Faculty Bios

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2018 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Kate Church

Visual Art – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description 

For more than twenty years, Kate Church has been combining the line and form of sculpture with the playful animation of puppetry—a combination she first stumbled into while working with the renowned international children’s puppetry company the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Church has also spent time in Mexico, where she has worked in multiple disciplines, including life drawing, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, and painting. She created figures for P’lovers stores throughout the Maritimes, where she first began to sell her work. Later she worked with Cirque du Soleil, who sold her original figures and reproductions at their retail shops and shows around the world. Church currently spends considerable time travelling and teaching. In her classes, she openly shares the techniques she uses to make her signature work, as well as the methods she has developed over the years.




Michael Culloton

Music – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Michael Culloton is an assistant professor of music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he conducts the Concordia Chapel Choir, Kantorei, and Cantabile; mentors music education students; teaches church music courses; and advises the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Along with his duties at Concordia College, Culloton is artistic director and conductor of the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists and also conducts the Trinity Lutheran Church Cathedral Choir. He earned a doctorate in musical arts from North Dakota State University, where he studied with Jo Ann Miller and Michael Weber. He has been recognized as the Minnesota American Choral Directors Association Young Conductor of the Year and has also received the VocalEssence Creative Programming Award from that organization. In 2009, he was a featured conductor in Never Stop Singing, a documentary about the history of choral music in Minnesota.





Sheila Donahue

Music – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Sheila Donahue is a retired Texas music educator. During the final ten years of her thirty-four-year career, she served as director of fine arts for Killeen Independent School District in Killeen, Texas, a district she also served as a teacher and an administrator for twenty-nine years. Donahue has experience teaching elementary music, middle school band, and middle school choir. Donahue is also a published composer and arranger of choral music for young choirs. Her work is published by both Carl Fischer Music Publishing and Alliance Music Publishing. She has taught instructional pedagogy courses for teachers of students in kindergarten to eighth grade throughout the state of Texas and at James Madison University in Virginia. In her retirement, she continues to provide professional education classes for school districts around the state. Donahue also sings lead in the Chisholm Trail Chorus of Sweet Adelines International, a women’s barbershop organization.





Victoria Englehart

Visual Art – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description 

Victoria Englehart holds degrees in holistic education and art education and is a National Board-certified kindergarten to twelfth grade art teacher. She recently retired from thirty years of teaching in Florida’s Broward County Schools. During her career, she has taught elementary through high school students in Ohio, Massachusetts, and Florida, as well as college students at Kent State University in Ohio and Broward College in Florida. She has illustrated nine children’s books—the most recent being one she also wrote called Whose Shoes? She has received numerous grants and awards including Project Help Teacher of the Year and Metro PCS Teacher of the Year. She was also one of three finalists for Broward County Arts Teacher of the year. Recently, she was named delegate for the International Women's Leadership Association. She currently teaches at Studio Spade where she continues to help students build their own paths thru art education. She is passionate about art and continues to guide and encourage students to develop and empower themselves by creating their own personal processes.





David L. Gamble

Visual Art – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

David Gamble has spent more than four decades balancing art and business in the ceramic industry. He has developed products, written many articles, and designed and conducted marketing campaigns, while continuously making clay art and teaching students. David and his wife Tracy share a home and studio in a converted 1886 Indiana church, which was recently featured in an article in Ceramics Monthly. Gamble has conducted hundreds of workshops in Canada and the United States and has helped organize and participate in five clay symposiums in Eastern Europe. He has recently presented workshops in Alaska, Finland, and at both Arrowmont and Penland craft schools. His artwork has been seen in gallery shows, exhibitions, and numerous publications. With degrees in both education and the fine arts, Gamble is adding an educational focus in his work with the retail stores Skutt Kilns and Pottery Wheels. He considers his current ceramic work as sketches and paintings that happen to be on clay with glazes being used like paint.




Tracy Gamble

Visual Art – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description

Tracy Gamble has been teaching, designing, producing, and selling clay for thirty years. She has worked as an actor, singer, and dancer for many years and has been a member of Actors’ Equity since 1984. She has also worked in theatre, commercials, industrials, and films in Chicago and the Midwest. Gamble combined clay and theatre in The Pottery Fairy Tale, a one-act play performed at the potters’ wheel in elementary schools, theatres, children’s museums, and at special events. For the last twenty years, she has been teaching workshops as well as consulting on commercial glazes around the world with the American Art Clay Company, Inc. (AMACO). She has also written many articles and been featured in advertisements for AMACO in Pottery Making Illustrated, Ceramics Monthly, and Arts & Activities.





Quincy Hilliard

Music – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Quincy Hilliard is composer-in-residence and the Heymann Endowed Professor of Music at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. For many years, he has been recognized by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers for the unusually frequent performance of his compositions. Hilliard is regularly invited to conduct, demonstrate effective techniques, and adjudicate festivals throughout the world. His compositions for wind band are published by a variety of well-known publishers and have included many publications for band students. In 2014, Hilliard received the prestigious Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award in the Classical Music Division. He is frequently commissioned to compose works, including one for the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta and a score for the documentary film The Texas Rangers. In 2008, he was commissioned by the Library of Congress to compose a work in celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.





Karen Howard

Music – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Karen Howard is an assistant professor of music at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received degrees from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, and from the University of Washington. Howard taught elementary music for twenty years in Connecticut and Washington. She has extensive training in global vocal, instrumental, and dance traditions from many music cultures including Bulgaria, Cuba, Ghana, Tahiti, and Tanzania. Through national and international workshops, she has helped music teachers around the world to make meaningful connections with the music and dance of diverse cultures and to create learning experiences that promote and celebrate equity. Her research interests and publications include works on world music cultures, hip-hop in music education, and global dance traditions.





Noah Martin

Theatre – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Noah Martin is a teaching artist, director, and theatre maker based in Austin, Texas. His work with youth and adults is focused on collaborative theatre-making processes and creating new work that builds community and fosters meaningful social dialogue. Martin is the director of teen programs at Creative Action and the artistic director of Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble—a program that brings together teens from around Austin to create and tour original shows about violence prevention and healthy relationships. He hails from the Pacific Northwest, where he was a founder and co-artistic director of the Working Theatre Collective in Portland, Oregon. He has created and directed dozens of original shows with people of all ages in Austin, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco, including an annual bicycle pageant seen by hundreds of pedaling audience members. Martin holds a degree in theatre education from Western Washington University and a degree in drama and theatre for youth and communities from the University of Texas at Austin.





Don Masse

Visual Art – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description

Don Masse has taught at Zamorano Fine Arts Academy, a very large and diverse public elementary school in San Diego, since 2001. He is firmly committed to introducing his students to the work of contemporary artists from a variety of backgrounds and creative fields of expertise. He does so because students become better engaged with visual art content and design challenges when they can see these elements being used by artists working in today’s world. Masse is actively involved in art education communities at the local, state, and national levels, where he has presented many sessions addressing contemporary art and collaboration. He is a contributing editor for Arts & Activities, where his “Alive and Kicking” series runs on a regular basis. Masse also celebrates the work of his school community on his blog shinebritezamorano.com.





Mary McAvoy

Theatre – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Mary McAvoy is an assistant professor of theatre education and theatre for youth in the School of Film, Dance, and Theatre at Arizona State University. She heads the theatre education teacher certification program and teaches both undergraduate and graduate theatre-for-youth courses. Previously, McAvoy was an elementary drama specialist in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. She is active in the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (most recently serving as its director of research and scholarship), the American Society for Theatre Research, and the International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network. She is the co-author of Drama and Education: Performance Methodologies for Teaching and Learning and co-editor of Youth and Performance: Perceptions of the Contemporary Child.





Mark Price

Theatre – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Mark Price’s twenty-year professional career includes credits in both originating and performing roles in ten Broadway shows, as well as appearances on television, in film, and on concert stages. His extensive background has provided him with a methodology for helping students secure their own Broadway, film and television credits. Many of his students have been accepted into the country’s best graduate programs. Pulling from a variety of sources, including Viewpoints, Meisner, and sense memory, Price works with both internal and external approaches to help stimulate process-oriented results that are not just sustainable, but exciting. He is the co-founder and creator of Base Camp, a coaching intensive for creatives with life coach Di Ana Pisarri. He is also a qualified independent Vedic Meditation teacher. Teaching credits include full- and part-time faculty positions at the New York Film Academy and the Performing Arts Project. Price has conducted workshops at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Heifetz Institute, Ithaca College, Texas State University, and Wake Forest University.





Julie Scott

Music – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Julie Scott is professor of practice and co-chair of music education at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, where she teaches courses in elementary and choral music education. Before teaching at the college level, she taught elementary music and choir in Texas schools for more than twenty years. During that time, five of her elementary groups—three Orff and ensembles and two choirs—were invited to perform for the Texas Music Educators Convention. Over the past twenty-five years, Scott has taught summer Orff-Schulwerk courses to adults at eight universities and has presented more than two hundred conference sessions and workshops throughout the United States. In addition, she has presented at international conferences in Australia, China, Greece, Italy, Scotland, and Thailand. Scott is a past president of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and founder and director of SMU’s music educators workshops.





Lauren Smith

Theatre – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Lauren Smith is the learning director at Triad Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is currently building an education department from the ground up—creating infrastructure for programming that includes arts integration residencies, arts-based professional learning workshops for teachers, audience engagement activities related to the company’s mainstage season, and theatre camps and classes for young people. As part of this position, she also serves as the statewide coordinator for the Poetry Out Loud competition. She has worked as a teaching artist, professional development facilitator, and stage manager at Metro Theater Company in St. Louis, Missouri; Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota; and Drama for Schools and the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas. She has also been a guest lecturer at the University of South Australia, focusing on drama-based instruction and Shakespeare. Currently, she is working as a co-director of Bored with Strangers, a site-specific, traveling museum theatre piece that offers various entry points into experiencing visual art.





Kevin S. Warner

Theatre – Elementary/Lower Middle

Core Class Description • Interlude Description

Kevin S. Warner is chair of the department of theatre and dance at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he was recently awarded a William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations. Previously, at the State University of New York at Brockport, he served as chair of the department of dance, as director of the Interdisciplinary Arts for Children Program, and as director of the Hunter Institute on Young Children. From 2004 to 2008, Warner was program director for North Carolina’s A+ Schools Program, where he designed and implemented teacher training and professional development for a network of more than one hundred schools across the country. He is certified to teach dance from pre-kindergarten through high school and has taught both dance and third grade in public school settings in North Carolina and New York. As an artist, Warner has choreographed and performed in more than one hundred productions nationally.





Chad West

Music – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description• Interlude Description

Chad West is associate professor and chair of music education at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Before his position at the college, he served as a public school band director for eight years, as associate conductor of the Atlanta Wind Symphony, and as a trumpeter for Princess Cruise Lines. His has degrees from the University of Michigan, University of Georgia, and Arizona State University. He has published more than twenty music education journal articles and has edited two books with Oxford University Press. West is a frequent presenter at state, national, and international music education conferences on the topics of pre-service music teacher education, popular music education, and beginning band pedagogy. He currently serves on the editorial review boards of Music Educators Journal and the Journal of Music Teacher Education. He is also the reviews editor for the Journal of Popular Music Education.


Brad Willcuts

Theatre – Upper Middle/Secondary

Core Class Description• Interlude Description

Brad Willcuts is a professional director, choreographer, and fight and movement director, as well as an assistant professor of musical theatre and choreography at Michigan State University. His work as a choreographer, movement director, and stage director has been seen on Broadway and in numerous regional theatres, including Washington’s Arena Stage and the Virginia Repertory Theatre. At Michigan State, he has directed and choreographed American Idiot, Urinetown, Grease, A Grand Night for Singing, and See Rock City. As a performer, Willcuts has worked across the United States and in England as a singer, dancer and actor. In these capacities, he has performed with Bette Midler, Marvin Hamlisch, Christina Aguilera, Emily Skinner, and the international touring group the Twelve Irish Tenors, and others. His most recent creative work was for the national tour of the Broadway musical Amazing Grace. He is a member of Actor’s Equity and holds a Certificate of Figure Proficiency through Estill Voice International.