Heather King has a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in English and has completed Doctoral level courses in Educational Leadership. Heather is currently the Principal of Maine Arts Academy, having a passion for the arts. Heather has held several teaching roles that span from elementary grades, high school through college level. Her recent positions include dean of students, high school teacher, team Leader of online faculty at Southern New Hampshire University, English and Liberal Arts adjunct faculty at Southern New Hampshire University and adjunct faculty of English at Allegany College of Maryland and Purdue University. Heather has been an education keynote guest speaker for the state prison system in Pennsylvania, has worked with the governor on supporting families on welfare, presented at writing workshops throughout the Northeast and is a published author of Peace of Trash.
Heather lives in Central Maine with her husband and her three grown children. She enjoys hiking, reading, writing, attending arts events, and spending time with her family.
Rachel arrived in education by a nontraditional pathway. She studied Nautical Science at Maine Maritime Academy and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree and a USCG Third Mate's License to navigate unlimited tonnage vessels. While working in the Merchant Marine, she also earned her First Class Pilot's License for Great Lakes Waters. Rachel transitioned from the shipping industry back to school for Secondary Education and never looked back. She has worked in traditional public, private, and charter school settings with students aged from Pre-K to high school seniors. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction at UMaine. Rachel lives in central Maine with her husband and children. In her free time, she enjoys renovating, developing, and managing real estate. Nurturing a lifelong love for sports, she also officiates high school soccer and basketball.
Ms. Manter has been MEAA since Fall 2016. She has years of experience in the municipal and education fields, having worked for the Towns of Hamilton and Wenham, MA and the Pentucket School District, MA., as well as having experience in banking and construction. She is a graduate of Dean College in Franklin MA with a degree in Business Administration.
Diane has a very strong relationship with the Snow Pond campus as her grandfather helped
build many of the original practice buildings on the property for the New England Music Camp and her father helped paint the famed Bowl In the Pines amphitheater as a young man. Although raised in Massachusetts, she's spent a great deal of time on the lake and has family living locally, so she said that moving to Sidney and coming to work at MEAA was like coming home. During her time off she enjoys spending time on the lake with her son, extended family and friends. She is a strong supporter of the Children's Tumor Foundation, NF research and enjoys making belt buckles, riding horses, motorcycles and snowmobiles.
Although born in Connecticut, Mrs. Spencer was raised in Maine and graduated from Winslow High School. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Mrs. Spencer earned her bachelor's degree from Marywood University, located in Scranton, PA. She majored in elementary and special education; later she received her MS English teaching license. She taught special education in numerous settings, as well as 7th grade Language Arts as a general education teacher. Mrs. Spencer has been married for 30 years and has four grown children and a granddaughter. She enjoys many activities which include sewing, painting, camping, and traveling.
Ms. Clark graduated from the University of Illinois with a Master's degree in Soil Chemistry. She completed teacher education courses at the University of Maine Farmington and is certified for 7-12 Math and Science.
She was an adjunct instructor at the University of Maine Farmington for five years before becoming the Math/Science Learning Specialist at Kennebec Valley Community College. She has been teaching at the high school level for five years.
Ms. Clark is currently working on her post-baccalaureate degree in Computer Information Systems at the University of Maine Augusta. Her hobbies are hiking and gardening. She is a trail maintainer for a section of the Appalachian Trail in Maine.
Dr. Thomas Klepach
Dr. Klepach has been with Maine Arts Academy since it opened in 2016. He regularly works to build the relationship between Colby College and Maine Arts Academy inviting MEAA students to work in the Colby College science lab, participate in the Colby College Jan-Plan and other Colby College opportunities. Recently he worked with our students with Dartmouth and Colby Professors to take water samples out of area lakes and
Dr. Thomas Klepach received his PhD in carbohydrate biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and completed his masters work in immunology at the University of Virginia. He has extensive teaching experience in a wide range of secondary and tertiary educational environments ranging from Colby College and Kennebec Valley Community College here in Maine to Texas A&M and Del Mar College in Corpus Christi Texas. During his baccalaureate at Eastern Michigan University he trained in the rigorous pedagogical techniques as applied to high school aged students at the High/Scope Institute for Ideas, an alternative educational institute founded in 1962, and he received the Kaneb Center Advanced Teaching Scholar Certification from the University of Notre Dame during his graduate studies. In addition to his professional pursuits, he was trained as an Ashtanga Yoga instructor in Hamilton, New Zealand during his two year stay there following graduate school. He has also had a modest but successful life as a visual artist and as a musician in several musical groups and is particularly interested in integrating the performing arts into an active learning environment in the core academic courses that he teaches.
