Interludes provide all Academy participants with the opportunity to receive cross-disciplinary training. Multiple workshops in each content area are open to everyone. All participants are expected to attend one 45-minute interlude session each afternoon. The interludes occur from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and from 2:20 to 3:05 p.m. on Thursday.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2017 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Conservation through the Arts: the Federal Jr. Duck Stamp Program

Presenters: Joan Howe, Sallie Adkins, Susan Woods

Sponsored by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this free program combines the arts, science, and conservation while teaching students of all grade levels about North American waterfowl and their need for healthy wetlands. This unique program culminates in an art project in which students create a duck stamp, which they then submit to an art competition that is similar to the Federal Duck Stamp competition for professional artists. All teachers are encouraged to attend this informative workshop to learn how their students can get involved in the program.

Joan Howe has worked with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for twenty-two years. Her work with the agency includes seventeen years as Tennessee’s Jr. Duck Stamp coordinator. Howe has a background in biology and is visitor services manager for Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge.

Recently retired and full of energy, Sallie Adkins is the promotions lead for Tennessee’s Jr. Duck Stamp program.

Susan Woods, a retired teacher from Benton County Schools, is working to teach and promote the Jr. Duck Stamp curriculum by helping teachers see how it can be used to achieve objectives in many areas of their school’s curricula.

Tennessee Arts Commission: Arts Education Grants and Programs

Presenter: Hal Partlow and Ann Talbott Brown

This session will provide an overview of Tennessee Arts Commission grants and programs available for educators, schools, and communities.

Hal Partlow is the associate director of grants at the Tennessee Arts Commission. In his role, he provides leadership for all arts grant programs and oversees internal agency functions related to grants. Before joining the commission, Partlow worked for twenty years as a professional actor and stage director.
Ann Talbott Brown is the director of arts education at the Tennessee Arts Commission, where she oversees seven arts education grant programs and works to support educators and students through professional development opportunities and grants. Brown is a former music teacher.

Simple Yoga to Alleviate Students’ Stress

Presenter: Chell Parkins

Participants will learn strategies for lowering student anxiety through the use of quick yoga exercises anyone can teach.

Using Social Media Technology in the Classroom

Presenter: Chell Parkins

Participants will learn how to use social media in the classroom as a simple way to engage students and advocate for performing and visual arts in schools.

Chell Parkins is a full-time dance lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, where she mentors young teachers. Before coming to Tennessee, she worked as a public school dance teacher in Texas.


It’s Alive! Integrating Technology and the Arts in Storytelling

Presenter: Sandra Adorno

Transcend the written word in this session of exploration and creativity. Participants will learn how to transform stories into original productions through visual and musical improvisation and composition. Strategies for enhancing these productions through technology will also be provided.

Academy Chorale

Presenter: Christine Bass

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Please come and join other participants as the Academy Chorale prepares a program of music to be performed at the Academy luncheon on Friday. The Academy Chorale performs under the direction of Christine Bass, the Academy’s secondary choral instructor. 

Fine Arts Week

Presenter: Dennis Glocke

A weeklong celebration of the arts is an excellent way to make connections within a fine arts department and among the various units of a school, to reach out to a community, and to give students a broad education that embraces all of the arts. This interlude will look at ways of accomplishing all of that and more.

Congratulations, You’re Teaching Strings! Now What?

Presenter: Anna Maria Miller

Explore the steps involved in designing a successful string program. What do you need? What instruments should students play? What methods and methods books work best for each age and proficiency level? This session will focus on tips and resources that will be helpful in beginning to advanced string classes.

Anna Maria Andrews Miller is in her fourteenth year with Metro Nashville Public Schools. She is the director of orchestra at Hume-Fogg Academic High School as well as Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School. Both schools have a rich history of excellence in orchestral studies and a reputation for excellence in performance.

Enjoying the Modes?

Presenter: Georgia Newlin

Students in grades kindergarten to twelfth grade can sing, play, dance, and enjoy modal music without a lot of undergraduate music theory rolling around in their heads. Participants in this session will learn tried-and-true songs and games in modes that can be used across multiple grade levels. All examples are in the public domain and free to use with students.

Let’s Rock! You Already Know the Curriculum

Presenter: Sean Smith

This session will explore practical ways of incorporating traditional music topics into modern ensembles. Since the traditional principles of music can be found even in pop and rock, using modern ensembles and pop music is a unique way to engage young musicians in the classroom.

After graduating from University of North Texas, Sean Smith moved to Nashville and began touring with established Country Music Artists, including Big and Rich and Muzik Mafi. As a composer, Smith has received awards for film composition, including a Telly and an Emmy for the short film Running Back to Forward. He has developed a successful music program at the Ensworth School in Nashville and is continuing to develop a unique curriculum that is designed to inspire and engage both teachers and students alike.

Minimal is In!

Presenter: Katy Strand

(Monday and Wednesday)
Using ideas drawn from minimalism, participants will experiment with creating stories, movement, and music. This interlude will focus on engaging higher-order thinking by integrating the arts and literature in creative play.

Movement with Middle Schoolers: Simple Ideas to Get Students Moving and Making Connections in the Classroom

Presenter: Jennifer Vannatta-Hall

Many educators and researchers agree that movement is essential to learning. This session will focus on simple, quick, and effective ways of regularly integrating movement in the classroom without requiring a lot of space. Participants will engage in hands-on activities and receive a detailed handout with tips and approaches for incorporating movement experiences into their upper-elementary and middle school curricula.

Jennifer Vannatta-Hall is currently assistant professor of music education at Middle Tennessee State University, a position she has held since August 2010. She has presented at workshops and conferences and conducted and adjudicated choral festivals all over the United States. Her research interests include early childhood music teacher education, curricular integration, and secondary general music.

From Chaos Comes Creativity

Presenter: Patrick Ware

Even chaos has rules and expectations. The key to having a dynamic and exciting classroom is neither complete freedom nor a list of rules that are too lengthy to remember. In this session, participants will create a multi-modal work of art by applying a better understanding of chaos.

Folk Dance Fun!

Presenter: Alexis Yatuzis-Derryberry

Folk dances are an active way to learn about different cultures as well as many musical concepts. Participants can come to this session with their dancing shoes on. They will experience fun folk dances as well as accompanying music activities that can be used in their general music classrooms.

Alexis Yatuzis-Derryberry is a music teacher at Lascassas Elementary, in Lascassas, Tennessee, where she will begin her fourth year this August. Prior to her current position, she taught general music and choir at Siegel Middle School for twelve years. She has been named Rutherford County Teacher of the Year in both elementary and middle school competitions. She is also an adjunct music education instructor at Middle Tennessee State University.


Physical Storytelling: How to Use Your Body to Tell a Story

Presenter: Julia Ashworth

(Monday and Wednesday)
This workshop will focus on a variety of ways for young people to approach acting and character work through their bodies. Participants will explore different ways of helping young actors become more comfortable with physical movement and working in collaboration with others.

Finger Tutting to Poetry

Presenter: Barbara Bashaw

(Monday and Wednesday)
Barbara Bashaw will demonstrate ways of leading elementary students in finger tutting and hand dancing to poetry. Light up young minds, make common core connections, and stimulate literacy learning through this choral reading and movement activity. This attention-grabbing strategy can also be used to focus students, make classroom transitions, and facilitate family involvement.

Theatre Curriculum Caring and Sharing: Kindergarten through Sixth Grade

Presenter: Nancy Beard and Nancy Essary

In this interlude, kindergarten through sixth grade teachers are encouraged to come and share their favorite classroom activities, teaching tips, and theatre lesson plans with other teachers from across the state. Theatre facilitators Nancy Beard and Nancy Essary will lead the session.

Nancy Beard is an Orff elementary music specialist. Before teaching in the Memphis City Schools, Beard taught band, chorus, and general music in Illinois and throughout Kentucky. She currently teaches at Kate Bond Elementary in the Shelby County Schools District. After having a wonderful time attending the drama sessions as a participant, Beard decided to change roles and join the Academy staff as a facilitator.

Nancy Essary teaches second grade at Thurman Francis Arts Academy, a magnet school in Rutherford County where she integrates the arts into general classroom education. In the past, Essary has enjoyed taking part in many of the Tennessee Arts Academy’s summer institutes. This year, she is participating as a facilitator with the elementary drama staff.

Building a Character: Dynamic, Physical Acting through the Michael Chekhov Technique

Presenter: Alexis Black

(Monday and Wednesday)
Exuberant and imaginative, the Michael Chekhov technique is often taught as movement technique because of its full-bodied approach to acting. Participants will experience this playful, easy-to-learn system and take home simple tools that will give students immediate access to striking character choices.

Directors in the Educational Setting

Presenter: Kevin Coleman

(Monday and Wednesday)
In this presentation, Kevin Coleman will discuss the professional model of directors in school settings. He will also talk about new and more appropriate roles directors can play when introducing their students to the art of theatre.

Playing with your Food: Dinner Table Drama Strategies

Presenter: Lara Dossett

(Monday and Wednesday)
In this session, teachers will learn arts integrated games that they can then teach to the parents of their students. These creative activities are simple, fun, and will give parents the opportunity to connect with their children and their academic learning. Experiencing these activities first-hand will enable participants to learn how to best share them with parents!

Lighting Design 101/102: The Basics

Presenter: Jeff Goetsch and Tom Stanziano

This session will introduce participants to the theatrical lighting process. The relationship between good lighting and the success of a production will be emphasized. Specific topics that will be discussed include understanding power requirements, fixture types, and placement.

LED Theatrical Solutions as Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4

Presenter: Jeff Goetsch and Tom Stanziano

This session will address many of the questions people have about LED or incandescent hybrid solutions to stage lighting. The presenters will compare conventional lighting systems with LED options while comparing the initial and ongoing operational costs of each type.

Jeff Goetsch has thirty years of experience in the lighting industry. In the beginning of his career, he traveled across the country with various road-touring shows. In 1992, he moved to Nashville and began designing and installing lighting for many new facilities in the city. Since 2002, he has represented major lighting manufacturers in Tennessee and helped theatres, schools, and other live performance facilities with their design and lighting needs. He can be contacted at

With more than twenty years’ experience in the lighting industry, Tom Stanziano has worked in many venues including Celebrity and Disney cruises. In Nashville, he has worked as a lighting designer for Opryland USA Theme Park and served as technical director at the Renaissance Center. In his current appointment with Philips Entertainment, he demonstrates and speaks on the proper use of lighting techniques. He can be contacted at

Theatre Curriculum Caring and Sharing: Seventh through Twelfth Grade

Presenter: Jennifer Keith and Pollyanna Parker

Upper middle school and high school participants are encouraged to share their favorite classroom activities, teaching tips, and theatre lesson plans with other teachers from across the state. Theatre facilitators Jennifer Keith and Pollyanna Parker will lead the session.

Jennifer Keith is the founder of the drama program at Grassland Middle School in the Williamson County school system, where she also teaches. In 2014, she was named teacher of the year by the faculty of Grassland for all of her work both in and out of the classroom. Keith is an avid traveler who regularly brings her global experiences back to her students and her curriculum.

Pollyanna Parker was inducted into the Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League’s Hall of Fame in 2010 and is a past recipient of that organization’s Ruby Krider Teacher of the Year Award. Parker teaches at Rossview High School in Clarksville, where she was named teacher of the year in 2015.

The Importance of the Understudy: Mysteries Revealed

Presenter: Benjamin Kern

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Understudies and swing tracks provide full and lucrative careers to many professional actors. This session will describe the logistics of creating understudy and swing tracks and illuminate the benefits they provide for educational productions. Attendees will walk away with a comprehensive strategy for casting understudies in their next production, along with paperwork and templates that will help facilitate the process.

Benjamin Kern is a production stage manager with numerous national tour, off-Broadway, regional, and Nashville theatre credits to his name. He previously served as the artistic assistant at one of New York City’s Off-Broadway theatres, Primary Stages, where he helped produce the readings of new plays by Jessica Hinds, Margaret Hunt, Adam Krarr, and Daniel Pearle. During his time at Primary, Kern also served as the stage manager for the Einhorn School of Performing Arts and their Detention series of world-premiere, ten-minute plays.

Storytelling: Talk Like an Ogre!

Presenter: Carol Ponder

In this session, participants will explore how to combine simple vocal choices, such as pitch, tempo, texture, and volume, to enliven their storytelling. These activities will enable participants to create vibrant character voices and changes in mood and energy while reading aloud to their students. Handouts will be provided.

Storytelling: The Story’s IN the Song!

Presenter: Carol Ponder

In this session, participants will engage in a process of writing ballads, or story songs, that they can enact with their students. Ballad writing helps students to identify the beginning, middle, and end of their emerging stories, and to elaborate all the whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys, and hows. Writing to a melody also encourages the skillful distillation of ideas, the effective sequencing of events, and the use of figurative language. It is also a lot of fun! Handouts will be provided.

Carol Ponder is an award-winning performing and teaching artist. In 2007, she was selected for the first National Teaching Artist Fellowship at the Montalvo Arts Center in California. As a teaching artist, consultant, and facilitator since 1987, she has collaborated nationally with hundreds of teachers to deliver dynamic classroom experiences and worked with dozens of organizations to create and deliver effective professional development for artists, teachers, and administrators.

Speak the Speech, I Pray You

Presenter: Alejandro Rodriguez

(Monday and Wednesday)
Alejandro Rodriguez will lead a playful, interactive boot camp on teaching verse drama to young people. Using examples from Shakespeare to Dylan Thomas to Kendrick Lamar, participants will learn and practice tools that will enable them to take poetry off its pedestal and make the reading and speaking of verse accessible, enjoyable, and appealing to students of all ages.

Theatre Connections

Presenter: Theatre Core Faculty

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Theatre instructors will be in their classrooms to answer specific questions about their sessions and to provide one-on-one time with participants who desire additional information about theatre related issues or arts education concerns.


Clay Lady Slips: Beyond the Brush

Presenter: Tina M. Atkinson

Grab a clay slab and explore! In this session, participants will learn about inexpensive and locally made clay paints that can be used in many ways besides simply applying them with a brush. Everyone will design a clay tile while experimenting with a variety of additive and subtractive techniques such as sgraffito and slip trailing. If weather permits, the tiles will be fired and available for pick up on Friday.

Dance Your Way into Two-point Perspective!

Presenter: Tina Atkinson

Linear perspective can be challenging and frustrating, but in this session participants will “dance” their way through four simple steps. These steps make it possible to draw boxes at, above, and below eye level in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Participants will first experience the lesson the way it would be taught to students and then create their own variation of the dance and resulting drawing. Once these steps are mastered, the creative possibilities are endless!

Tina Atkinson is a National Board-certified teacher who has spent the last eighteen years teaching visual art to children in Nashville. She has served on the Tennessee Art Education Association’s board, the National Art Education Association’s Elementary Leadership Team, and as a state assessor for the student growth portfolio. Atkinson has facilitated workshops for arts teachers across the Mid-South and at conferences across the country.

High School Summer Art Residencies at the Appalachian Center for Craft

Presenter: Gail Gentry

In this session, Gail Gentry will talk about programming at the Appalachian Center for Craft at Tennessee Tech University. Topics she will discuss include the school’s bachelor of fine arts degree, its gallery and exhibitions, and its outreach and artist-in-resident programs. Participants will receive in-depth information on weeklong summer workshop sessions for high school art teachers and their students. These programs are offered at minimal cost and include hands-on workshops, materials, tool and equipment use, and room and board for one week.

Gail Gentry is the programs manager at the Appalachian Center for Craft, where she has coordinated and implemented educational art outreach programming for fifteen years. At the center, she is responsible for designing, implementing, and coordinating workshop programs, major fundraisers, and public events.

Finger Knitting for Children

Presenter: Chelsey Gordon

In this session, participants will learn how to knit using only their fingers. Finger knitting is an enjoyable way for teachers to incorporate fibers, an often underestimated medium, into many types of lesson plans. Although a bit tedious at first, this process can be explored more thoroughly by individuals on their own time. The only supplies needed are fingers, yarn, and imagination. This activity is not just fun, but affordable too.

Chelsey Gordon is a pre-service teacher in the art education program at the University of Tennessee at Martin where she also acts as the service coordinator for the art organization League of Striving Artists. Gordon is originally from Hickman County, Tennessee, just a short drive south of Nashville.

The Art of Dale Chihuly and Recycling

Presenter: Daryle Grenead

This session will introduce participants to a project in which recycled plastic bottles are used to create beautiful chandelier-like sculptures that are inspired by the art of Dale Chihuly. A short introduction to the lesson will include a video of Chihuly creating one of his pieces. The participants will then use supplies to create their own “Academy chandeliers.” Participants should save plastic drink and soda bottles to bring with them to the session.

Daryle Grenead is a retired art specialist with more than forty years’ teaching experience in both Tennessee and Kentucky. He has conducted many workshops for art teachers, held leadership roles in the Tennessee Art Education Association, and was also the visual art director for the Tennessee Arts Academy.

Melted Recycled Plastic for Chihuly Art

Presenter: Kathy McMillan

In this session, participants will create art that is inspired by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. The first step will be using sharpie markers to color clear plastic bottles and plates. Next, the bottles and plates will be cut into long spirals. Then a toaster oven and heat gun will be used to melt the plastic into interesting sculptural shapes.

