Arturo Sandoval, Dave Valentín, jazz icons Ramsey Lewis, and Roy Hargrove, and R&B divas Jennifer Hudson, and the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, and performed on drum set, and timbales on the 2012 Latin Grammy nominated CD “Made in Chicago” by Chuchito Valdes. 

Rubén teaches drum set and Latin percussion and has directed the Latin jazz ensemble of Roosevelt University for over 12 years and has served as a residency artist/mentor for Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazz Links Master Artists Residency program since 2007.  Ruben has endorsed and served as a clinician for industry leaders in music education which include DW/Latin Percussion, Remo drumheads, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Zildjian cymbals for over 30 years

Rubén is a founding member and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of The Jazz Education Network, has served on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Chapter of the Recording Academy, and as Vice President of the Illinois chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He currently serves on the World Percussion committee of the Percussive Arts Society and was a recipient of  the 2007 Percussive Arts Society Service Award, and the 2018 Jazz Educator of the Year by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. 

Melissa Arning
Voice for the Stage

Melissa Arning grew up in the Detroit suburbs, went to college in Cleveland, and now continues her tour of the Midwest at her home in Chicago. She credits her Midwestern roots with fostering her love of cars, Vernors, and Jello. A busy performer of both opera and oratorio, Ms. Arning’s roles include Ruth in Dark Sisters, Meg in Falstaff, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cendrillon in Cendrillon, Muse/Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Mercedes in Carmen. For her work with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Ms. Arning also has two Grammy awards. In her spare time, she is a beekeeper.

Anthony Bruno
Jazz Coordinator + Saxophone Technique + Jazz Foundations and Repertoire + Jazz Combo + Professional Development

Saxophonist, vocalist, bassist, writer, arranger, producer, Anthony Bruno has spent his life dedicated to all things music. Bringing over 20 years of professional experience performing with the likes of The Temptations, The Four Tops, Larry Carlton, 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”. Mr. Bruno is a Selmer Artist endorsing Selmer Paris Saxophones. Anthony is also a member of JEN the Jazz Education Network and National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Mr. Bruno graduated from DePaul University in 2007 with a BM in Music Education.

 

Justin Callis
Keyboard Skills for Vocalists I + Keyboard Skills for Vocalists II + Songwriting and Composition

Justin Callis is a teaching artist, music director, and composer here in Chicago. In addition to his work at ChiArts, he has worked extensively with youth of all ages and backgrounds. With COT for Teens, he has served as composer, music director, orchestrator, and arranger on Memories of Yesterday, an original musical based on materials from the StoryCorp archives, as well as leading a student orchestra with original orchestrations for Once on This Island. With Improv Playhouse, he has worked with students on Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, The Addams Family, High School Musical, and Newsies. With Storycatchers Theatre, he worked for many years with incarcerated youth, transforming stories from their lives into original musicals, and music directing and accompanying their performances. He helped over 100 elementary school students put on a production of Madagascar, Jr. this past spring, and served as the music director for a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at Glencoe Central Middle School. He teaches private voice and piano lessons through Piano Power. He is the Music Director at Community Christian Church in Lincolnshire, where he prepares a choir of one dozen adults for weekly services of spiritual music. He is also the Music Director at Shir Tikvah Synagogue in Homewood, where he works with the adult choir as well. As a performer, he toured the country with Child’s Play Touring Theatre, performing original plays and musicals based on the work of children, and has performed extensively around the Chicagoland area with Chicago Opera Playhouse. Additionally, Ravenswood Community Orchestra recently premiered his Symphony No. 1 this past spring. He graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and English and a Certificate in Music Theatre.

Oliver Camacho
Music Theory Fundamentals + Music History

Oliver Camacho is the co‐host and creative consultant of Opera Box Score, is the founder and editor of Vocal Arts Chicago, and works as announcer at Classical WFMT. A proud graduate of Chicago’s Lane Technical High School, where he first learned to sing under George Rico, Oliver went on to study vocal performance at Northwestern University, and historically informed performance practice at the Amherst Early Music Festival and Early Music Vancouver. He sings regularly with Bella Voce and is co‐director of Liederstube, an oasis for art song in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building founded by pianist and author Dr. Eugenia Cheng.

Chris Cashman
Spanish + Spanish for Native Speakers + Choral Experience

This is Chris Cashman’s fifth 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.

Natalie Chami

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 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. 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. After a series of tape releases on labels like Hausu Mountain, Tabs Out, and Moog’s own physical imprint, Chami released her first TALsounds LP, Love Sick, with New York’s Ba Da Bing Records. In addition to her regular local performances, Ms. Chami has performed across the US on four national tours with Good Willsmith and two solo tours to date. Good Willsmith was chosen with the trio as an artist in residence at Chicago’s High Concept Laboratories for the Fall/Winter 2012-13 season. The band’s LPs The Honeymoon Workbook and Things Our Bodies Used To Have, released on Mexico-city based label Umor Rex, earned positive reviews from publications including Pitchfork, FACT, and Vice/THUMP, while TALsounds’s 2015 LP Love Sick saw praise from NPR, FACT, Bandcamp, and BBC6 Radio.

