Past Teaching Artists

Akiba Abaka
2007, 2010, 2013 City Spotlights Theatre Teaching Artist; 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching Artist
is a director, actor, playwright, dramaturg and producer. In 2000 she founded and currently helms the award winning Up You Mighty Race Company, a professional theatre company dedicated to the research, preservation, and advancement of black heritage and culture in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. As an actor, Ms. Abaka most recently played the title role of Harriet Tubman in the national tour of Are You Ready My Sister for Underground Railway Company. Directing credits include Dreams of My Ancestors, The Drinking Gourd, In The Continuum (all at Up You Mighty Race), and a staged reading of The Emperor Jones for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Ms. Abaka is the recipient of the 2008 IRNE Award for Best Director for her production of In The Continuum and an Elliot Norton Award nomination for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Production for In the Continuum.  She is currently working on establishing the Creative Campus Initiative (CCI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a program that will integrate the power of the arts with academic preparedness to enhance student success. 

Eve Agush
2010 Target Arts Teaching Artist
has been teaching tap and flamenco in the Boston community for the past eighteen years. She is on the faculty at many studios in the Northeast, for example, Boston Ballet, the Dance Complex, and the Acton School of Ballet. Ms. Agush began her professional career as a tap dancer at the Leon Collins Tap Dancer's Paradise. She was first introduced to flamenco by Ramon de los Reyes and then went on to both perform and teach in his company. Ms. Agush is a familiar face on the Boston dance scene, contributing her considerable experience to events such as Dance Across the City Day, The Children’s Dance Festival, City Dance and the Boston Children’s Museum Outreach Program. Eve Agush is the founder and Artistic Director of the AdamAnt Eve Dancers, a rhythmic dance troupe performing flamenco and traditional jazz tap. Eve teaches her unique style of youth yoga in the Brookline Public School system through After School Programs and 15-Minute Yoga Snacks. 

Ramona Lisa Alexander
2012 Citizen Schools Teaching Artist; 2010 Teaching Artist; 2008, 2009 City Spotlights Teaching Artist
is a vibrant theatre artist, educator, community leader and consultant. Ramona spends her time offstage working as a Teaching Artist with various youth organizations such as the National Black College Alliance, Arts in Progress, and Underground Railway Theatre. Ramona is an award-winning actress, Elliot Norton Award Nominee, and enthusiastic about using theater as a model for social change while encouraging youth to think out-side their own “…universe of six blocks…” (Ntzoke Shange). She has performed with companies like the Huntington Theatre Company, Guthrie Theatre, and Central Square Theatre. She received her MFA in Acting from Brandeis University, where she was also honored with a Hayes Fellowship. 

Elideusa “Elle” Gomes Almedia
2013 City Spotlights Music Director/Teaching Artist
is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter. In 2011, she was selected as the Young Artist of the Boston Pops by Fidelity FutureStage. Recently, Elle was crowned as the winner of the iShowcase Music competition with Warner Music in Toronto. Elle's compositions have been showcased in the Berklee Perfect Pitch Concert, and have been used in workshops at Boston Ballet. She has performed at world-renowned venues such as the TD Garden, Boston Center for the Arts, and Fenway Park, Elle is currently majoring in songwriting and minoring in creative writing at Berklee College of Music. 

Derrick Ashong
2010-2011 Artist Fellow
a musician, social entrepreneur, arts advocate and Oprah Radio Host, is literally the voice of a new generation. Whether heard in the eloquent expression of his thoughts on then Senator Barack Obama, in his songwriting or in his acting ability, Harvard-educated Derrick is an international inspiration for social change through the arts and youth involvement. As the first Artist Fellow, Derrick connects with hundreds of Boston youth through collaborations with the Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Library, and Boston Centers for Youth and Families.

Bill Barclay
2011 Teaching Artist; 2010 All-Star Institute Master Class Teaching Artist
is an actor, composer, and director. An Artistic Associate and member of the Resident Acting Company at the Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Bill is also a performer, director, composer, lecturer, and the Resident Music Director of Shakespeare & Company each summer season (over 15 productions), and a Company Actor at The Mercury Theatre, UK. He has worked for Shakespeare's Globe in London as well as several regional and local theatres including The Huntington Theatre Company, North Shore Music Theatre, and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. Bill has collaborated on professional productions of over ¾ of Shakespeare’s complete works. Bill is a 2008 recipient of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship, the nation’s largest grant for actors, two Meet the Composer grants in 2009 and 2010, and is a past state-winner of the Boston Globe Monologue Scholarship Competition.

Nick Bazo
2009, 2010 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2009, 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching; 2008 Teaching Artist
is an actor, director, and teaching artist who recently moved from Orlando, FL to Boston. He dedicates his career to introducing theatre to the lives of people of all ages. He holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rollins College (FL) and a M.F.A. in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida. His current interests lie in exploring how devising theatre can ignite positive personal and social change with youth and young adults.

