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2012 National Conference Breakout Sessions Chairs and Presenters
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Conference Session Chairs and Presenters
 
 

Creating a Spark Session Chair:

Bethany Lynn Corey, University of Texas at Austin/SPARK! Theatre Ensemble

Bio: Bethany Lynn Corey is a second year MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin where much of her current research surrounds Theatre for the Very Young. Bethany spends much of her time creating Theatre for the Very Young and teaching classroom residencies and professional development workshops for the Drama for Schools program. She has worked nationally and internationally as an actress, director and teaching artist. A longtime member of AATE she is a co-chair for the International Network.


Session Presenters:

Meg Greene, University of Texas at Austin/SPARK! Theatre Ensemble

Bio: Meg Greene is a first year MFA candidate in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at UT Austin and the assistant director for SPARK! Theatre Ensemble, a group focused on creating work for the very young. A graduate of Ohio State University she has worked extensively as an actor and a teaching artist. As a teaching artist, she has taught various topics in theater and creative writing with all ages with Columbus Children's Theatre, Ohio State's Theatre Extension Program, Arena Stage, Young Playwrights' Theater, Adventure Theatre, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and Imagination Stage.

Envisioning the InQUEERsive Classroom Session Chair:
Daniel Mahler, The Theater Offensive

Bio: Daniel Mahler is a second year graduate student in Theater Education at Emerson College, in Boston, MA. He will be receiving his Master's degree in May of 2012. In addition to being a student, Daniel works as a teaching artist with True Colors. Daniel completed his undergraduate work at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he studied the intersection of theatre, community, and education. This is his second time attending an AATE conference.


Session Presenters:

Zohar Fuller, The Theater Offensive

Bio: Zohar Fuller is currently the Assistant Director of True Colors at The Theater Offensive. She is a Boston based director, playwright, actor and theater educator. Zohar holds a B.A. from Brandeis University in Theatre for Social Change. She has worked with the Experimental Theatre Foundation in India creating devised street-theatre with children, created community-based theatre with the Cornerstone Theatre Company in L.A., and worked with the Drama-Play Connection in making theatre with children who have autism or Asperger's syndrome. Zohar also was a founding member of the Brandeis Playback Theatre society for four years.


Evelyn Francis, The Theater Offensive

Bio: Evelyn Francis, Director of Programs at The Theater Offensive, an LGBTQ theater company based in Boston.  Evelyn holds a master's degree in theatre education from Emerson College and a BEST certificate in Youth Work. In addition to her work with TTO, she has served as an arts manager and teaching artist at organizations throughout Boston. As the former Director of True Colors: Out Youth Theater, a program of TTO for LGBTQ youth ages 14-22, Evelyn leads long-term visioning and planning for all programs of the organization, and continues to work as the lead teaching artist for True Colors summer programming.


Nick Bazo, The Theater Offensive

Bio: Nick Bazo, recently hired as Assistant Director of Programs and Director of True Colors at The Theater Offensive, worked with True Colors for over two years as a graduate intern and teaching artist. He previously was Manager of School Programs at the CitiCenter for the Performing Arts in Boston, managed the after school CitiSpotlights program, and provided direct theater instruction using collective creation methodologies in various Boston neighborhoods. He holds an MFA in theater performance from the University of Central Florida and wrote his graduate thesis on LGBT youth theater programs across the nation (including True Colors).

Overcoming Difference and Charging Ahead Session Chair:
Laurie Melnik, Southeast Center for Education in the Arts

Bio: Laurie is the Director of Theatre Education for the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In her role at SCEA, she mentors K-12 teachers to integrate theatre into their curriculum and rethink their classrooms as a place for active learning


Session Presenters:

Diana Torres, Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education

Bio: Diana Torres graduated from the National University of Fine Arts in Mexico City with a Theatre Arts major in Acting. She worked as an actor in theatre, film and television, and taught acting classes to the multimedia students in Simon Bolivar University until she moved to United States in the year of 2000. For the last eleven years she has dedicated her work as a Theatre Arts teacher at the Sallie B. Howard School, a K-8 charter that serves nearly 900 students each year where she continues to teach and also serves as their Arts and Humanities Coordinator.


Activating Literature Session Chair:
Mara Richards, The New Victory Theater

Bio: Mara Richards is the Education Manager for Curriculum and Resources at The New Victory Theater. Mara oversees educator resources and creates the School ToolTM resource guides. She holds a BFA in Drama (NYU), an MA in Performance Studies (NYU), and an MS in Educational Theatre (CCNY) with Initial Certification in Theatre for grades Pre K-12. Before returning to grad school in 2008 for Educational Theatre, Mara worked in arts fundraising for 8 years. You can follow Mara on twitter @maranyc123.