Bill Chin
Chamber Singers

Mr. Chin 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, directs the 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. Mr. Chin has served on the adjunct faculty for both DePaul and Roosevelt Universities and is the winner of a Joseph Jefferson Award. Like many ChiArts students, Mr. Chin entered a Chicago public high school without any musical training; by his senior year, he became a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Many years later, he became its Assistant Director, a post he held for nearly twenty years. He is proud to share his knowledge and love of choral music with our scholar-artists.

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.

Thomas Clippert
Guitar Technique I + Guitar Technique III + Guitar Technique IV + Guitar Ensemble II

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. 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.

Dr. Elliot Eernisse
Oboe Technique

Dr. Elliot Eernisse earned his D.M.A. at the University of Iowa. While living in Iowa he formally held teaching positions at Cornell College and Mt. Mercy University. Dr. Eernisse is also a professional orchestral musician and performs with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. This is Dr. Eernisse’s second year teaching the talented oboists at ChiArts.

Jason Ellis
Acoustic Bass Technique + String Repertoire

Jason Ellis has played Broadway in Chicago productions including Million Dollar Quartet, Matilda, Beautiful, and School of Rock, as well as additional productions at Drury Lane, Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, and the Paramount Theatre Aurora. Orchestral performances include Fulcrum Point New Music Project, the Memphis Symphony, and Oistrakh Symphony Chicago. His teaching experience includes the Jacobs School at Indiana University, Interlochen Center for the Arts/ The University of Michigan, Deerfield High School, Highland Park High School, and Harvard-Westlake Los Angeles. Jason has performed with jazz luminaries such as Bobby Watson, James Williams, Aaron Parks, Ira Sullivan, Melvin Rhyne, Derrick Gardner, and Fareed Haque: additional performances highlights include SNL legend Joe Piscopo, The Voice winner Josh Kaufman, the Atlanta Olympic Games, and the Kennedy Center. His primary teachers are Lawrence Hurst, Bruce Bransby, John Clayton, and Rufus Reid, as well as electric bass instructors Victor Wooten and Oteil Burbridge. Jason endorses Lakland basses, Acoustic Image amplifiers, and Genz Benz amplifiers; his upright basses are a 1939 Kay and a 1996 Rumano Solano.

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/

Rebecca Faber
Upper Strings Technique + Intro to String Quartet + String Ensemble

From playing classical music at Orchestra Hall to rock music on Warped Tour, Rebecca is a violinist, songwriter, producer, and educator who has used her classical music training to focus on innovating and blend genre lines. The genre-bending efforts began in undergrad at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, when she founded the rock band, The Lifeline. She used her training to give the band a unique performance quality, utilizing live looping techniques, as well as sequencing and sampling to enhance the presence of her violin. As a result she has graced the stages of many of the city’s finest venues such as Metro, House of Blues, Aragon Ballroom, Lincoln Hall, Beat Kitchen, Bottom Lounge, Double Door, Soldier Field, Subterranean, Cubby Bear and Goose Island Wrigleyville. In addition, she’s also been a part of many festivals and tours, such as SXSW, CMJ, Taste of Chicago, Taste of Chaos Tour, Warped Tour, Milwaukee Summerfest, and Q101 Block Party which further expand her influence. Rebecca Faber has worked with some of the best engineers and producers in the country. Names like Steve Albini (Nirvana), Chris Shepard (Chicago Recording Company), Sean O’Keefe (Plain White T’s), and Johnny Rioux (The Bruisers, Social Distortion, Street Dogs) are just a few of the diverse individuals that have helped Rebecca hone her craft and continue to innovate. As a result of work in the recording industry, she has become a voting member of The Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences, voting for the Grammys in both the musician categories and the Producers and Engineering Wing. She is also an ASCAP member and recipient of the ASCAP Plus Award in two consecutive years. In the spirit of giving back and inspiring others to use music as an outlet, Rebecca has taught in various settings, including privately, through the Ravinia Festival, at the Chicago High School for the Arts, and through online content on Reverb.com. Growing up in Chicago, Rebecca studied pre-college at the Merit School of Music, Midwest Young Artists’ Program, and studying privately under Laura Miller (Lyric Opera of Chicago). She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, studying violin performance under Peter Schaffer (Concertmaster, San Francisco Symphony). Continuing studies/additional training include playing master classes and lessons with David Kim (Concertmaster, Philadelphia Orchestra), Nathan Cole (Assistant Concertmaster, LA Philharmonic), Lisa-Beth Lambert (National Symphony), Cornelius Chiu (Chicago Symphony), Christopher Wu (Pittsburgh Symphony), and studied chamber music under the Avalon String Quartet.

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.

Jeannette Hoyt

Jeannette Hoyt has over two decades of large and small ensemble teaching experience and music lesson teaching expertise. Previously General Manager and Intermediate Orchestra Director of Hyde Park Youth Symphony and String Ensemble Director at Guerin Prep High School, River Grove, Illinois, Jeannette serves as an adjudicator for Illinois High School Music Association District Contest, Illinois Music Educators Association Contest, and the Granquist Music Competition. As guest clinician, Jeannette has worked with the Schaumburg Youth Symphony and Chicago’s All-Star Orchestra. One of Jeannette’s favorite arts education experiences was her junior year at Interlochen Arts Academy, a fine arts high school. Prior to teaching at ChiArts, Jeannette taught piano lab to 11th and 12th graders through the Noble Network School system.

