I’m the Manager of Education at The Performing Arts Center, and proud to be part of an institution dedicated to sustaining and transforming arts education in Westchester and Fairfield counties and beyond. My arrival at The Center two years ago coincided with a new resolve within the AIE department to re-imagine and redefine the roles of arts-in-education in The Performing Arts Center and the campus at large. It’s an exciting time to work in AIE. I believe we can play a pivotal role in changing the arts ecology of the area.
As well as coordinating The Performing Arts Center’s AIE work, I’m a practicing teaching artist and a part-time member of staff in Briarcliff Manor school district. Consequently, I find myself situated at a crossroads of local arts education – as an arts-in-education administrator, I interact with practicing teaching artists, university academics, school administrators, teachers, and, of course, students. As a teaching artist, I have regular experience of professional development for teachers, both as a leader and workshop facilitator and as a participant eager to develop my craft. As an integrated member of a school community, I have inside knowledge of the pressure and strains placed on the time, pedagogical skills, and resources of New York teachers.
A graduate of a leading theater conservatory in London, England (where I grew up), my conservatory training gave me vital practical support for my performing career. Postgraduate study in Applied and Educational Theater at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London gave me experiential learning in arts education and an academic resource that continues to provide me with a theoretical underpinning for my practical and administrative work.
I first became interested in arts in education while touring internationally with Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company, where company performers are encouraged to assist in the company’s educational work. As an actor and teaching artist in Great Britain, I collaborated on the devising and implementation of educational programs for leading theater companies including the RSC, the Bristol Old Vic, and Talawa Theatre Company. For Syracuse University’s London theatre program, I coordinated a joint educational program between the university and the Globe Theatre on Bankside. Elsewhere, I implemented role-play and performance-based programs to assist in the retraining of regional police officers for the Police Complaints Commission, worked on video documentary programs for disadvantaged young people in West London, and worked as a guest artist with Scene and Heard, a mentoring program that partners inner-city children with theater professionals.
Since returning to the USA four years ago, I worked extensively in arts-in-education in the tri-state area, including a period as the Director of Youth Programs for the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, before joining the education department of The Performing Arts Center in 2007.
I’m currently on the board of the New York State Alliance for Arts Education, the leading advocacy group for Arts Education in New York State.
I live in Briarcliff Manor, NY, with my wife Stephanie and my two kids, Charlie and Sam.
I am the Education Director of the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, and I am devoted to instilling a passion for the performing arts in young people. I believe that exposure to the arts will help children unlock their imaginations—a capacity they must have as they prepare for their futures in a complex, changing world, and bring them lifelong enjoyment.
As a youngster I wasn’t exposed to the performing arts. When I was in college, a young man started taking me to the theatre on our dates. That was when lightning struck! I fell in love with the performing arts and my future husband.
I ‘ve been involved with AIE for 25 years and have overseen its growth from a modest presenter of conservatory performances to a structured , award-winning, vital organization that offers a wide range of professional performances and participatory activities for children. One of my proudest accomplishments was to win acceptance for AIE into the prestigious Kennedy Center Partners for Education program, whose purpose is to improve education in and through the arts. I am also proud of my work in developing our PAWS (Performing Arts Workshops) and Children’s Shakespeare Festival, in which students gain direct experience as performing artists.
Prior to my involvement with Arts-in-Education I was very active in community affairs. As local government chairman of the League of Women Voters I wrote the first “green spaces” recommendation, that resulted in requiring local developers to reserve park land for Armonk town use.
During these years, my work on behalf of schools was intense, and it has had a long-lasting impact. I was on the committee that created the Byram Hills school district, centralizing three districts into one with excellence the only acceptable standard. I was president of several PTA’s (not at the same time!) and mustered school board support to create the district’s first learning disabilities program. I myself produced three high school musicals, which were very popular in the community, as well as with the students themselves. Through that experience I saw that students who participated in the performing arts derived such joy and learned so much about self-discipline, team work, and time management—skills that would be valuable throughout their lives.
Today much of my time is devoted to Arts-in-Education. My other main interests are, first and foremost, my family (three grown sons, their wives, and five grandchildren); theater; and travel, especially with my family. In the last few years I have been to South America, Alaska, Asia, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries, among other wonderful places.