Strengthening our Professional Development Practice Session Chair:
Merissa Stewart, Adventure Stage Chicago

Bio: Merissa Stewart has been the Director of Education at Adventure Stage Chicago for the past 4 years. She has worked with Chicago theaters, schools and arts organizations as a curriculum writer, teaching artist, advisor, and mentor. In fall of 2008 she co-founded the Chicago Arts Educator Forum (CAEF) which provides networking and professional development opportunities to Arts Education Administrators. Merissa is currently the AATE professional development network co-chair and served on the Illinois Theatre Association board as a Children's Theatre representative from 2009-2011. Merissa earned her BA and MA from UCLA and K-12 Teaching Credentials from Santa Clara University.


Session Presenters:

Laurie Melnik, Southeast Center for Education in the Arts

Bio: Laurie is the Director of Theatre Education for the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In her role at SCEA, she mentors K-12 teachers to integrate theatre into their curriculum and rethink their classrooms as a place for active learning.


Beings and Becomings Session Chair:
Stephani Etheridge Woodson, ASU

Bio: Dr. Stephani Etheridge Woodson is an associate professor in the School of Theatre and Film teaching in the Theatre for Youth M.F.A. and Ph.D. programs where she specializes in community based drama. Her research and creative interests focus on the social construction of childhood through performance, representational ethics, children's media environments, and the group creation and performance of original work. She is the associate director of ArtsWork: the Kax Herberger Center for Children & the Arts where she directs the Asphalt Arts and iCreate programs.


Session Presenters:

Teresa Minarsich, ASU

Bio: Teresa Minarsich completed her third year in the TFY PhD program at ASU this year. Teresa received her Masters degree in Education at Pepperdine University and her B.A. in Theatre from Seattle University. Her current research involves creating theatre with youth by incorporating Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, puppetry and a blend of other art forms in order to explore girlhood and gender construction.


Enza Giannone, ASU

Bio: Enza Giannone has been a theatre artist working with young people in CT, NYC and abroad for over 14 years. She has, happily, just completed her third year as a Ph.D. student in ASU's TFY program. Enza has performed in NYC, Hartford, and Little Rock. Most recently she has taught and directed for the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Hartford Children's Theatre and Oddfellows Playhouse in CT. She holds a MA in Educational Theatre and a BFA in Drama from NYU.


Asantewa Sunni-Ali, ASU

Bio: Bronx born and Atlanta raised, Asantewa Sunni-Ali is a second year student in the Theatre for Youth doctoral program. Her research interests include: theatre as a tool of empowerment and social change, children's experiences and cultural hegemony. She is particularly interested in how these subjects intersect, which she plans to explore in her dissertation project.


Troy Dobosiewicz, ASU

Bio: Troy Dobosiewicz is originally from South Bend, IN.  He received his BA in communication from the University of Dayton, his MA in theatre from the University of Illinois, and he completed the Atlantic Theatre Acting School's (NYC) summer intensive in actor training.  Before entering the TFY PhD program at ASU, he was an adjunct instructor of acting at Northern Virginia Community College for six years and taught theatre, speech, and English at the secondary level.


Dramatic Play for Development Session Chair:
Tina Ulrich, The University of Texas at Austin

Bio: Tina Ulrich is an M.F.A. candidate in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also completing a graduate portfolio program in Autism and Developmental Disabilities Studies. She also works as a behavior therapist at the Children's Autism Center in Round Rock, Texas, and is pursuing behavior analyst certification. Tina's research explores the applications for drama and theatre strategies to enhance play interactions while strengthening social and communication skills for children on the autism spectrum. 


Session Presenters:

Ben Hardin, The University of Texas at Austin

Bio: Ben Hardin is an M.F.A. candidate in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at the University of Texas at Austin. Ben arrived in Austin from Traverse City, Michigan, where he worked as an advisor to the Thespian Club (member: International Thespian Society) at Traverse City West High School, a guest teacher, coach, and teacher's assistant in a classroom for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Exploration of voice and agency drives his work, and a background in philosophy inspires and informs Ben's current research on the nature of identity and its construction through performance.


Middle School Methods Session Chair:
Paul Ashley, Wingspan Art

Bio: Paul Ashley has been a key member of Wingspan Arts' growth as an arts education provider in the New York region for the past 7 years. In his time with Wingspan he has been involved as a teaching artist, site director, Director of Afterschool Programs, Education Director and – as part of the summer conservatory – directed Blood Brothers, How To Succeed and choreographed The IT Girl.


Session Presenters:

Jessica Bailey, Wingspan Arts

Bio: As Education Program Director, Jessica designs and implements in-school arts curriculum in elective and integrative programs.

Before the world of Wingspan, Jessica was a teacher in a middle school classroom in the South Bronx. There, she learned the necessity of cross-curricular teaching learning. She watched her students become truly invested in academic projects that included elements of dance, music, theatre or visual art. Jessica is committed to introducing students to the arts and working to ensure every child has the opportunity to explore their interests.


Calling All Education Directors Session Chair:
Ali Oliver-Krueger & Ashley Forman, InterAct Story Theatre (ali); Arena Stage (Ashley)

Bio: Ali Oliver-Krueger is a teaching artist, director, writer and recovering opera singer.  She is also the General Director of InterAct Story Theatre, an arts-in-education organization and theatre for young audiences based in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Ali is currently the co-chair of AATE's Professional Theatre network and is hard at work on her next puppet opera, about bunnies who can't sleep and the woodland critters who love them. 


Dorothy Heathcote Session Chair:
Carmine Tabone, Educational Arts Team

Bio: Carmine Tabone, Director of the Educational Arts Team, has conducted theater projects with young people since 1970. He has implemented three USDOE Arts-in-Education grants (2005-present) for 2nd to 7th grade students and teachers and written 2 handbooks that include theater arts integration lessons and strategies.

His 2003 YTJ article, Pop-Up Puppet Theater, documented how the use of puppets doubled the number of 4th graders passing the state standardized language arts test scores in the Jersey City Public Schools over a two-year period. 

In 2010 Carmine and three researchers from Seton Hall University received the AATE Research Award.


Session Presenters:

Brian Edmiston, Ohio State University

Bio: Dr. Brian Edmiston is Professor of Drama in Education at The Ohio State University, the author or coauthor of three books, and the recipient of both teaching and research awards. Brian identifies as a British-Irish-American Quaker. A former secondary and elementary teacher, since 1984 when he received his master's degree after a year-long course with Dorothy Heathcote, his research and writing has analyzed his own, and other teachers', uses of drama in classrooms P-12, especially those pedagogies inspired by Heathcote.


Process Drama as a Pre-reading Strategy in the Elementary Classroom Session Chair:
Brenda Rosler, Ph. D., Ashland University

Bio: Brenda Rosler is a former urban elementary school teacher who found that using process drama transformed her classroom. She now tries to inspire other teachers to use process drama in their classrooms.


Charging Ahead Session Chair:
Emily Freeman, The University of Texas at Austin

Bio: Emily Freeman is currently in school at the University of Texas at Austin in their Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities MFA program. She's a playwright, teaching artist, collaborator and devised theatre artist, applied theatre practitioner, and has been a member of AATE since 2008. She's currently researching LGBTQ representation in TYA and how we talk about modern families with our young audiences. She also has a great interest in unconventional and creative uses of technology in our field.


Session Presenters:

Sarah Coleman,
Noah Martin,
Bethany Lynn Corey,
Elizabeth Schildkret


Provocative Histories Session Chair:
Jennifer Chapman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bio: Dr. Manon van de Water (PhD in Theatre, Arizona State University; Drs. in Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Leiden, The Netherlands) teaches courses in theatre for youth and theatre research, and directs and supervises the theatre for young audiences productions. She is chair of the International Theatre for Young Audience Research Network (ITYARN:ASSITEJ) and is widely published.


Session Presenters:

Andy Wiginton, ABD, MFA, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bio: PhD Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison; MFA  Sarah Lawrence College; 2010 Winifred Ward Scholar; Program Director, Savvy Theatre Works.
Michelle Solberg-Ford, ABD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bio: PhD Candidate, Theatre

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Joohee Park, PhD, Independent Scholar

Bio: Ph.D. UW-Madison, Specialization in Korean Theatre
Mary McAvoy, ABD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bio: Mary McAvoy (mcavoy@wisc.edu) is a dissertator in Theatre Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she specializes in radical histories and ideologies within theatre and performance for young people. She recently assistant edited the 2011 publication, TYA, Culture, Society: International Essays on Theatre for Young Audiences.


THE OSU/RSC Stand Up Shakespeare Partnership Program Session Chair:
Chelsea Phillips, Ohio State University, Department of Theatre

Bio: Chelsea Phillips is a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State University, focusing on the use of Shakespeare in education. She has been working with the RSC's Stand Up for Shakespeare program for the last two years.