Dr. Cynthia Less
Cynthia Lees grew up near Boston and has taught French, Spanish, and English for over four decades--instructing students from kindergarten through graduate school. She earned her doctorate in French Literature from the University of Florida and was a French professor at the University of Delaware until her recent retirement. Dr. Lees serves on the editorial board of the academic journal Quebec Studies, and has published many scholarly articles on the poetry and prose of French-speaking North America. At the moment she is preparing a paper on the poetry of Normand Dube (1932-1988), a Franco-American poet, playwright, and educator from Van Buren, Maine.
Dr. Christopher Maloney graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A., Harvard University Extension with a premedical diploma, and received his doctorate as a Naturopathic Doctor at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon in 2002. After a decade of family practice in Portland and Augusta, Dr. Maloney was diagnosed with colon cancer and cut back on his office hours to dedicate himself to writing books to help others. He joined the MEAA community in 2019 and is thrilled to be able to bring decades of his research and study in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics to the students. The new Maine Science standards enacted in April of 2019 focus on integration and critical thinking between the different disciplines, and Dr. Maloney is looking forward to engaging our brilliant students on the use of science in their lives
Mr. Richardson received his Bachelor of Arts in English at Middle Tennessee State University, where he also minored in film studies and secondary education. He is currently working towards his Master of Arts in English online at Southern New Hampshire University. He taught 8th grade English and directed the middle school drama department for seven years in Tennessee. He is in his third year at Maine Arts Academy, and he teaches English 2 and 3, Introduction to Film Studies, Film Genre and Theory, and Film Production. Besides teaching, his other passions include his family (especially his two boys, Ezra and Owsley), his friends, travelling, most genres of music (especially The Grateful Dead and anything live), and film and video production.
Sam Shain is a Thomas College graduate with a degree in Communication (English Concentration). A Hallowell native, he worked for the Capital Weekly newspaper for three years after college, and couldn't be happier to have wandered in to teaching. He teaches Journalism, Creative Writing, and English 1 & 4 at Maine Arts Academy.
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Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Sonja Fraser now resides in Maine. She earned her BFA from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. Her artwork spans from limited edition and one-of-a-kind jewelry to both small and large scale sculpture. During the 1990s, Fraser worked for Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Mike Peters and owned a business creating sculptures as awards such as the Orange Bowl Trophy football award. In the early 2000s she opened Sonja Jewelry and has created one of a kind wearable sculpture for close to 20 years. In 2006, she began her teaching career and MeAA is the second school where she has had the pleasure of creating an art program from the ground up.
Since his earliest years in East Blue Hill, Ross Gallagher has been on a journey of musical exploration.
As a child, Gallagher was surrounded by performing jazz musicians who visited and rehearsed in his family home.
Captivated by the sound of the bass, the young Gallagher began playing the electric instrument as a fifth-grader and the upright acoustic double bass as a high school freshman.
He became an integral part of an award-winning jazz band and combo at George Stevens Academy and went on to study music and composition and earn his bachelor's degree at New York City's prestigious New School, a mecca for students of the performing arts. He currently teaches strings courses at Maine Arts Academy, sharing his talent and expertise with our high school students.
Holly Gannett is a dance educator with more than twenty years of experience as an instructor and choreographer at Kennebec Dance Centre. Holly is also the dance director at Maine Arts Academy, Maine's first performing arts charter high school.
Holly has been a guest instructor at Colby College, dance director at Thomas College and a dance educator at the University of Maine at Augusta in addition to other schools in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
As master teacher and competition judge, Holly holds master classes across the country. Her concentration in teaching jazz and musical theatre encompasses much of her training in college from the techniques of: Luigi, Phil Black, Matt Maddox, Ron Lewis, Jack Cole, Bob Fosse, Gus Giordano and Tom Ralabate, Vaganova, Cecchetti, Limon, Taylor, and Balanchine.
For twelve years, Holly was the Fitness Program Supervisor at the Eastside Wellness Center in Augusta, Maine for MaineGeneral Medical Center. In this role, Holly performed duties as a personal trainer and instructor of Zumba, Cardio Kickboxing, and Pilates.
Holly began her dance training at Kennebec Dance Centre and with Andrei Bossov of the Kirov Ballet. Mr. Tom Ralabate recruited Holly to the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) where she majored in dance. She is a 1999 graduate of UB with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. As a member of the Golden Key National Honors Society, she graduated with honors achieving Magna Cum Laude status.
In Wausau, Wisconsin, Holly was employed by the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet to expand and develop the professional ballet school's jazz, tap, and musical theatre programs. While in Wausau, Holly had the opportunity to choreograph for The Carnival of the Animals, which was narrated by actor Tony Randall.
Holly's musical theatre performance and choreography credits include the roles of: Dance Captain for the US premier of Fame Forever, Carmen Diaz in Fame, Ariel Moore in Footloose, Marge in Suds, June (Squish) in Chicago, Adelaide in Guys & Dolls, as well as dancing ensemble roles in Cabaret, Oklahoma, Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, and Working.