Jeff Kelly
Drumset I + Drumset II + Music Technology

Jeff Kelly has played and studied drum set and percussion for more than three 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 from The Berklee College of Music & Boston Conservatory. There he continued his drum set work under the 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 who performs in genres including jazz, funk, folk, rock, r&b, pop, and “other.” In addition to his performance work, 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, 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. He also teaches at Dominican University, holds an MBA (Finance) degree, is married to Mrs. Kelly, and is a father of 2. Interests close to Jeff’s heart are science, economics, history, football, and he loves to fish, having twice caught ferocious Northern Pikes over 45 inches.

Adam LaSalle

Adam LaSalle is an actor, pianist, music director, and teacher. He has worked with Memphis’ Playhouse on the Square Musical Theatre Education Program, the Chicago Children’s Choir, SummerSing’s International Choral Festival in Cork City, Ireland, and an number of revues and cabarets at the Promontory and as a regular at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret in Wicker Park. Prior to ChiArts, he was the founding Choral teacher and Art Department Chair at Butler College Prep. He has also music directed a number of musicals throughout the city and is humbled to have been a part of the Chicago premiere of Forbidden Broadway’s Spamilton. 

Erica Lessie
Cello Technique + Keyboard Skills I + Theory Fundamentals + Piano Practice Hall

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 and Chicago High School for the Arts. 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.

Taylor Mallory
Professional Development for Vocalists

Taylor Mallory is a professional singer, songwriter, actor, and Level Next Music recording artist. As a music artist, he’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, JET, Windy City Live! and nominated for Best Male Vocalist for the Chicago Music Awards. His acting highlights include national print, radio, and commercial ads from Corona, Newport, McDonalds, Xfinity and many more. Recently, he made his film debut on NBC’s Chicago P.D. as Darius Brown. Above all, Mallory uses his artistry as an entertainer to uplift and encourage those who have experienced childhood trauma and sexual abuse; his message is simple “You are enough and your healing starts with you.” He is a member of the F.A.M.E. foundation and SAG-AFTRA. His Level Next Music team actively mentors and motivates youth in the inner cities, specifically the South, West, and South suburban areas of Chicago. He closes each class session with the following statement “My passion, will be my profession.”

Caryn Ott Hillman
Movement for Vocalists + Senior Project for Vocalists

Caryn Ott Hillman started dancing at the age of three. After falling in love with singing, she attended Roosevelt University for a Music Degree in Vocal Performance. Caryn then performed in musicals throughout Chicago at Equity and Non-Equity theaters. After starting a family, she dedicated her time to directing and choreographing shows for the youth at Light Opera Works, Chicago Opera Theater, After School Matters and Opera for All. Caryn continues all the above, as well as, teaching and directing Musical Theater at Lycee Francais of Chicago, and of Course – The great Chicago High School for the Arts!

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 Rehker
Clarinet Techniques + Wind Repertoire

Patrick currently free-lances in the Chicagoland area, teaching and gigging. He is a full time member of the Rockford Symphony and has performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Elgin, Kalamazoo, Illinois, Elmhurst, South Bend, Quad City Symphonies as well as the Illinois and Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Highland Park Strings. Other groups include OperaModa, Chicago Opera Vanguard, and the Downers Grove Choral Society. Patrick has also performed with the Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Paramount, Drury Lane, Timeline, Porchlight, Marriott, Writer’s, Royal George and Court Theatre Companies, as well as the American Girl Revue. Other performances include soloing at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center’s Sunday Salon Series, and playing on WFMT. Aside from performing, He was a clarinet play-tester/technician at the Conn-Selmer factory in Kenosha, WI. Currently, Patrick is an Artist Clinician for D’Addario Woodwinds and provides free educational classes to schools in the Chicagoland area. As a teacher, he holds studios at Concordia University, Moraine Valley Community College, The Chicago High School for the Arts, and the First Conservatory of LaGrange. Patrick received his Masters from Northwestern University and Bachelors from Middle Tennessee State University.

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.

Kelsey Tortorice

Kelsey Tortorice is a music educator and vocalist. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education in 2011 at VanderCook College of Music and has been teaching music in Chicago ever since. She’s taught choir, private voice, guitar, theory, piano, and directed musicals in both neighborhood and charter schools. Kelsey’s students have earned “excellent” and “superior” ratings at competitions both in Chicago and out of state. Her students have also been recognized in various media stories including mentions in a WBEZ story on how music changes the teenage brain and a feature on WGN when Kelsey was awarded “Teacher of the Month,” in January 2017. Kelsey has been honored by her Alma Mater as the recipient of the 2015 “Roseanne Rosenthal Excellence in Teaching Award.”

In addition to the work that she does with students, Kelsey sings as a member of the Wicker Park Choral Singers and in the local band Budway Ferris and the Mutual Magic. Aside from teaching and performing music, she spends most of her time working with Inner Sense Healing Arts Collective, a community space for yoga, wellness, and the arts that she is a proud co-founder of. Kelsey looks forward to continuing to share her passion for music with young people and supporting the invaluable mission of creating equitable educational experiences for students in this city.

Dr. Brooks Truly
Percussion Coordinator + Percussion Ensemble + Percussion Fundamentals + Orchestral Percussion Technique + Advanced Percussion Technique + Audition Prep and Repertoire for Percussion

Dr. Brooks Truly serves on the faculty of both ChiArts and Morton College. He also performs with the world fusion group Callaloo and is a freelance musician with various other groups in the Chicago area. He 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 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, Louie Bellson, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Jim Walker, Yo-Yo Ma, Michel Camilo, Andrea Bocelli, Ramsey Lewis, Paul Potts, Faith Hill, Elvis Costello, Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling, Hanson, Celtic Thunder, and Il Divo to name a few, and has worked with such conductors/composers as Scott Speck, Aaron Jay Kernis, Susie Seiter, James Judd, Helmuth Rilling, Sir Andrew Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Philippe Entremont, 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. 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). 

Dr. 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. He is an endorsed performing artist with Remo Drumheads, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and is a member of the Black Swamp Percussion Educators Network. Former teachers include Ney Rosauro, Shannon Wood, Ted Atkatz, Richie Bravo, Ed Harrison, Vadim Karpinos, Paul Wertico, Ruben Alvarez, and John Papastefan.

Theatre

Annie Calhoun
Theatre Department Head
Annie Calhoun believes in the power of equity in arts education. The passion behind this belief led her to become a founding ChiArts teacher in 2009 and then took her all the way to South Los Angeles where she co-founded Kipp Scholar Academy and created their theatre program. She holds a teaching degree from Taylor University in Theatre and English and is IL certified for grades 6-12. Ms. Calhoun also received her MFA in Acting from DePaul’s Theatre School. She returned to Chicago two years ago after five years of teaching, directing and performing in Los Angeles. In LA, Ms. Calhoun taught and directed at the Professional (Adlerimprov), Collegiate (USC), and High School (LA County HS for the Arts) levels; she also founded an inner city theatre program in South LA (Kipp Scholar). She is a novelist and playwright whose pieces have been performed on stages all over Los Angeles and an actor whose work ranges from theater and film, to improv and stand up comedy.
A Chicago native, she is rooted in the values of play, ensemble, rigor and creative new work. While in Chicago she completed iO’s training and then performed there regularly, as well as The Annoyance. One of her favorite experiences was being included as the first improvised play Steppenwolf allowed in their Garage space with a group she founded called ALMOST ATLANTA. The breadth and depth of her expertise in education and theatre offer a vast array of skills from classroom management and facilitating diversity, equity & inclusion to building ensemble among students and staff, and measuring student growth outcomes.
Scott Westerman
Department Assistant + Senior Project for Acting Majors + Acting IV + Shakespeare & Wilson + Physical Comedy

Scott does, makes, teaches, and directs theatre in Chicago. He is an ensemble member with The Artistic Home, teaches for ChiArts and The Theatre School at DePaul University, and thoroughly enjoys leading acting intensives, playwriting and devising residencies, and theatre retreats for Red Barn Learning Center. (GoToRedBarn.com) Directing credits include shows with The Artistic Home, City Lit, Chimera, Citadel, beyond this point, Barter Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company (Camp Shakespeare), Stage Left (Downstage Left), Northlight Theatre Academy, The Smithsonian Institution, American Theatre Company (Bridge), Impulse Theatre Company, the National High School Institute (Cherubs), ChiArts, and Reverie Theatre Company, of which he was a co-founder and co-Artistic Director. Acting credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ford’s, Everyman, the Warehouse, the Barter, Northlight Theatre, The Artistic Home, Chicago Dramatists, Strawdog, Lifeline, Stage Left, Apple Tree, A Crew of Patches, Mary Arrchie, Festival Theatre of Oak Park, and Reverie. Film credits include Machine Gun Preacher and Prison Break. Scott has an MFA in Classical Acting from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University. www.ScottWesterman.org

David Blixt
Theatre History + Stage Combat

David Blixt is an author and actor. As an Artistic Associate at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival since 2000, he has played such roles as Macbeth, Petruchio, Benedick, Mark Antony, Mercutio, Pistol, Orsino, Oberon, and many more. He received a Wilde Award for Best Actor In A Comedy for his portrayal of Algernon in 2014’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. ​ As a Fight Director, he has choreographed all manner of violence, from comedic to horrific. Davis is also an author of historical fiction. His latest novel, WHAT GIRLS ARE GOOD FOR: A NOVEL OF NELLY BLY, was an Amazon bestseller for six months straight. His series of Star-Cross’d novels starting with THE MASTER OF VERONA (set at the birth of Renaissance Italy) is a critical and reader favorite. ​ In life, David describes himself as an “actor, author, father, husband, in reverse order.”

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.

Chad Cygan
Vocal Technique and Repertoire IV + Musical Theatre Professional Development

Chad Cygan joined the ChiArts faculty in 2019. He has served as faculty at Ohlone College, The City College of New York, The Juilliard School, and Maine South High School among others. Chad has worked as a professional singer with the Metropolitan Opera, Opera San Jose, Bronx Opera, Utopia Opera, Opera Cooperative and the Raleigh Little Theatre. As an active vocal instructor in New York, Chicago and San Jose, Chad teaches both musical theater and classical vocal technique. He is proficient coaching in English, Italian, German, French, Spanish and Russian. A Chicago-area native, Chad holds a B. Mus. Ed. from the University of Illinois, a M.M. from the Juilliard School and is completing his D.M.A. (vocal performance) at the CUNY Graduate Center (ABD).

Brandon DiCriscio
Contemporary Modern and Ballet C Theatre (Dance) + Dance II and Dance IV (Theatre)
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 the Arts. In 2012, he created two new works on the Big Muddy Dance Company of St. Louis. Additional Chicago Concert dance commissions include Nomi Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Inside Chicago Dance, and LEVELdance. Brandon is currently Associate Artistic Director of LEVELdance. He enjoys training aspiring dance professionals at ChiArts, as well as Joffrey Academy, and the North Shore School of Dance. He also is the resident choreographer for ChiArts’ Musical Theatre Main Stage productions.
Jason Ellis
Music Theory Fundamentals Keyboard Skills + Music History

Jason Ellis has played Broadway in Chicago productions including Million Dollar Quartet, Matilda, Beautiful, and School of Rock, as well as additional productions at Drury Lane, Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, and the Paramount Theatre Aurora. Orchestral performances include Fulcrum Point New Music Project, the Memphis Symphony, and Oistrakh Symphony Chicago. His teaching experience includes the Jacobs School at Indiana University, Interlochen Center for the Arts/ The University of Michigan, Deerfield High School, Highland Park High School, and Harvard-Westlake Los Angeles. Jason has performed with jazz luminaries such as Bobby Watson, James Williams, Aaron Parks, Ira Sullivan, Melvin Rhyne, Derrick Gardner, and Fareed Haque: additional performances highlights include SNL legend Joe Piscopo, The Voice winner Josh Kaufman, the Atlanta Olympic Games, and the Kennedy Center. His primary teachers are Lawrence Hurst, Bruce Bransby, John Clayton, and Rufus Reid, as well as electric bass instructors Victor Wooten and Oteil Burbridge. Jason endorses Lakland basses, Acoustic Image amplifiers, and Genz Benz amplifiers; his upright basses are a 1939 Kay and a 1996 Rumano Solano.

Evelyn Gaynor

Evelyn Gaynor teaches Voice and Speech 1A and 1B for freshmen and sophomore actors, Voice and Speech II for junior actors, and Acting for junior and senior vocalists. She is an actress and teaching artist who began her work in NYC, teaching arts residencies in the public school system for nearly 5 years with a program called Periwinkle Theater for Youth. In NYC she also worked with Broadway Classroom, Inside Broadway, and The Story Pirates. In Chicago, she is a company member with Barrel of Monkeys, teaches and directs with Chicago Youth Shakespeare, and teaches with The Viola Project. Theatrically, she has worked with Jackalope Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Theatre at the Center, Syracuse Stage, The Hangar Theatre, Alhambra Theatre and Dining, Cape Cod Repertory Theater, and Indiana Festival Theatre, among others. She has also appeared on Chicago P.D. She has her BFA in Acting from Syracuse University and her MFA in Acting from Indiana University, where she taught undergraduate courses in Voice and Speech and served as the vocal coach for University Players.

Ricky Harris
Theatre Education
Risha Hill
Voice and Speech I + II + III

Risha Hill is a 2003 graduate of the MFA Acting program at the California Institute of the Arts. Risha taught in and around Los Angeles for seven years and moved to Chicago in 2014. She currently is a theater teaching artist in several organizations in the city and is now in her second year of teaching at ChiArts.

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.

Christopher Richard
Vocal Technique & Repertoire III + Music Theory & Keyboard Fundamentals for Musical Theatre

Christopher Richard, originally from Chesterton, Indiana, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Butler University and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California. While in the Los Angeles area he performed with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, as well as a number of regional companies and orchestras. In Chicago, Mr. Richard has performed with DuPage Opera Theatre, Bowen Park Opera, Light Opera Works and Drury Lane Oakbrook. On a broader scope, he has appeared with Sarasota Opera, Indianapolis Opera, the Aspen Music Festival Opera, Brevard Music Center, the Mexico National Chamber Orchestra, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the New World Symphony Orchestra. Among his opera credits, Mr. Richard lists roles in Carmen, Cosi fan tutte, Gianni Schicchi, Romeo et Juliette, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Britten, L’heuere espangol by Ravel, The Tender Land by Copland, Trouble in Tahiti by Bernstein and four different roles in The Merry Wives of Windsor by Otto Nicolai. Although Mr. Richard has many credits in opera, he is equally at home in the music theatre, cabaret and recital genres. In addition to performing, Mr. Richard teaches voice lessons privately and at Oak Park & River Forest High School and works with their Music Theater class, is Assistant Music Director at Irving Park Lutheran Church and director of their Contemporary Ensemble. In the fall of 2002 he was Music Director for the Youth Opera Program at Sarasota Opera which immerses the participants in every aspect of opera production and had over 120 youths enrolled. Serving as Music Director for the Light Opera Works Summer Music Theatre Workshop since 2007, Mr. Richard works on 5 separate week-long productions specifically tailored for young performers each summer and a 3 week program for the high school level to perform the same show as the main professional company on the same set. In that same vein, Mr. Richard has been the Program Director of Music Theatre at Merit School of Music and taught Music Theater in DePaul University’s Community Music Division. He has enjoyed working as music director for the successful OPRF productions of Once Upon a Mattress and Grease as well as The Fantasticks with Triton College. More recently he has enjoyed being the Music Director for Bowen Park Opera from 2007 to 2011 and co-director of a collaboration between Chicago Opera Theater and After School Matters called Chicago Opera Theater for Teens from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Richard joined the faculty at the Chicago High School for the Arts, teaching Vocal Technique & Repertoire III and started teaching Music Theory & Keyboard Fundamentals for Music Theater majors in the fall of 2019.

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.

Nicole Scatchell
Ballet A + Musical Theatre Dance I + Musical Theatre Dance III

Nicole Scatchell is a Chicago native.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from Columbia College Chicago, as well as her certification to teach Dance K-12 from University of Milwaukee, WI.  As a young dancer Nicole trained at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet Legere.  Nicole has trained under the direction of Anna Paskevska, Liz Burrit, Jefferson Baum, Eduardo Vilaro, Krenly Guzman, Kathleen Hermsdorf, Darrel Jones to name a few.  She has performed with companies BONEdanse, Zephyr Dance, Get Down/Pick Up Company, David Dorfman, Dropshift Dance and has worked with choreographers such as Peter Carpenter, Reggie Wilson, Jan Bartosek, Tammy Thomas, Sean France, Jeff Hanncock, Jimmy Orrante, Emily Stein, among others.  She performed for audiences in Chicago, Scotland, Italy, France, Germany, New York as well as across the U.S as a soloist with the International Ballet Ensemble.   Nicole has been a dedicated dance educator in CPS, domestically, and internationally for 12+ years.   She is the Artistic Director of Chicago Dance Institute, All City Dance Ensemble Director, and on faculty at Harold Washington College, and Joffrey Academy.  She continues to work with countless non-profits across the U.S. teaching, training, and developing high-level dance programs for specific populations.  She led and directed international programming in Haiti where she worked with local children and trained over 20 local volunteers in pedagogy, in partnership with Worldwide Orphans.  Nicole also choreographs ChiArts’ Musical Theatre main stage productions.  She continues be a guest artist with Chicago choreographers, teach yoga, and perform with her improv comedy group.

Rachel Slavick
Acting II for Musical Theatre + Spolin Games/Movement to Music + Senior Project Musical Theatre

Rachel Slavick has been teaching acting for 24 years. Rachel is also faculty at The Theatre School of DePaul University and acts and directs in the Chicago theatre community. She is currently directing the second of The North Shore Trilogy, Pakalolo Sweet, having directed the first (Not One Batu) last summer and will direct all three next summer of 2020.

Jason Sperling
Acting I for Acting Majors + Acting III for Musical Theatre Majors

Jason Sperling works as an actor, singer, teacher, and director around Chicago, and has taught at ChiArts since 2011. He is an emeritus founding company member of Barrel of Monkeys, a children’s writing and theater program, and worked with them for over twenty years. Mr. Sperling created and taught the drama program at St. Juliana School, as well as directing there for seven years; he taught and directed with the CAST program in Oak Park for ten years; he was a poet/educator with the Chicago Park District/Chicago Humanities Festival’s Words@Play program; and he has also taught or music directed for Beverly Arts Center, Raven Theatre, and Prologue Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Sperling has taught, directed, and music directed with Elmhurst Children’s Theatre since 2009, 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.

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.

Jessica Dean Turner
Acting II + Professional Development for Actors + Diverse Playwrights

Ms. Turner is a native of Chicago’s west side, and is entering her third year here at ChiArts. She received her BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois and her MA in Educational Theatre from New York University. Ms. Turner has toured and taught nationally. She has acted at Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Festival, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Victory Gardens, Goodman, Steep Theatre, Congo Square, House Theatre, Griffin Theatre, and Haven Theatre. TV credits include: Chicago PD, Crisis, and short films “You Too” (which she featured alongside ChiArts students!) and “Black Womxn”. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Visual Arts

Whitney Bradshaw
Visual Arts Department Head + AP Photography Instructor

Whitney Bradshaw is an artist, educator, curator, social worker and mother. Bradshaw has been the chair of the visual art conservatory at ChiArts (the Chicago High School for the Arts) since fall of 2012. She 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 throughout the United States, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. While curating for 13 years, Bradshaw was an adjunct professor in the photography department at Columbia College Chicago where she taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in theory and criticism, color photography, senior seminar, etc. She received an MFA in photography in 2001. In 2003, she had a solo exhibition of herScar series at the International Museum of Surgical Science. After focusing many years on parenting, curating, and teaching Bradshaw is back in the studio and deeply invested in her work. In the Fall of 2018 Bradshaw had a solo exhibition of her Outcry project at the DePaul Art Museum September-December. This exhibition was written about in the Chicago Tribune and her process for this social practice project was illustrated on a segment for public TV, WTTW’s, Chicago Tonight. She also had a solo show of Outcry at the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University and at The Show Gallery in the Twin Cities, both in 2019. The latter was reviewed on MPR’s Art Hounds and in the Star Tribune. Her photographs can be found in the permanent collections of the DePaul Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago, several private collectors, and have been published and/or reviewed in the New York Times, Columbia College’s 6×6 series, Time Out New York, New City, the MCA Chicago catalog for The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music 1965-Now, and the Chicago Tribune. In 1991 Bradshaw attained a BA in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Eastern Illinois, a program she spearheaded and was one of the first to graduate with a degree in. She also worked in various capacities as a social worker across the city of Chicago. In 2001 she was named one of the top 10 MFA candidates and awarded the College Art Association Regional MFA Exhibition at UIC’s Gallery 400. Some of her artwork can be viewed at whitneybradshaw.com

Melina Ausikaitis
Wearable Sculptures

Melina Ausikaitis is a multidisciplinary artist and musician from Chicago. She has exhibited and performed all over the country and traveled the world playing in her band Joan of Arc. She is as much an inventor/historian as an artist. Check out her drawings, videos, sculptures, garments and Halloween costumes at melinaausikaitis.com

Kayce Bayer
Drawing by Design + Senior Seminar: Professional Development

Kayce is an artist educator, designer and mom. She studied Studio Art (and music, too!) at Florida State University, and earned her MFA from Memphis College of Art in Tennessee. Her practice is varied, working across media and collaborating with artists, writers, musicians, and community members to explore personal stories, histories, places, and art experience outside of institutional spaces. Kayce has over 15 years experience as an arts and design educator and is honored to spend her days with the amazing young people at The Chicago High School for the Arts! In all creative pursuits – as teacher, collaborator, maker – Kayce sees art as a place to inspire curiosity and critical literacy.

Jeanne Donegan
Digital Photography I

Jeanne Donegan is an image based artist and educator living in Chicago. She received her BFA from the University of Connecticut, her home state, and her MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. In 2016/2017 she held an artist residency at Lillstreet Art Center, where she is now the Director of the Photography Department and runs a photographic artist lecture series titled, Discourse. Her work has been exhibited at venues such as Hyde Park Art Center and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL; The Pitch Project in Milwaukee, WI; The Madison Public Library in Madison, WI; and Honolulu Art Museum School in Honolulu, HI. She has been interviewed by various online and print publications such as Sixty Inches From Center, Wave-pool, Fotographia, Facets Features, and Art Ascent: Art & Literature Journal. Her experimental film works have screened in the Chicago Underground Film Festival at Logan Theater and Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3, which premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017.

Megan Greene
AP Drawing + Painting

A native of Buffalo, NY, Megan Greene graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1998, and earned an MFA degree from Rutgers University in 2002. Ms. Greene is represented by Regards in Chicago and Kinz Tillou Fine Art in New York. She is also the mother of twin girls.

Megan Kalmes
Painting I + Drawing III

Megan Kalmes is an artist and educator living and working in Chicago. Megan works traditionally with oil on canvas. Her paintings are figurative and often depict a feminine protagonist entranced within her own psyche – a sort of psychological landscape. Megan loves art history and embraces the fundamentals of painting and drawing. She believes that figuration can be more than a reflection of the self or of society; transcending beyond mere representation to a place of greater sensitivity and call upon the nature of being. The act of self-reviewing is present in Megan’s personal work and in her teaching. Her painting practice informs her communication with students providing enrichment and development from a place of emotional investment. Megan has taught with the Early College Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. Megan also has experience with after-school programming working with vulnerable and at-risk youth groups. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Minor in Art History from Clarke University. Megan also holds Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio and an MFA in Painting from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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
Contemporary Practices + Digital Media

Kera MacKenzie is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in film, video, live broadcast and installation. Her works have explored radical subjectivities, the mechanisms of empathy, suspense, liveness, and control. She has screened and exhibited at spaces including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Anthology Film Archives and UnionDocs (New York City), the MassArt Film Society (Boston), Microlights (Milwaukee), Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival, La lumière collective (Montreal), Cellular Cinema (Minneapolis), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Nightingale, and Chicago Underground Film Festival (all Chicago). Kera has been an artist in residence at The Luminary (St. Louis), ACRE (Wisconsin), Culturia (Berlin), and most recently at Signal Culture (Owego, NY). 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 live-streaming television network (ACRETV.org), and an educator.

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/.

Devin Mays
3D Material Studies

Devin Mays holds a B.B.A in International Business and Marketing from Howard University. After receiving his degree, he worked in advertising developing brand strategies and commercials for the better part of a decade. He returned to school to pursue an M.F.A in studio practice from the University of Chicago where he graduated in 2016. There he began an auto-ethnographic exploration of material and memory, which he often refers to as gestures. Since then he has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Lowe Art Museum, University of Florida; Nahmad Projects, London; NADA Miami, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; Regards Chicago and collaborated with the Rebuild Foundation as a designer and contributor for exhibitions and publications. He currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. http://regardsgallery.com/artists/devin-mays/

Rebecca Memoli
Photomechanics

Rebecca Memoli is a Chicago based photographer and curator.  She received her BFA in Photography from Pratt Institute in 2006 and soon after co-founded The Blood Dumpster Artist Collective in Brooklyn, NY. As a curator, Memoli has organized several group exhibitions and art happenings in New York, Kansas City and Chicago.  Her work has been shown in group art exhibitions throughout the US and in Chile.  She has had three solo exhibitions including one at the New York Public Library, Mulberry Branch. In 2017 Memoli received her MFA in Photography from Columbia College and received the Albert P. Weisman Award for her ongoing curatorial project, The Feeling is Mutual.  She currently works as a Teaching Artist at Lillstreet Art Center and Chicago Public School’s Advanced Art Program at Gallery 37.  Her gallery reviews can be read on the New Art Examiner website.

Dave Musgrave
Sculpture I

BFA, 2011, School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL; MFA, 2016, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Exhibitions: NURTUREart Gallery, NYC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Parson Paris Gallery, Paris; VideoFag, Toronto; Defibrillator, Chicago; Enemy, Chicago

David Nasca
AP Sculpture + Sculpture II
David Nasca is a visual artist working primarily in sculpture. He studied at Deep Springs College and received a BA with Honors in Studio Art from the University of Chicago in 2012. He has exhibited in the US and abroad at the Centro Cultural del México Contemporáneo (Mexico City), The International Museum of Surgical Science (Chicago), and Sullivan Galleries (Chicago), among others. He has also co-run two DIY spaces, 1618 West 17th (focusing on queer performance art) and Showboat (focusing on projected video work). www.davidnasca.com
Alison Rigell
AP Art History + Intro to Art History + 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. alisonlenore.carbonmade.com
Travis Rothe
AP Visual Communications

Travis Rothe is a visual designer, creative director, and human-centered design strategist. Travis studied Graphic Design and French Language + Culture at Northern Kentucky University, earned a BFA in Visual Communications from The Illinois Institute of Art–Chicago, and received an MDM (Master of Design Methods) from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology. Travis has worked as a creative director and visual designer in various industries and with a variety of clients including: performing arts organizations, museums and foundations, publishing, media, political/social justice campaigns, and higher education. He has received numerous awards for design excellence in magazine design, branding, and marketing communications, including an AZBEE award for best magazine redesign. Travis encourages visual communication students to consider design not only as a means for communicating the now, but also as a tool for introducing the new. www.travisrothe.com

Moises Salazar
The Mural: History and Practice
Moises Salazar is a non-binary queer artist from in Chicago. They currently attend the School of the Art Institute’s Undergraduate Program were they primarily focus in ceramic sculpture and painting. Being born queer and to immigrant parents has cemented a conflict within Moises Salazar’s political identity, which is the conceptual focus of their practice. The work of Moises Salazar is meant to to showcase the trauma, history, and current state that undocumented immigrants and queer folk face. It is by examining the intersections of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, queerness and the United States history that Moises Salazar addresses the reality of the barriers that immigrants and queer individuals face with the intention to begin to dismantle the myths and stereotypes used to criminalize and dehumanize them. https://www.moisessalazar.com/
Nick Wylie
Senior Professional Development

Nick Wylie is an artist, administrator, and educator based in Chicago. He currently serves as Managing Director for Public Media Institute, where he helps takes care of a nonprofit art center (Co-Prosperity Sphere), a radio station (Lumpen Radio), and magazine publisher (Lumpen). Wylie received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, did post-baccalaureate work in Art History at Northwestern University, and went to the University of Illinois at Chicago for his MFA. In 2006 he co-founded Harold Arts, a Chicago-based non-profit arts organization with a residency in Ohio, and was its co-director until early 2010. He then co-founded ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), a 501(c)3 with residency in rural Wisconsin and an extensive exhibition program in Chicago. Wylie served as co-director of ACRE until moving to San Francisco and joining its Board of Directors in 2015. From 2015-18 he served as Associate Director Southern Exposure, a nonprofit, artist-run gallery, and art education space in San Francisco, and before that was from 2012-2015 the Founding Artistic Director at Mana Contemporary Chicago, a large art center in the Pilsen neighborhood. He has taught studio art and arts administration courses at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of St Francis. Wylie’s art practice, which incorporates video technology, performance, drawing, and queer futurity, has haunted galleries in Chicago and beyond for the past fifteen years. His work currently focuses on Elmer Ellsworth, a dandy abolitionist and lover of Lincoln, who was first to die in the Civil War after taking down a giant confederate flag flying in Alexandria VA. Mr. Wylie’s writings and projects can be found on publicmediainstitute.com