Session Presenters:

Charlesanne Rabensburg


Devised Theatre Session Chair:
Jennifer Nario, Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts

Bio: Jennifer Nario teaches at Kinsella in Hartford. NYU Educational Theatre graduate, Master's at City College, studied Elementary/Early Childhood Education, Theatre Performance and Latino Studies at Northeastern. Worked for Boston Theatre Works, New York Stage & Film, New Victory, Society of the Educational Arts/Sociedad Educativa de las Artes, Theatre Development Fund and Hartford Stage as a producer, director, actor or teaching artist. Nario presented at Hispanic Leadership Institute, Ethnotheatre/Theatre for Social Justice, Drama Across the Curriculum, PTO and past AATE conferences. Currently teaches CCSU workshops on teaching through drama and is researching using theatre for conflict resolution with elementary/middle school students.


Improbable Players Session Chair:
Lynn Bratley, Improbable Players

Bio: Lynn Bratley is Artistic Director of Improbable Players, a theater company she founded in 1984. She earned her BA in Drama from University of Washington and her M.Ed. in Theater Education from Tufts University. She develops new plays about substance abuse prevention with actors who are, like Lynn, people in recovery.


New Research in Secondary Theatre Education Session Chair:
Matt Omasta, Utah State University

Bio: Matt Omasta is Assistant Professor at Utah State University, where he leads the Theatre Education program.  He is co-chair of AATE's College/University/Research network and Treasurer of the American Educational Research Association's Arts & Inquiry in Visual & Performing Arts Special Interest Group.  His recent articles appear in Youth Theatre Journal, the International Journal of Education & the Arts, and TYA/Today.


Session Presenters:
Joan Lazarus, University of Texas / Austin

Bio: Joan Lazarus teaches and heads the teacher education program at The University of Texas at Austin. Joan has been President of AATE and Co-Chair of the AATE Think Tank on Education of Teachers of Theatre and served on a number of national boards and advisory committees. She has spoken at national and international conferences and is the author of books on theatre education including a newly revised and amplified edition of Signs of Change: New Directions in Secondary Theatre Education to be released in 2012.
Amy Petersen Jensen, Brigham Young University

Bio: Amy Petersen Jensen is Associate Professor in the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University in the United States, where she serves as the Theatre and Media Arts Department Chair.  She is the author of Theatre in a Media Culture: Production, Performance and Perception Since 1970 (Mcfarland, 2007) and the Co-author and co-editor of (Re) imagining Literacies for Content- area Classrooms (Teachers College Press, 2010).
Johnny Saldana, Arizona State University

Bio: Johnny Saldana is a Professor of Theatre in the School of Theatre and Film at Arizona State University. He is the author of Drama of Color: Improvisation with Multiethnic Folklore (Heinemann, 1995); Longitudinal Qualitative Research: Analyzing Change Through Time (AltaMira Press, 2003); Ethnodrama: An Anthology of Reality Theatre (AltaMira Press, 2005); The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers (Sage Publications, 2009); Fundamentals of Qualitative Research (Oxford University Press, 2011); and Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage (Left Coast Press, 2011). He is currently preparing the second edition of The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers for publication by Sage in winter 2012.


Dramaturgy in the Classroom Session Chair:

Michele Mummert, Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists

Bio: Michele Mummert is the Assistant Director for the Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists as well as the co- Regional Director for Georgia Wolf Trap.  An arts educator for over 15 fifteen years, she has completed  CETA certification (Changing Education Through the Arts)  at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, a  GCA (Georgia Council for Arts) consultant, a grant panelist for the BCA(Bureau of Cultural Affairs, City of Atlanta) and an active Georgia Wolf Trap teaching artist.  Michele holds a  Post Baccalaureate degree in  Education from Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA and a BA in Communications from Loyola University, New Orleans, LA,

Session Presenters:

Kim Bowers-Rheay-Baran, Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists

Bio: Resident Teaching Artist for the Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists, Georgia Wolf Trap teaching artist and a consultant/teaching artist for Georgia Council for the Arts.  Kim is also a professional singer, actress and a certified Montessori teacher.  Favorite roles/shows include Aldonza in "Man of La Mancha", Della in "Della's Diner", Tessie Tura in the Actor's Express production of "Gypsy", Mary Magdalene in "Jesus Christ Superstar", Candide at the Alliance Theatre and numerous Theatre of the Stars productions at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.  National tours include Nimue in "Camelot" starring Robert Goulet, Sarah in "Quilters", "The Music Man", starring Barry Williams and "Hello Dolly" starring Madeline Kahn.

Previously, Kim was the assistant educational director for the Center for Puppetry Arts and creative arts director and lower elementary teacher for a private Montessori school in Fayetteville, GA.    Kim received her bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma and her Montessori certification from the National Center for Montessori Education in Atlanta. 


UNspoken Stories Session Chair:
Anita Dashiell-Sparks, USC School of Theatre

Bio: Anita Dashiell-Sparks is a graduate of the prestigious New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program.  She is a Maryland Distinguished Scholar who pursued undergraduate work at the University of Maryland at College Park earning a degree in theatre.

As an actor based in New York and Los Angeles, she has graced the stage on Broadway, off-Broadway, and regional theatres.She has also guest starred in numerous television shows and independent films.

In Academia, Anita has taught at Barnard College, NY; guest lectured in undergraduate drama at NYU; and recently performed and led theatre workshops at St. Mary of the Woods College; DePauw University; and Indiana State University. She is currently an Assitant Professor of Performance for USC's School of Theatre. 

As an arts educator, Anita has received grants from the Fox Foundation; USC Good Neighbors Campaign to create after-school theater arts programs and develop arts curriculum for Penny Lane, Dreamyard Drama Project, and TADA! Theatre & Dance in NY.


Common Core and Common Sense Session Chair:
Beth Murray, UNC Charlotte

Bio: Beth Murray is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Education at UNC Charlotte.


Session Presenters:

Ellen Loflin, First Ward Visual & Performing Arts Elementary School, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

Bio: Ellen Loflin is the Arts Integration Facilitator at First Ward Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School in Charlotte, NC.


Using Drama-Based Instruction to Engage Early Learners Session Chair:
Bethany Lynn Corey, University of Texas at Austin

Bio: Bethany Lynn Corey is a second year MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin where much of her current research surrounds Theatre for the Very Young. Bethany spends much of her time creating Theatre for the Very Young and teaching classroom residencies and professional development workshops for the Drama for Schools program. She has worked nationally and internationally as an actress, director and teaching artist. A longtime member of AATE she is a co-chair for the International Network.


Charging Ahead and Taking the Reins Session Chair:
Emily Freeman, The University of Texas at Austin

Bio: Emily Freeman is currently in school at the University of Texas at Austin in their Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities MFA program. She's a playwright, teaching artist, collaborator and devised theatre artist, applied theatre practitioner, and has been a member of AATE since 2008. She's currently researching LGBTQ representation in TYA and how we talk about modern families with our young audiences. She also has a great interest in unconventional and creative uses of technology in our field.


Session Presenters:

Sarah Coleman,
Noah Martin,
Bethany Lynn Corey


Charging Ahead with Drama-Based Instruction/Creative Drama Session Chair:

Lindsay Hearn, University of Texas at Austin

Bio: Lindsay Hearn is a teaching artist, director, and scholar pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her BA in Theatre from Northwestern, followed by work with Young Audiences Indiana's Summer Arts for Youth program and in the education department at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland. At UT, Lindsay's work centers on defining youth success both in and outside of the classroom, particularly from the perspectives of director and teacher.


Session Presenters:

Lara Dosset, University of Texas at Austin

Bio: Lara Dossett is teaching artist and scholar pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities at The University of Texas at Austin.  Hailing originally from Chicago, Lara has worked with Steppenwolf, Northlight and Writers' Theatres to develop theatre education programs, create curriculum and teach in-school residencies. Lara is a graduate of Illinois State University and studied in London with the English Touring Theatre. Currently Lara is engaged in explorations of drama-based instruction in public schools. Her goal is to empower every student to live more presently; to be active participants in their lives and their communities.


Costume Parade Session Chair:
Trudy Wheeler, Kentucky Country Day School

Bio: Ms. Wheeler is currently the Middle School Drama Director at Kentucky Country Day School. She has an MFA in Drama from The Dalllas Theater Center and Trinity University.  A former university professor she has also worked as a professional actress and director in Louisville,Dallas, Ft.Worth and Cincinnati. She is a member of AATE and EdTA. Under her supervision, the KCD Middle School Drama Society has been awarded the Dina Rees Evans Theatre in the Schools Award three times and two national awards from EdTA.  Ms. Wheeler is a past recipient of the Lin Wright Special Recognition Award.


Session Presenters:

Sawsan Abu Gosseisa, Kentucky Country Day School

Bio: Sawsan is the resident costume designer for Kentucky Country Day School.  She has over 20 years of experience designing and constructing costumes for children's theatre and theatre for young audiences.  She has also designed costumes for contestants in the Miss Kentucky Pageant.  Some of the shows for which she was the principle designer are:  ZINK, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND, THE ZEBRA; A WOMAN CALLED TRUTH; MULAN,JR;  ALADDIN,JR.; RADIUM GIRLS; AFRICAN TALES OF EARTH AND SKY; TO SEE THE STARS and many, many more.

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