Peter Herman graduated with a bachelor's degree from the music program at the University of Maine at Augusta in 2014 and has crossed paths with many amazing musicians, teachers, and mentors. He has been referred to many times as a guitar virtuoso and performs at venues such as the Port City Blue, Portland Maine's best jazz venue for several years. Maine jazz great Brad Terry, 77, describes Herman as "a phenomenon,"
Herman shares his love and expertise of guitar with students at Maine Arts Academy as the guitar teacher.
Long a fixture on the NYC and European jazz/experimental scenes, RJ has performed and recorded with artists like George Garzone, Ben Street, Bill McHenry, Eric Revis, Hugo Rasmussen, Meshell N'degeocello, Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy, and Aaron Parks to name a few.
RJ's education has been primarily through private instruction from masters like Ornette Coleman, Frank Wess, Masabumi Kikuchi, Juini Booth, Reggie Workman, Billy Hart, Steve Grover, Jeff Williams and Jeff Hirshfield.
He is best known for his work on albums like "Ben Entrada La Nit," "Alive in Japan," "Ronald's Rhythm," "RJ Miller Trio," "Plainville," If the Past Seems So Bright," "Memories of Days Gone By," "Intuition," "Sinker," "Wicca," "Dreams in Apartments," and "Horses."
See more on R.J. below
Neal holds a bachelors degree in music education from The Ohio State University and a masters degree in conducting performance from the University of Connecticut. A piano student from the age of eight, his teachers include Hildred Curtis Fowler, Natasha Chances, Rosemary Platt and Neal Larrabee. He continues a career in music education which began in 1978 and includes teaching positions at Van Buren District Secondary School, Edward Little High School in Auburn, the University of Southern Maine, Bates College, Oak Hill High School in Sabattus and his current position as Director of Music at the Snow Pond Arts Academy in Sidney, Maine. Neal's students have won numerous awards including First Place in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC with the ELHS Band in 1988, and a Carnegie Hall performance in New York City with the Oak Hill HS Voices of Color in 2003 among many others; several of his students have gone on to careers in music education and performance. Neal was recognized by the Maine Music Educators Association in 1994 as the Maine Music Educator of the Year, and by WCSH6 and the Maine Education Association as an "Inspiring Educator" in 2016.
Neal has performed as pianist and music director with the Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theater, the Monmouth Community Players and at numerous other local venues and high school productions since the 1980s. His first CD of original electronic music "Fox Island Afternoon" was released in 1997; his original electronic ballet "Vasalisa", based upon the Russian legend of the same name, was released in 2008. Both CDs are available on iTunes and at www.cdbaby.com.
John Neal was recently chosen as the band director for Maine's Bicentennial Band. Here is the link to the news article
Jessica Parker is a graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in U.S. History and a double minor in Dance and Women's Studies. While in college she was a member of the UMaine Dance Team, dance club, tap club, participated in the American College Dance Festival, and performed in all dance concerts. During a semester exchange she studied under the Joan Palladino School of Dance at Dean College. Following a move to Central Florida she continued to take classes and train with Disney Choreographers while she worked at Walt Disney World. Jessica returned to Maine to begin her teaching career, first with Jobs for Maine's Graduates followed by a few years teaching Social Studies at the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences. She is currently a dance instructor at Dance Unlimited in Augusta. Recently, Jessica completed her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Maine with a concentration in Special Education and was thrilled to be offered such a unique high school teaching position as a dance instructor for the Maine Arts Academy.
Jeri is a teaching artist, theater i director, playwright, actor, and Adjunct Theater Professor at The University of Maine at Augusta where she created both the UMA Interactive Theater and CREATED EQUAL Theater Programs.
As a teaching artist, Jeri can be found on the Teaching Artist roster for both the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. Jeri has completed well over 100 theater residencies, creating original theater in Maine schools in her 25+ years of experience, from York to Caribou and Eastport to Bethel, ME.
Jeri worked as a company member at The Theater At Monmouth, an Equity repertory company, for 13 years and became TAM's Associate Artistic Director. TAM directing favorites include: Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Tempest, The Grapes of Wrath, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Her play, Chasin' Night Birds won the New England Playwright's award and was produced in NYC at Muse of Fire's Sirens Festival.
Jeri received a BFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Bridgeport (CT). Before moving to Maine, she toured throughout the United States with the East West Fusion Theater, a company dedicated to bringing Asian masters to the US to create fusion productions with American theater artists.
Shannon has studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She holds a Master's Degree in Musical Theatre performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, Scotland. Most recently she has been seen as Penelopy Pennywise in the RCS production of Urinetown, and Helena in the original production of Willy's Bitches at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
She keeps busy with performing with local theatres, The Good Theater in Portland and Bossov Ballet Theatre. Shannon has been nominated for several writing awards at the Strawverry One-Act Festival. Her most recent work, Willy's Bitches was seen for a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her other roles consist of: Lady of the Lake; Spamalot, The Voice of The Dragon and Mama Bear in Shrek the Musical, and Yente and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof.