GCS Arts Integration Academy

Student's profile with abstract artwork in the background
  • Our Story  GCS Arts and Kennedy Center logos

     

     

    The Arts Integration Academy (AIA) - the emerging program for teaching and learning authentic methods for integrating various curricula with the arts funded for 2017-2022 by the federal Professional Development for Arts Educators (PDAE) grant awarded to GCS in 2017 - one of 20 nationwide and the only North Carolina school district to receive the award valued at $1.4 million. Programming will include:

    • Arts integration teaching and learning delivered via an online/face-to-face hybrid system for non-arts educators, arts educators, and administrators
    • Microcredentialling for completers of the program
    • The Collaboratory designed to offer program participants practical, authentic, synchronous opportunities to implement strategies learned in sessions in a controlled environment prior to implementation in the classroom
    • Designing a replicable arts integration curriculum
    • Dispatching community teaching artists to work alongside classroom teachers in authentically implementing instructional strategies
    • Cutting edge data collection and analysis in student brain functions related to arts integration

    Since launching the AIA program, GCS Arts has had the privilege of recently being a part of the first cohort under VSA Kennedy Center's program to receive training on instructional strategies and frameworks that can be used across grade level, curricula and lesson cycle throughout the school year. These strategies will ultimately give opportunities for students with disabilities to interact with their curricula through the four arts disciplines (dance, music, theatre and visual art). The goal for each strategy is to deepen critical and creative thinking, as evidenced by the research-basis behind each strategy. 

  • Arts Integration Academy

    Professional Development Opportunities 

     

    "Holistically weaving the arts through all settings to influence student growth" 

     

     

    Two students creative artwork

     

     

    Options for Individual Teachers, Schools and/or Districts: 

     

     

    • Option 1 - Online Modules

    • Option 2 - Summer Arts Raising Children Higher (ARCH) Training

    • Option 3 - Combination of Options 1 & 2 + Access to Teaching Artists 

    • Option 4 - Principal Arts Leadership Program (PAL) for School Leadership 

    • Option 5 - VSA Training for Students with Disabilities

    • Option 6 - Total Immersion (All Options 1-5)

       

       

      For more information, pricing and to enroll contact artsintegrationacademy@gmail.com

     

Meet the World Class PDAE Arts Integration Academy Team

Dr. Melissa Page

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Dr. Melissa Page

Evaluator 

Dr. Melissa Page of The Evaluation Group (TEG) brings a wealth of experience working with teachers and school districts implementing grant-funded interventions. Using a collaborative, participatory-approach, Dr. Page works with project staff to develop and implement user-friendly and data driven evaluations, with the intent of continuous program improvement. Dr. Page leads a cross-functional team of evaluators and serves as a lead evaluator on a number of education projects. With over 20 years of experience, she specializes in teacher professional development, engaging youth in STEM activities, and social-emotional and non-cognitive development. She has extensive experience working with partnerships that include institutes of higher education and school districts.

Dr. Elizabeth Grimes-Droessler

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Dr. Elizabeth Grimes-Droessler

Module Writer

Liz Droessler holds a B.S. in Dance, a Masters in Theatre, and a Doctorate in Higher Education/Adult Learning.  For over 30 years she supported 500 arts educators as the Senior Administrator for the Arts in Wake County Public Schools.  In this role she coached teachers on effective instruction, developed curriculum, led professional learning, and coordinated districtwide events.  She helped design and implement the Arts Integration Institute as a part of the Kennedy Center Partnership with the United Arts Council of Raleigh/Wake County.  This program began in 1993 and continues today to support elementary classroom teachers, arts teachers, and administrators with engaging instructional strategies and a conceptual framework that addresses the needs of all learners.  Liz consults on a national basis and teaches in the Education Department at Meredith College.

Dr. Mila Parrish

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Dr. Mila Parrish

Module Writer

Dr. Mila Parrish is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro where she is the Director of Dance Education teaching undergraduate and graduate dance education courses as well as Laban Movement Analysis and Pilates.

An active scholar, Dr. Parrish’s research has established new trends in movement technology, curricula design and teacher training in the digital arena. Her publications appear in the Journal of Dance Education, Research in Dance Education, Arts Education Policy Review, Journal for Learning through the Arts, the book series, Dance: Current Selected Research and the International Handbook of Research in Arts Education.

Dr. Parrish currently serves on the the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Dance Education Organization (NCDEO) as founding President; the Dance and the Child International (DaCi) as the Newsletter Editor, the Journal for Learning in the Arts (JLTA) and the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) as the Director of Research. Additionally, she serves as Special Guest Faculty with the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at the 92Y Harkness Dance Center in New York and American Dance Festival (ADF).

Prior to her career in higher education, Parrish was a professional dancer and choreographer in NYC, performing with modern, ballet and theatre companies, most notably, The Jean Erdman Theater of Dance, with whom she toured nationally. Her company, Koshin Dance Theater has presented works at various NYC venues including DIA Center for the Arts, P.S. 122, the Morningside Dance Festival and St. Mark’s Church. Mila has been employed in public and private schools as a Program Director, Teaching-Artist and Teacher-Collaborator for BOCES Arts, Creative Arts Laboratory, ArtsBridge America, and the ABC Schools program.

Dr. Parrish received a BFA in choreography and performance and K-12 Teachers Certification from the University of Michigan; an MA in Dance Education from Columbia University in New York and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. She is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies in NYC and is a comprehensively certified Pilates instructor with Balanced Body and is a member of the Pilates Method Alliance. Mila began her studies in the Pilates method with first generation master teacher and elder Romana Kryzanowska and has been practicing and teaching ever since. She has trained with Master teachers Martha Eddy, Anne Green Gilbert, Ann Kipling Brown, Ann Hutchenson Guest, Kellee Stokes, Anna Jones, Melissa Kakavas, Chantel Lopez, and Eric Franklin. Her publications on Labanotation, Motif Writing and enhanced movement cognition support her deep interest helping dancers develop body awareness and creative skills, strength, balance, and freedom.

Dr. Parrish is nationally and internationally recognized for her work in dance pedagogy, educational technology, and interdisciplinary instruction. A leader in the dance education community, Parrish has offered over 100 professional development courses, seminars and workshops through the US and in Canada, China, Finland, Brazil, Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands. Mila as established numerous service and community engagement initiatives including; Dancers Connect a free community dance program, iDance AZ and iDance SC a standards-based curriculum delivery system of dance instruction using video conferencing technologies, Embodied History reconstruction initiatives, Magellan undergraduate scholarship, as well as spearheading professional development programs: Hip Hop for Hope, Jazz it Up, Evolving Dance through Connectivity, Movement of Inspired Minds.

Dr. Parrish is the 2011 recipient of the Dance Advocacy Award from the South Carolina Dance Association and the 2012 Faculty Advisor Award from the University of South Carolina and the 2015 Leadership Award for her community initiatives and scholarly work from the National Dance Education Organization and the 2016 Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award for her research in service learning and community partnerships from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Mr. Alan Parker

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Mr. Alan Parker

GCS Grant Project Coordinator

Alan Parker received the Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Master of Education Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He recently retired after 32 years of service to the High Point City and Guilford County School system(s). At the end of his tenure, he served for twelve years as principal at Southwest Guilford High School in High Point, NC.  He has also served as principal at Parkview Elementary School.  Prior to these positions, Mr. Parker served for seven years as the K-12 Arts Education Curriculum Specialist for the Guilford County Schools.  He also served for ten years as the Director of Bands at High Point Central High School where his bands won consistent Excellent and Superior ratings at local, state, and national competitions/festivals.  Over 200 students were active yearly with the marching band, 3 concert bands, jazz band, and orchestra, as well as Guilford All-County Band, All-District Band, and NC All-State Honors Band.

Mr. Parker was named “Outstanding Young Educator” in 1988 and “Teacher of the Year” in 1992 by the former High Point Public Schools.  In 1990, the Central District Bandmaster’s Association named him “Band Director of the Year”.  Mr. Parker was also given the 1997 “Supervision/Administration Award” from the North Carolina Art Education Association and in 2002 was named the “Supervisor/Administrator of the Year” by the Dance Section” of NCAAHPERD.  Most recently, he was named “Principal of the Year” for 2015-16 with Guilford County Schools and was a regional finalist.  He has also served on the “Say Yes” Operating Committee and the EC Principal Advisory.  He has served on the Comprehensive Arts Education Task Force as legislated by the NC General Assembly.  He is currently a committee member for the Principals’ Fund with the Community Foundation of High Point.  He is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), NC Association of Principals and Assistant Principals (NCAPAP), and has served on the board of directors for Eastern Music Festival (EMF), Center for Creative Arts, Music Academy of NC, High Point Area Arts Council, and the NC Art Education Association. Alan Parker is a member of Jamestown United Methodist Church where he sings with the Chancel Choir and Praise/Worship Choir.  He also is a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and performs with Triad Harmony Express in Winston-Salem and the quartet “Lucky 4 Us”.  He resides in High Point, NC, with his wife of 30 years, Juli.  He has two sons, Robert (Kendra), a graduate student at The University of Iowa, and John (Amy), associate principal trumpet for the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Catheryn Shaw

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Ms. Catheryn Shaw

Module Writer

Catheryn Shaw is a native of Perry, Georgia and is currently the Assistant Band Director at High Point University, assisting with the University Symphonic Band and the University Pep Band. Shaw previously served as the Director of Bands at Lowndes Middle School in Valdosta, Georgia and as the Assistant Director of Bands at Perry High School in Perry, Georgia. During her time as director at these two schools, her performing ensembles received only superior ratings at Large Group Performance Evaluation. She has also served as a clinician and adjudicator for middle and high school bands in Georgia and North Carolina. Through her involvement with Georgia Music Educators Association, she served as the district chairperson for the southeast Georgia district, as well as, the coordinator for District Honor Band activities.

Ms. Shaw received a Master of Music Education degree (MMEd) from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, and the Bachelor of Music Education degree (BM Ed) in Instrumental Music Education from Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a completion date of May 2018. Her research area is Cognitive Neurosciences of Music, specifically complex systems and network science focusing on the effects of musical training on the human brain. As a guest lecturer, she has presented her preliminary research and techniques of neuroimaging and data analysis to students in Georgia and North Carolina through the Network Science Education program.

She is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and the North Carolina Music Educators Association. Ms. Shaw also serves as the Contemporary Worship Leader at Jamestown United Methodist Church in Jamestown, North Carolina.

Dr. Sunny Spillane

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Dr. Sunny Spillane

Module Writer

Dr. Spillane’s research and teaching focus on two major areas, which are intimately interconnected in her practice: (1) advancing educational equity for marginalized and underserved students; and (2) exploring the intersections of contemporary artistic practices with qualitative research methodologies and diversity pedagogy. She has integrated these lines of inquiry in her dissertation research, which employed a participatory, arts-based methodology to elicit and articulate the experiences and unique perspectives of veteran arts educators in urban public schools. Her research has an avowed social justice orientation, with a particular focus on challenging deficit-based characterizations of urban students, schools, and communities.

Spillane began her teaching career as an elementary art teacher in a lower income, predominantly African American community in Florida, where she grew to develop strong relationships with her students and colleagues, and a feeling of solidarity with the school community. Her former students’ impact on her life and work and her sense of responsibility to them have shaped her scholarship and her teaching practice at the university level. With over ten years of experience working with a diverse range of students in a variety of contexts at the elementary, secondary, and college levels, Spillane has come to believe that effective teaching requires teachers to become engaged and self-reflective learners in every aspect of their practices. Her conviction that teachers must also (and perhaps foremost) become learners reflects her deep commitment to educational equity and social justice, and her belief in learning through respectful dialogue among people with diverse experiences and perspectives.

In addition to her research and teaching, Spillane also maintains an active artistic practice. Several strands of her personal, artistic, and intellectual experience inform her work. She is primarily an abstract painter and locates her work in relation to the history of abstraction, particularly American hard-edged and color field painting. Although her work has a strong formal relationship to that tradition, she rejects the historic dogma of abstraction as a purely visual or phenomenological expression without personal, emotional, or narrative content. Her recent work, created during her 2012 artist residency at 621 Gallery in Tallahassee, FL actively seeks to reinvent and redefine her artistic practice and the work that emerges from it. This work reaches back to her early interests in fibers, pattern, fashion design, and performance, and pushes forward into new territory that combines painting and performance, and privileges viewers’ active participation as co-creators of the work.

Spillane’s art education philosophy is anchored in the belief that good teaching is inherently a social justice practice that asks teachers to become the change we want to see in the world. It requires connectedness, flexibility, and caring as well as rigor, creativity, and (self-)criticality. She is committed to arts-based pedagogy and envisions learning as a creative, holistic process that integrates scholarly knowledge with students’ developing professional practices and their lives.

Mrs. Melinda Waegerle

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Mrs. Melinda Waegerle

UNCG Grant Project Coordinator

Melinda Waegerle is a full time Assistant Professor of Dance education. Her work focuses on dance education and integration across the curriculum. Melinda is an advisor for dance licensure majors and runs UNCG High School Dance Day. She is involved in working with Dancers Connect a special program for Guilford county public school students. 

She has been an A+ Fellow for the A+ Schools Program (a nationally recognized school reform effort) for twenty-four years. She works with professional development of educators in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan and Texas. 

Currently she is a project director for a Department of Education grant focusing on working with schools in Guilford County to create an authentic arts integration program including classroom, arts educators and administrators. The project is four years in length and will involve UNCG professors, students along with Guilford county educators and administrators. 

Melinda earned her BS and MA in Dance Education at UNCG.

Mrs. Libby Scandale

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Mrs. Libby Scandale

Lead Arts Integration Facilitator 

Dr. Elizabeth Scandale has taught visual arts for more than twenty five years to kindergarteners through university level, and has special interests in how the arts amplify and enhance the core curriculum. Currently, she instructs pre-service teachers in methods that directly impact classrooms with both traditional and special needs students. Dr. Scandale has witnessed many times the power of creative work to change learning outcomes and personal narratives. When not involved in teaching, she helps to run an animal advocacy organization in her community. 

Ms. Diane Carter

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Ms. Diane Carter

Lead Arts Integration Facilitator 

Diane Carter is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in Music Education.  She has recently retired after 40 years of experience as an Elementary Music Specialist for the Guilford County Schools.  While serving as an educator, Diane received certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). She also worked with DPI as an evaluator for the Analysis of Student Work Process to assess growth for Arts Education.

Mrs. Annika Pfaender

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Mrs. Annika Pfaender

Lead Arts Integration Facilitator

Annika grew up in Chapel Hill and was on stage for the first time as a preschooler. She was a performer in high school and transitioned to backstage work while at Kenyon College, primarily costume design and state management. It was a summer spent with the Seattle Children's Theater that established educationally-based theatre as what she wanted to do going forward. Over the last nearly 20 years, she has taught theatre for private schools, community organizations, and theaters in the Triangle and the Triad. She has an MFA in Theater for Youth from UNCG, where her masters thesis focused on integrating drama in science classrooms. 

 While she has spent a lot of time teaching drama and theater, the piece that she always sensed was missing from our educational system was integrating the art form into grade-level classrooms.  At the heart of her approach to integration is the belief that drama is storytelling and human behavior. Whenever a classroom needs to humanize dry and dull material, if students need reminding that they are not the only humans on the planet, when students can be helped to understand more deeply the stories of other people, drama can fill that need powerfully and efficiently. 

 She has two boys, in second and fifth grade, at Pilot Elementary; the eldest made his stage debut last fall and the youngest is in character or costume all the time. She directed Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse at UNCG in November 2018. and her husband runs the Theater Education program at UNCG. So she's surrounded by drama all day long.

 

Mr. Chris Thompson

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Mr. Chris Thompson

Arts Integration Facilitator 

Percussionist and Jazz Vibraphonist, Christopher Thompson is a diverse performer that is sure to entertain! He has electrified audiences internationally in venues such as London, UK and the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf, Germany, as well as throughout the United States.  

Chris is the founder and C.E.O. of M.A.P.S. (Motivational Arts, Performance, and Sound), an organization that teaches vision and purpose building through an inspirational performance of the arts.  As a Motivational Performer, he currently travels to different churches, schools, and community programs, sharing his testimony and inspiring others to maximize their potential. Through his story Chris creates a unique approach to relate to audiences of different ages and cultures, using compositions that blend Jazz, Classical, Hip-hop, and World music. Performing with groups like the Mondre Moffett Jazz Society and the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, he continually expounds on the limits of genre and creates intercultural music. 

​Mr. Thompson has an extensive background in teaching and motivating youth. He currently serves as the director of percussion studies at High Point University, where he leads a comprehensive percussion program. Chris previously taught as the Percussion Instructor for the award winning Blue Steel Drumline of Grimsley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Serving as the Percussion Instructor for the B Natural Academy of Music and the Arts, Chris delivered a program that provides quality and affordable music lessons to undeserved children in the Greensboro Community. Chris also taught as the Student Interventionist at the Allen Jay Preparatory Academy in High Point, NC. 

 Christopher has completed a Masters degree in Percussion performance as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate in Jazz studies from the University of North Carolina Greensboro School of Music, where he also served as Principal Percussionist for the University Symphony Orchestra. He is also a proud Alumnus of North Carolina A&T State University where he marched for the Blue and Gold Marching Machine and served as Drum Captain for the internationally acclaimed Cold Steel Drumline. While in undergrad, he joined the National Honorary Band Fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi and served as the Principal Percussionist for the HBCU Director of Bands Consortium All-Star band in Atlanta, Georgia.

​Chris is a Premier Artist for Marimba One.

Mr. Wesley L Williams Jr.

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Mr. Wesley L Williams Jr.

Arts Integration Facilitator 

Wesley L Williams Jr. is a teacher, dancer, choreographer and entrepreneur. He attended North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. Mr. Williams is the founder of Suah African Dance Theatre, a dance theater company based in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has been in residency at several colleges and universities such as Duke University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina School of the Arts, Stevens College-MO, Lincoln University-MO, Fayetteville State University, Radford University-VA, Winston Salem State University and has worked alongside master teachers such as Dr. Chuck Davis, Mabel Robinson, Dr. Maya Angelou, Mr. Sherone Price, Jan Van Dyke, The Late Rod Rogers, Ava Vinesett and Thaddeus Bennett. Mr. Williams is very humbled to have worked and been taught by so many great pas and present legends in his lifetime. 

Ms. Kara Lewis

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Ms. Kara Lewis

Arts Integration Facilitator 

Kara Elizabeth Lewis is an artist and educator, living and working in Greensboro, NC. After 12 years in the classroom, she is now the Founder & CEO of Kara Elizabeth, LLC. Inspired by a holistic and transformative approach to art education. Kara uses creative expression to teach conscious living and peaceful practices. She continues to teach the formal study of visual art through portfolio development classes and private tutoring. Kara enjoys producing work in a variety of mediums including chalk & charcoal, acrylic, watercolor, and collage. 

Ms. Brittney May

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Ms. Brittney May

Arts Integration Facilitator 

Brittney is a visual and performance artist located in Greensboro, North Carolina. She studied Sculpture and Anthropology at Guilford College. Ms. May works with many different nonprofit art programs in Greensboro for both children and adults. Brittney has received the Regional Artist Grant in N.C. and been selected by Greenhille Gallery as an artist in residence. Most recently she was invited to participate in the Center for Visual Artist's “Gate City Acres” mini golf course event. Ms. May is passionate about working to make art accessible and less intimidating, and in making it something that can change the way humans see the world and each other. Brittney lives with her two children and two cats. 

Mr. Alexis Dom-Sebastian

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Mr. Alexis Dom-Sebastian

Arts Integration Facilitator 

Alexis Dom-Sebastian, adjunct dance professor at Salem College in Winston-Salem, is a technically informed artist trained in various degrees of street dances, social grooves, and contemporary techniques. He holds a Dance BFA and Drama Minor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and is unofficially certified in Bartenieff Fundamentals (paperwork pending). From a young age, Alexis learned rhythm & groove from dancing to soul music with his mother. He first entered the environment of an actually dance studio at the age of 17. In 2012, Dom-Sebastian became the first Hip-Hop instructor to ever teach at ADF’s Samuel H. Scripps Studios. From 2011 to 2014, under the direction of former Pilobolus Dancer, Gaspard Louis, Dom-Sebastian fine-tuned his contact improv and partnering skills as a collaborator with Gaspard & Dancers. Alexis has been fortunate to share his talents, skills, and knowledge in amazing cities across the globe such as New York, Atlanta, London, Orlando, and Los Angeles. In his personal and professional life, he lives by the code “teaching as a student and learning as a professional." 

 Phillip Marsh

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Phillip Marsh

Arts Integration Facilitator 

Phillip Marsh is Executive and Creative Director of Rockers Print Shop, a graphic and fine art firm located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Phillip, responsible for Arts Administration for RPS, is a graduate of Guilford Technical Community College where he received an Associates of Fine Art with a concentration in Visual Art and Associates in Advertising and Graphic Design. He is currently continuing his educational path and plans to complete his education with an MFA in Studio Art at University of Miami (FL).