Steve Black
2010, 2011 EdVestors Arts Expansion Teaching Artist
is a freelance Director and Musical Director from Boston, MA. Steve served as the Director of Choral Music and Drama at Salem High School where he directed numerous concerts and theatrical productions from 2003-2008. He served as Musical Director for Summer Stages at North Shore Music Theatre, Assistant Music Director at Ogunquit, and various revues and education programs in New York City. Awards include the Spotlight Award for Best Music Director (NSMT), artist-in-residence awards from the Salem Foundation for Public Education. Steve received a Bachelor of Music from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Arts degree from New York University.

Lise Brody
2010, 2011 EdVestors Arts Expansion Teaching Artist
teaches in the MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. She is Artistic Director of Screech to a Stop, an intergenerational performance collaborative focused on process and experimentation, which she founded in 2006. She has taught dance, movement for actors and performance art at the high school and college level for more than a decade, and has been a guest artist at Emerson College, Providence College and Salve Regina University. She is former Director of Residencies and Associate Artistic Director at The Yard, an artists’ retreat for choreography and presenting organization on Martha’s Vineyard. Ms. Brody received her MFA in Dance from California Institute of the Arts.

Toni "Bee" Brooks
2012, 2013, 2014 City Spotlights Spoken Word Teaching Artist; 2013, 2014 Interactive Readings Teaching Artist; 2013 Target Arts Teaching Artist; 2013 Dudley Interactive Arts Festival Teaching Artist; 2012-2013; 2015 Community Artist Fellow Toni, a Cambridge's Poet Populist, elected in 2011, is a writer, photographer, and community advocate who was born in Boston. Writing poetry since high school, Toni has a love for Shakespeare and Langston Hughes. After high school, Toni became a freelance journalist for community newspapers and wrote about colorful people and artists in Dorchester. In college, Toni created a writing club and held seasonal poetry readings. Bee writes wherever she goes. Writing sustained her during her stint in a homeless shelter when she was pregnant with her daughter. Toni continues to publicize artsy events and organizations focused on community. This is important for her because from 2007 to 2011 she hosted her own talk show at Cambridge Community Television (CCTV). Toni is excited to connect with community. Her hope is to inspire youth and adults to be creative through poetry or art and to find or create platforms to display their works She believes strongly in educational opportunities, no matter what age you are, and in the importance of leading a healthy life in order to keep creating art. These two elements are essential in the pursuit of one's dreams-no matter what "drama" happens in your life.

Alex Charalambides
2013 City Spotlights Spoken Word Teaching Artist
is a freelance performance poet, teaching artist and youth arts activist from Worcester, Massachusetts. He's competed at several national poetry slam tournaments, placing as high as 5th in the country. He's toured extensively throughout North America, released four books and 2 spoken word albums. Founder of the Worcester Youth Poetry Slam, he spent 8 years directing operations, coaching and chaperoning teens at the Brave New Voices International Youth Festival. Co-Founder and Co-Director of Mass LEAP, (the youth arts initiative of the Mass Poetry Outreach Project 501(c)3 Non-Profit, he teaches performance poetry in schools and coordinates special events like the annual Louder than a Bomb Massachusetts Youth Poetry Slam Festival. He's appeared as a mentor for the nationally aired PBS Children's Show “Fetch” and was recently named a 2011 Worcester Arts Council Fellowship Award Recipient. 

Christina R. Chan
2010, 2011 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2007 Celebrate Shakespeare Teaching Artist
is the co-creator and performer of several highly acclaimed performance pieces. Her work explores the Asian American experience with a focus on Asian American women and immigrants. Her first one woman-show “Unbinding Our Lives” tours nationally. Christina graduated from the Trinity Rep Conservatory in Rhode Island and the Royal National Theatre’s Acting Program in London. She received her BA in Psychology from Simmons College. Christina is currently working on a book and play about the high depression and suicide rate among Asian American girls and women.

Connie Chang
2015 Advocacy Junior Teaching Artist Assistant 
Connie Chang has been involved with the Citi Performing Arts Center since 2012, when she participated in City Spotlights as a Teen Leader and a Teen Council member. She is a recent graduate of Boston Latin School, and will attend Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts in the fall. In her free time, she writes spoken word, performs improv comedy, and powerlifts.

Grace Chen
2015 Teaching Artist Assistant, Patrick Kennedy School
Grace Chen is currently pursuing an Ed.M. in Arts in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has been a teaching artist, curriculum developer, and research assistant focusing on innovative evaluations in out-of-school time programs. She hopes to develop resonant and empowering art programs by partnering with youth in educational research and practice.

Jeremy Cohen
2011 City Spotlights Musical Teaching Artist
is a composer, percussionist and teaching artist. He directs the African Drum & Dance Study in Ghana program at UMass Amherst, where he is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music. Formerly the music director at the Umana Middle School in East Boston, he works with incarcerated youth through the arts-based nonprofit Unlocking the Light and sits on the Young Audiences Board of Directors. He is founder and director of ThisWorldMusic which partners with educational institutions and arts organizations to offer innovative, hands-on cultural learning experiences. He holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and a M.M. from New England Conservatory and studied traditional African drumming and dance in Ghana.

Lindsey Colelli
2014 City Spotlights Dance Teaching Artist
Lindsey is an actress and choreographer and is thrilled to be working as a Teaching Artist for the City Spotlight Leadership Program! An Atlanta native, she grew up in Jasper, AL, and received her BA in Theatre Arts from Alabama State University, where she was Miss Alabama State University, and her MFA in Acting from Brandeis University. Lindsey began her professional acting career in 2006 at the Hangar Theatre, where she later appeared as Elise in The Overwhelming in 2008. Lindsey recently performed at Central Square Theatre in Arabian Nights, has performed with Boston Playwright's Theatre, Speak Easy Stage, Up You Mighty Race Theatre Company and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, among others. She has also performed at many places like Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Brandeis Theatre Company. Lindsey was the Coordinator and one of two Choreographers of the Eclectic Dance Company at Alabama State from 2003-2005, and she also trained with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and Footsteps Dance Studio. Lindsey has worked as a Dance and Movement Teaching Artist in Alabama with the theatre programs TAPS (Theatre Artist Performing School) and 3T (Teaching Through Theatre), in Boston with Actors Shakespeare Project and the Citi Performing Arts Center Target Arts Residencies, and in Virginia while touring with Montana Repertory Theatre. Lindsey has always been passionate about inspiring young people to express themselves through and communicate with movement, and she is excited about challenging them to discover hidden gifts in their instruments and to thrive in the talent that already exists.

Alice Corvo
2015 Target Arts Teaching Artist Assistant, Tobin K-8 School
Alice is an educator and theatre artist hailing from Burlington, Vermont. She recently moved to Boston after having completed her MFA in Acting at East 15 Acting School, located right outside London. In addition, Alice holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Vermont. Alice has performed in numerous productions, from Shakespeare to musicals to theatre for young audiences and devised work. She is also a director and designer, and has worked with children of all ages in a variety of capacities. She is a passionate supporter of the arts and is committed to working in many different mediums to enrich her community.

Corey DePina
2011 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2006 Celebrate Shakespeare instructor
is the Songwriting and Performance / Leadership Development Coordinator at ZUMIX. He is an accomplished rapper, a skilled workshop and program facilitator, and a long-time participant in ZUMIX programs. Corey studied for two years at Massachusetts Communication College and completed the ten-week BEST Initiative youth worker training and the Advanced Youth Workers Certificate program. His professional career outside of academia includes serving on the committee hosting Boston’s largest and longest running all age open one mic, Critical Breakdown, as well as a considerable career as a freelance facilitator for local and national non-profits and community centers. These professional efforts have been recognized by Corey receiving the 2008 good neighbor award from East Boston’s NOAH and 2008 community leadership award from Jamaica Plain’s Hyde Square Task Force. 

Cynthia DeJesus
2015 Teaching Artist Assistant
Cynthia is a singer-songwriter, music educator, and a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Business/Entrepreneurship. Cynthia attended the Boston Arts Academy in high school with a concentration in Classical Voice, but has taken music lessons since the age of seven. In June 2013, Cynthia released her EP entitled In Your Presence that consists of 5 original compositions.Currently, Cynthia serves as a music educator at Berklee City Music Boston, Boston Green Academy, Boston Arts Academy, Sarah Greenwood School, and recently joined the Citi Performing Arts Center Education team as a Teaching Artist Assistant. Cynthia's hopes for the future is to become a Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter and recording artist, and obtain a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education with a focus on incorporation of the creative arts in education.

Jennyde Dessius
2015 Community Workshop Development Junior Assistant

Muadi B. Dibinga
2012 Target Arts Teaching Artist, 2010-2011 City Spotlights Teaching Artist, 2007 Celebrate Shakespeare Teaching Artist
is a motivational speaker, professional coach and organizational development consultant whose commitment to public service spans over two decades. She is the founder of Muadi B. Dibinga Unlimited a consulting firm that provides youth-serving and social justice organizations with the information and resources needed to carry out their work. She also wrote Put Your Shoes On! A Step-by-Step Guide for Young People Entering the Workforce, co-authored A Call To Action, a city-wide survey and assessment of the availability of youth services in metropolitan Boston, and delivered testimony to the state legislature on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Service. Ms. Dibinga is the development director, an instructor, and resident choreographer for OrigiNation Cultural Art Center. Her work is fueled by a deep appreciation for the indomitable nature of the human spirit and the need for human kind to bring a higher level of consciousness to our personal and professional endeavors.

Courtney Falite
2011 EdVestors Arts Expansion Teaching Artist; 2011 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching Assistant
is a graduate of Franklin Pierce University with a BA in Theatre Arts. She spent six months studying in France and Austria fulfilling her concentrations in acting and dance. She has spent the past 6 months performing at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston, RI. Recent performances include Hairspray, The Who's Tommy, and Happy Days: The Musical. Courtney hopes to continue working as a performer and to share her love of performing through educational programs. 

Lydia Jane Graeff
Teaching Artist Assistant - Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School

Lydia Jane Graeff recently moved to Boston from Hershey, PA to obtain an MA in theatre education from Emerson College. She loves teaching and performing and works locally with Artbarn Community Theatre, Improv Boston, The Sidewalk Comedy Troupe, and the African Community Economic Development of New England. Most recently, Lydia served as a writing tutor and drama instructor at Milton Hershey School, a private residential school for at-risk and underprivileged children, where she developed and instituted the summer theatre and literacy program for high school students. Over the past seven years, she has taught theatre workshops in schools and community groups for children and youth in 31 states and in Berlin, Germany. She has had the benefit to learn from and work with such reputable companies as Missoula Children's Theatre, Nashville Children's Theatre, Popcorn Hat Players, and now Citi Performing Arts Center!

Jessica Harms
Acting Teaching Artist
Ryan is a Vermont native and graduate of the University of Vermont with a BA in Theatre and an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College. In addition to being a facilitator and teaching artist Ryan is a performer, director, and designer; and has worked on a variety of productions from musicals and Shakespeare to devised pieces and theatre for young audiences. Ryan has taught with many different communities of students of varying ages through improvisation, acting technique and performance, devised work, theatre history, and movement work. He is thrilled to be a part of the City Spotlights program this summer!

Ryan Howland
2011 EdVestors Arts Expansion Teaching Artist; 2010 Story Saturdays Teaching Artist; 2015 Acting Teaching Artist
is currently working on her Master’s in Theater Education from Emerson College, after working as a high school theater teacher. While completing her undergraduate degree in Directing, she performed professionally for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. 

Ratasha Huff
2012 Exploring Hip Hop Teaching Artist
is an award winning Jazz Vocalist, Teaching Artist, and Cultural Educator, In 2008 she was one of four women across the U.S. to be honored with Ebony/Jet’s “Women Making a Powerful Difference Through Song” award, and was subsequently profiled in several issues of Ebony and Jet magazines. Prior to moving to Boston, MA in 2008, she completed two professional development programs for Teaching Artists, in Charlotte, NC. In the fall of 2009, she began the study of professional music at the Berklee College of Music. A year later, she became one of the first Berklee students to receive the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and participated in the Berklee Study Abroad in Athens program. Ratasha believes that the ties that unite the global human family are much stronger and more substantial than the barriers that separate.

Wyatt Jackson
2009 City Spotlights Teaching Artist started performing throughout the New England region with his own hip hop "crew" in the 1980s and worked with the acclaimed Boston Youth Theater for seven seasons. As part of Body and Soul, he worked with Tony Award Winner George Faison, Mercedes Ellington, and Andre Heller. Jackson was part of the hip hop/R&B duo Here and Now, which blended positive story-telling and hip-hop production; they had two hit songs, "Are You Ready" and "Tastin' Love Again," with the latter landing him the soundtrack to the Paramount Pictures film Losing Isaiah. In his work with PBS Children's Programming for nine seasons, Jackson was featured on and choreographed for Zoom, for which he shares an Emmy Award with the crew for Best Children's TV Show, Fetch, and Design Squad. Seeing the need to proclaim peace in the urban centers of America, he then joined forces with three local musicians to create the hip-hop/activist multi-media group, 4Peace.

Alex Johnson
2013 Teaching Leadership Instructor
is thrilled to be working with the City Spotlights program this summer! Currently the Drama Teacher and Director as well as the AP World History Teacher at Match Charter Public High School,Alex is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he was awarded the Artist and Scholar Award, as well as an award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. He has taught and performed in Boston, New York and Juneau, Alaska. Most recently, his piece "Unless He Doesn't" was workshopped in Brooklyn by the Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble, in association with Fresh Ground Pepper. Alex is most interested in the importance of the trivial and the transcendent powers of community. 

Keyana Jones

2015 Lead Teaching Artist, Josiah Quincy School

a creative director, choreographer, and movement specialist, is the founder of Movement in the Moment Inc., a therapeutic Dance Clinic with a specialization in Mental Health. Keyana has spent over 12 years teaching dance to children, adolescents, adults, and elderly. As a creative director and choreographer, Keyana recently choreographed Here’s a little Story That Must be Told, and Can’t Hold Us for the Citi Performing Arts Center’s “I Am the Destination” Final Showcase. As a dancer, Keyana has competed at several national dance competitions, and has performed at world-renowned venues such as the Apollo Theater, TD Garden, and Hynes Convention Center. Keyana is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy. 

Beverly van Joolen
2013 City Spotlights Dance Teaching Artist; 2013 Teen Council Guest Teaching Artist 
Beverly believes that all children have a unique voice and a creative spirit. This belief is the foundation for her approach to teaching and guides her program development. Beverly has taught music and drama in California and most recently in Maryland at Severn School where she was committed to nurturing and inspiring the imaginations of her students. She has found that besides being an outlet for creative expression, participation in theatrical productions gives students the opportunity to develop and hone life skills such as collaboration, time and project management, leadership, and public speaking. This in turn helps them prepare for future academic, social, and career success.  Beverly’s artistic career has taken her from California to Germany and from writer and club singer to actress, theatre critic and director. Some of her favorite roles have been as Meg (Defiance, staged reading directed by John Patrick Shanley), Miss Hannigan (Annie), and Beulah (Last Night at Ballyhoo). Her directing credits include Jake’s Women, Kiss Me, Kate, and Bat Boy; and with her student actors Anastasia, Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Pan. Beverly has written several original student musicals and is looking forward to sharing her experience with her new students through the In School Target Arts Program. This fall Beverly will also be working with Molehill Productions as a workshop playwright, she is the Youth Theatre Division Director for New England Theatre Conference, and she is a member of Educational Theatre Association

Javiera Lagunas-Alvarez
2008, 2010 City Spotlights Teaching Artist Assistant; 2012 Target Arts Teaching Assistant; 2007, 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching Assistant; 2007, 2008 Celebrate Shakespeare Teaching Artist
began her work at Citi Performing Arts Center as a college intern after her freshman year at Salem State University. While at SSU she volunteered as a theatre club leader at Saltonstall Middle School in Salem, MA and taught Theatre Arts courses at Lynn English High School, as well as assisting with the 2011 Revue by the Drama Club. She recently graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a minor in Secondary Education and Spanish. "Working with youth developing original pieces, listening to what they have to say, and admiring their individual talents, inspires me every day to become a better artist and person."

Kayla M. Lee
2014 Target Arts Teaching Artist
is an artist, diversity facilitator, and teacher with specializations in arts integration, English as a Second Language and multicultural education. As a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, she holds a BA in Theatre & Dance from the University of Texas at Austin and M.Ed. in Risk and Prevention from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a Ph.D. candidate at Lesley University, her research interests include: multicultural education, arts integration, peace and conflict studies, and community development. This former Fulbright Scholar has facilitated and directed community and art unity projects and workshops both locally and abroad.

Michael Maloney
2012 City Spotlights Musical Director; 2011, 2012 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2010-2011 EdVestors Arts Expansion Teaching Artist; 2009, 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre
is honored to be back as Musical Director for the City Spotlights Leadership Program. This summer’s City Spotlights Leadership Program is his seventh workshop with Citi Performing Arts Center’s Education Department as a teaching artist. His songwriting has been featured on 1030 AM WBZ’s The Jordan Rich Show in 2005 and 2009. This past winter, all the sales of his “Maybe This Christmas EP” were donated to Boston Children’s Hospital, raising $800. He most recently released his “Boston EP” on iTunes/Amazon, featuring three songs inspired by the City. He regularly performs at nursing and assisted living homes in Boston, Cambridge, Wakefield, Melrose, Malden, Medford, Quincy and Stoneham.

Kristen Mazzocchi
2013 Target Arts Teaching Artist
began her career at The Wang Center for the Performing Arts (now the Citi Performing Arts Center) as an Associate in the Arts Education Department. Her passion for Arts Education grew as she became the Artistic Director of their drama programs for middle school and high school aged students. Kristen is one of the founding members of the Improv Asylum, a successful improv and sketch comedy theatre in Boston’s North End. While honing her skills as an actor and director, Kristen earned a Master’s degree in Arts Education at Harvard University. Kristen went on to become the Director of Educational programs for The Celebrity Series of Boston. She is currently a freelance teaching artist working in many schools and organizations throughout the greater Boston area.

Shirley McGill
2012 City Spotlights Spoken Word Project; 2007 City Spotlights Teaching Artist is an Educational/Management Consultant, with 18 years of service to the Outward Bound USA National office, working in the centers in New York City; Boston; Redmond, OR; Ely, MN; Morganton, NC; and Berk’s Falls, Canada. Her work gave rise to the development of the TIOBEC flagship program, CHOICES: An Urban Outward Bound Expedition, which served 850 Boston public school students annually. As an Outdoor Adventure Educator, Shirley served as Educational Consultant to the New York Central Park Conservancy for 10 years, where she was responsible for the development of the Central Park Challenge. She was also responsible for the Design and Facilitation of Central Park Conservancy’s Recreation Department Instructor Staff Training. Shirley McGill is a Reformist Leader in Education in this country in the Outdoor Education, Management Consulting, and Diversity arenas.

Lynn Mullin
2015 Target Arts Teaching Artist
Lynn Mullin is a theatre teaching artist originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her background as an actor, vocalist, avid reader, and creative writer has deeply influenced her as a teacher. For the last six years, she has sought to create an environment for her students that equally emphasizes theatre, literacy, and music. Past experiences include leading a Storytime program in Minnesota, serving as a teaching artist at Festival Theatre in Wisconsin, and teaching afterschool drama classes at a Boston charter school. She also had the wonderful opportunity to travel to India with Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), where she taught English, choir, and drama for three months. She holds a bachelor's degree in both Theatre Arts and English, and is currently pursuing her master's degree in Theatre Education at Emerson College.

Magalie Neff
2012 EdVestors Teaching Artist; 2007, 2008, 2010 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2010 Target Arts Teaching Artist; 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching Artist; 2009 Story Saturdays Teaching Artist
is a native of Boston, graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Performing Arts/Acting and trained with Shakespeare & Company. She has worked with various theater youth groups including, New Landscapes, Acting Out (programs from the Strand Theatre) and Dream Action Theater in Jamaica Plain. She has worked with Up You Mighty Race and directed their production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow is Enuf. For over 10 years she has worked with Tempest Productions has toured in their production of Body & Sold, true stories of human trafficking. She also toured in Deanna's Fund productions of The Yellow Dress and Remote Control and with Underground Railway Theater in their production of Are You Ready My Sister. Ms. Neff has performed in countless theater productions and has several film credits to her name.

NaTasha O’Brien
2012 Citizen Schools Teaching Artist
is new to the artistic community of Boston. An actress, musician and playwright, she will receive an MFA from Lesley University in Cambridge. After graduating from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, NaTasha worked as a performer and teaching artist with various theatre companies throughout the nation, including People’s Branch Theatre, and the Nashville Children’s Theatre. She also spent a year teaching and directing at Crowder Community College in Neosho, Missouri. She is very excited to share her unique artistic approaches with our educators, artists and most of all, today’s young people.

Masha Obolensky
2013 Target Arts Teaching Artist
is a playwright, director and actor. Her plays have had productions in Cambridge (Nora Theatre), Boston (Paramount), Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York. Her most recent play, Marvelous Fruit, was a finalist for PlayPenn Theatre Conference 2013 and a semi-finalist for The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Conference 2013 and Source Festival D.C. 2013. It received a staged reading as part of the Huntington Theatre’s Breaking Ground series in 2013. She has an MA from Emerson College in Theatre Education and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University.

Maurice E. Parent
2011, 2012 Target Arts Teaching Artist
is an actor, dancer, singer and teaching artist originally from the Washington D.C. metro area in Maryland. He has experience teaching students ranging from elementary school to adults. Maurice has performed around Boston including in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King John with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and RENT Maurice is the proud recipient of a 2008 Elliot Norton Award for Some Men This year, Maurice was honored to join the resident acting company of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project. As a dancer, Maurice studied at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and has worked with choreographers Baayork Lee, Kari Nicolaisen, Marc Robin and Mark Martino. Maurice holds an MA from NYU Steinhardt School’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions and also studied at the Atlantic Theatre Company.

Claudy Paul
2010 Target Arts Teaching Artist; 2008 City Spotlights Teaching Artist
is an actor, director, and teaching artist who graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Theatre Education. He has worked as a Theatre teacher in several local schools including Boston Renaissance Charter School, Boston Trinity Academy, and Grover Cleveland Middle School. Mr. Paul has worked with Citi Performing Arts Center in various teaching artist roles and was himself a teen participant in the center’s programming.

Suzanne Perdue
2010 Target Arts Teaching Artist
trained and danced professionally in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, and has studied with some of the top teachers in the country, including Adrienne Hawkins and Danny Sloan in Boston, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the, Martha Graham School. Suzanne's credits include Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Earth, Wind & Fire, among other television, videos and concert dance companies. She was the Artistic Director of Suzanne Perdue's Dancers Edge for nearly 20 years. Her studio was voted one of the Top 20 Studios on the Move in the U.S. and was featured on NBC Dateline in the segment Shyness and Kids. She was honored to be named Hometown Hero by the MetroWest Daily News for her work with special needs kids in Dance.

Nicolas Perez
2015 Music Teaching Artist Assistant
Nicolas Perez, a pianist born and raised in Boston and member of the Boston Arts Academy Alumni Corps, began playing piano at the age of 11. He has performed for local Boston instituations, including Fidelity Future Stage, State Street Corporations, and The Boston Pops. Perez previously performed at Wally’s Jazz Café, Berklee Performance Center, Boston Conservatory, Boston Symphony Hall, Tony Williams Jazz Festival, Heineken Jazz Festival Puerto Rico, Berklee Encore Gala, Beantown Jazz Festival, Boston Celtics Gala, Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s inauguration, Governor Deval Patrick’s Mansion, Boogie Jazz Club in Madrid, Spain and Café Mercedes in Valencia, Spain. Perez performed with a variety of artists, including Stevie Wonder’s percussionist Fausto Cuevas, salsa artist Willy Colon, Latin Pop Star Luis Enrique, Ruben Blades, and Paco de Lucia. Perez was awarded Judges’ Choice and Most Outstanding Musician in the U.S. for Small Combos at the Berklee Jazz Festival. Perez is currently studying at Berklee College of Music, dual majoring in Contemporary Writing & Production and Performance.

Marilyn Perpignant
2010 City Spotlights Teaching Assistant; 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching Artist
has worked at Citi Performing Arts Center on and off for 4 years. She has been a high school intern in the City Spotlights program in previous years and returns now as a college intern. Now as a full-time college student she still volunteers for the Education department on numerous occasions. She has worked with middle school and high school students before especially during the last flash mob dance in Copley Square.

Princess Bryant
2013-2014 Target Arts Teaching Artist Assistant, 2014 Teen Council Teaching Artist
a native Bostonian, is a firm believer that the arts are an important factor in children's lives. Princess is on the path of completing her B.F.A. in Dance from George Mason University. Her formal dance training includes Boston Ballet, Boston Conservatory, Boston Arts Academy, The Alvin Ailey School, Dean College and George Mason University. Princess currently teaches at Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School as well as the JFK Elementary School with Citi Center’s Target Arts program. She is a dance instructor for International Youth Partnership, a non-profit organization located in Boston. See below for more bio.

Karen Provenzano
2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2007, 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching Artist; 2008 Story Saturdays Teaching Artist; 2007 Celebrate Shakespeare Teaching Artist
teaches in Boston Public School’s TechBoston Lower Academy in Dorchester.  Over the course of her 14 years of teaching in Boston, Karen took a short hiatus out of the classroom from July 2005 to August 2006.  She has worked as the Manager of School Programs for Citi Performing Arts Center Education Department where she developed and implemented in-school and off-site School Programs. She is currently teaching a drop-in theater class at Leahy-Holloran Community Center in Dorchester.  Karen is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics at UMass Boston.  She resides in Dorchester, with her husband, artist John Provenzano, and their two daughters, Sadie and Camille. 

Ashley Rose Salamon
2015 Advocacy Teaching Artist Assistant
Ashley-Rose is a Haitian-American educator, organizer, actress and award-winning poet from Boston who attended Northeastern University. In 2014 Ashley-Rose was named one of the most influential people under age 35 in Boston and was awarded the ONEin3 Positive Impact Award for her work with within arts, education and youth development. Her work has been has been featured in numerous collections and anthologies including The Anthohogy of Liberation Poetry. She has worked in the non-profit field for more than a decade with a focus in youth work, arts and activism. Ashley-Rose is an AmeriCorps alum who served at organizations such as PeaceFirst, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and Habitat for Humanity. Her past acting experience includes roles in productions such as For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuff, Having Our Say and various roles in Boston's One Minute Play Festival. Ashley-Rose was also the Boston Organizer and Facilitator for the first youth Participatory Budgeting process in the USA. Currently she works as the Arts Program Manager at Lena Park CDC and continues to travel the nation as a motivational speaker, artist and educator. For more info please email

Sofie Rose Seymour
2013 Target Arts Teaching Artist
has worked as an education assistant at the Jewish Children's Folkshul for three years, led an advisory for 15 high school freshmen, and continues to work as a tutor. Trained as a classical ballet dancer, Sofie Rose studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, Russia. She has also enjoyed studying modern dance at Harvard University, and choreographing for various student dance and theater companies at school. She has performed in theater productions with Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club and at the American Repertory Theater, and had a blast this past summer as the Stage Manager for Sightline Theater Co. in NYC.

Haji Shearer
2010-2011 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2010 City Spotlights Master Class Teaching Artist
is Director of the Fatherhood Initiative at the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund. He leads the campaign to increase the relationship skills of young fathers in 26 Healthy Families programs across the state. A Licensed Social Worker, Haji spent many years doing crisis intervention with families involved with the Department of Social Services and frequently presents at conferences on father involvement and communication skills. Haji facilitates Men's Healing Circles, Boys to Men Rites of Passages and Couples Workshops. He is especially interested in seeing African-American and Latino men heal the twin traumas of racism and patriarchy. Haji lives with his wife, multi-media artist, Radiant Jasmin, and their two children.

Andre Sparrow
2012 City Spotlights Spoken Word Project is considered by many to be an imaginative, intuitive and intense writer. He has been performing his poetry as spoken word since 2006, and has performed in 3 different states on the East Coast, opening for Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton, and Def Poetry Jam Poets. Sparrow was also featured in a segment of MTV NEWS in 2006 after winning the 2006 MTV Hear ME Project HIV/AIDs awareness short story writing contest, which is currently in production to be turned into a film. Sparrow has also had articles published in the Daytona Times and Co-Produced 2 Youth Poetry Events. Sparrow has plans to return to school and publish both a book of poems and a book of short stories.

Jenna Spencer
2015 Community Workshop Development Teaching Artist

Valerie Stephens
2013 Dudley Interactive Arts Festival Teaching Artist; 2012 Target Arts Teaching Artist; 2007, 2008 City Spotlights Teaching Artist
is an award-winning performance artist and educator with a passion for history. Valerie has received the Boston Chapter 2011 NAACP's Image Award, 2007 Urban Music Award in Blues and was nominated for a 2011 Urban Music Award in Jazz. A native Bostonian, Valerie has performed professionally, both nationally and internationally for many years. As an actor, Valerie returned to the theater stage after a fifteen year absence, to perform for Company One in their highly acclaimed 2011 production of NEIGHBORS and most recently received high marks for her work in progress, The Mammy Diaries, a one woman play.

Jennifer Vento
2012 Target Arts Teaching Artist
is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and Emerson College, from which she holds an MA in Theatre Education. She has since taught drama and directed musicals in the Brookline Public Schools and is currently directing musicals in the Cambridge Public Schools and teaching for Watertown Children's Theatre where she will be directing "Sideways Stories from the Wayside School" next spring. During the summer, she is the Upper Camp Drama Director for the Kaleidoscope Arts and Science Camp at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston where she directed two plays for the Consortium of Boston Area Children’s' Theatre Festival (CBACT). She is currently pursuing an M.Ed. at Lesley University.

Emily H. Vigneron
2011 Target Arts Teaching Assistant
is an avid singer, actress, director, writer, and teacher. Of her most recent projects her favorite ones have included being in the original cast of Storyville and recent independent films Reality Check and 4 Cambridge Center. Currently, she is attending Emerson College pursuing a Master's Degree in Theater Education which is helping her perfect the art of teaching, one of the most rewarding art forms of them all.

Michael F. Walker
2011 Target Arts Teaching Artist
has worked with Actors' Shakespeare Project in Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado About Nothing, among others. He has had local appearances with Underground Railway, Centastage, and Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Past credits include Tru Grace: Holiday Memoirs, The Random Caruso, and Antony and Cleopatra. Michael studied acting while an undergraduate English major at UNC-Charlotte, and he holds an MA in English literature from Boston University. He is a rock musician, most recently with Boston-based rock band Pink Mantis, and operates Forden Photography, specializing in headshots and creative portraiture.

Clifton Williams
2014 City Spotlights Music Teaching Artist Assistant
Clifton is a 22-year-old native of Washington D.C, is an accomplished pianist and songwriter. Clifton is a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music, where he earned a dual degree in Music Education and Contemporary Writing and Production. Some of his recent performances have included touring with the Official Blues Brothers Revue, and with the world renowned Harlem Gospel Choir, both nationally and internationally. Establishing his songwriting career with a bang, Clifton has recently penned the new official Amateur Night at The Apollo theme song which you can hear opening up the show at the famous Harlem Theater every Wednesday night! Clifton is also a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest competing for the Song of the Year Award.

Nina Zendejas
Teaching Artist Assistant, 2012 Interactive Readings: Stories Alive!
is an actor, voice over artist and voice/dialect/accent coach. Recently graduated from The Boston Conservatory (Musical Theater) and The Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD), UK (Voice and Speech), she has worked internationally at several prestigious institutions in the development and training of the performer’s voice. Nina is currently the Voice and Speech adjunct for the Boston Arts Academy, as well as operating as a freelance dialect/accent, and accent reduction coach throughout Boston. Recent companies include Longwood Players, The Boston Conservatory and Speakeasy Theater. 

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