Kathy McMillan is a teacher in Tennessee’s Tullahoma City schools, where she has been a middle school art teacher for the past eleven years. McMillan currently offers an art club after school for music students who do not get to pursue visual art during the school day. She has been a member of the National Art Education Association for sixteen years. In 2016, she was named Middle-level Art Educator of the Year for the Tennessee Art Education Association. Before serving at the middle schools, she spent five years as an elementary school art teacher.

Repurposed and Reimagined

Presenter: Beth Moore

Participants will explore the various ways ordinary household items, such as paper plates, foam bowls, water bottles, and more, can be used in the art classroom. Following a brief presentation, participants will be invited to create a sample that they can take home. The instructor will demonstrate how to use paper plates and foam bowls for weaving looms and how to use foam plates to create marker prints. Lesson plans will also be provided.

Beth Moore has been teaching elementary art privately and in the public schools for five years in the Middle Tennessee area. Moore is also a working artist whose encaustic pieces can be seen in galleries across Murfreesboro and Nashville. She brings her experience of using unexpected materials into her art class and shows students and teachers that anything can be accomplished through the use of readily available and everyday resources.

How Class Dojo Saved My Art Classroom

Presenter: Ian Mullins-Zugelder

(Monday and Wednesday)
If classroom management feels like trying to keep your head above water, Class Dojo can be your life preserver! Participants in this session will learn how to use a free web-based platform to transform their classroom environments. This session will explore how to set up an account, populate classes, and use Class Dojo to track behavior data, connect parents, create digital portfolios of work, and all other sorts of classroom wizardry.

Ian Mullins-Zugelder, or Mr. MZ to his students, is the Elementary Visual Arts Instructor at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville. A new Tennessean, Mr. MZ taught first through eighth grade visual arts for five years in central Indiana before moving to Nashville. The unique ways art and technology tell stories and bring people together are fundamental to his pedagogy.

Carving the Spirit Man

Presenter: Bill Shinn

(Monday and Wednesday)
This carving session features award-winning wood carver Bill Shinn, who will demonstrate a safe and simple way to successfully carve a “spirit man.” Learning the basics of sculpting using Balsa Foam and a tongue depressor is something participants can learn to apply to all mediums of carving as their abilities progress to carving in wood, stone, etc. In this session, each participant will bring to life their own “spirit man” in just minutes.

Bill Shinn, master woodcarver and founder of Shinn Custom Carving, has forty-five years of experience in public school teaching. He attended Concord College in West Virginia and Yale University. He teaches workshops on carving the "spirit man" at the Woodcraft Store in Knoxville and Arrowmont School of Crafts and Design in Gatlinburg

Arts Documentation as Storytelling

Presenter: Amanda Tutor

(Monday and Wednesday)
When students document their work, they take ownership of their learning. When teachers document student work for display or performance, they are then sharing what students have learned. In this workshop, teachers will explore how to use storytelling in the arts documentation process. Attendees will examine a variety of collections of student work and learn from both good and bad documentation examples. Teachers will also talk about the way successful arts documentation promotes advocacy for the arts.

Now in her fifteenth year in the art classroom, proud Memphian and visual artist Amanda Tutor’s enthusiasm is contagious to students of all ages. She currently teaches kindergarten through fifth grade art, sponsors a photography club, and volunteers with the high school art club for Bartlett Municipal Schools in Bartlett, Tennessee.

Glamor Goggles to Steampunk: Transforming and Repurposing Science Goggles into a Crazy Lesson on Sustainability

Presenter: Melody Weintraub

In this session, participants will learn how to build a successful interdisciplinary lesson around embellishing repurposed eyewear. Themes can range from Mardi Gras to Mad Max, or sustainability to Social Studies. All materials, including goggles and sample lesson plans, will be provided.

Melody Weintraub is an award-winning middle school art teacher at Briarcrest in Memphis. In 2014, she was named Tennessee Middle School Art Educator of the Year. She currently serves on the executive board of the Tennessee Art Education Association as regional chair of its West Tennessee division. Also an actress, she can be seen in several television commercials and as the history teacher in the movie The Blind Side.

Visual Art Studio Connections

Presenter: Visual Art Faculty

(Tuesday and Thursday)
Visual art participants may use this time to continue working in the studio, talking with their instructors, or networking with fellow teachers about issues and concerns related to the arts and arts education.