Estella Owoimaha-Church, M.A., is a Theatre Director and English teacher. Estella holds degrees in Secondary Education, Language Arts and Literacy, Africana Studies, and Urban Education. With a background in Theatre Arts and Hip Hop Based Education, she believes art and social justice have the power to transform lives. Dedicated to service, she works to honor students’ full humanity while innovating strategies and tools to increase empowerment, agency and motivation among youth. Her favorite thing about being an educator is building relationships with students that move far beyond the classroom and last a lifetime. She believes students are capable of exceeding expectations when they feel loved and safe, and she enjoys watching students learn how to advocate for themselves and their communities.
Kimberleigh Aarn is an arts education consultant that has served the field for over 20 years. With the LA County Arts Commission: Arts Education Collective she supports school districts with strategic planning and has coached districts like Inglewood, Claremont, Newhall, Antelope Valley, Saugus Union and El Monte City with the development of an arts education plan. She has been a guest lecturer for the UCLA Visual and Performing Arts Education Program (VAPAE) where she delivered lesson plan development practicums under the teaching artist course sequence, consulted with the Center for Research on Creativity (CRoC) to support observations in administering the Next Generation Creativity Survey, and served as an arts discipline specialist with PS Arts and Crossroads Arts & Science. She worked nationally as a Senior Arts Educator at the Galef Institute with its professional development program/model curriculum, and with Different Ways of Knowing where she delivered coaching services throughout California, Arizona and New York. Kimberleigh is also a performing artist, potter and recently started her own creative consultancy called Open Top Creativity. Recently she had the pleasure of co-authoring the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Insider’s Guide to Arts Education Planning: 3rd Edition. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and her BFA in Dramatic Arts from Emerson College.
Since 2004, the Story Pirates education department has paired experienced teachers with talented artists to collaborate with schools and community organizations in creating exciting, dynamic classes on writing and theater arts. Story Pirates started with one pilot program in Harlem, NYC, and now works in over 250 schools around the country. In 2018, they released their first book, the critically acclaimed Stuck in the Stone Age. The follow up book, Digging Up Danger, will be released early in 2019, and contains a writing guide for how to create your own mystery story.
Teaching ArtistsAaron Shaw
Aaron Shaw has been playing the Scottish Bagpipes since 1976. He is a much loved and well-respected pipe teacher, both in the L.A. area and at summer piping schools around the country. He first heard the bagpipes at age three in the highlands of Santa Cruz, CA. At 16, on a trip to Scotland, he bought his first set of pipes. Shaw has won many top awards, from Los Angeles to London, including the Silver Chanter at Costa Mesa and the Strachan Trophy. For years he was a member of the L.A. Police Pipe Band. His piping is known for its musicality, and his love of the music keeps Aaron playing. You've seen him perform on "American Idol," "The Tonight Show," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "Friends," "The Drew Carey Show" and others. His music is heard in several big-budget films such as "The Fugitive." He has recorded with many artists including Bonnie Raitt. On stage, Aaron is known for his dry wit and having "too good a time" playing the instrument he loves.
Santa Monica Repertory Theater
Barbara Urich is delighted to share her passion for theatre and love of language as a teaching artist with The Broad Stage. In fourth grade, her elementary school psychologist recommended her mom put her in drama classes as a creative and emotional outlet. Years later, her relationship with theatre would intertwine with a fascination of language as she read Macbeth in Sophomore English class. Since then, Barbara has acted in numerous productions with companies such as the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Shakespeare by the Sea and Santa Monica Rep. She has toured as a teaching artist with Kingsmen Shakespeare Company and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Closer to home, she has taught classes in Imagination Theatre and Improvisation as well as directed children's theatre with Santa Monica's Kids on Stage.
Versa-Style Dance Company
Brandon Allen Juezan-Williams a.k.a. “Beast Boy” first showed interest in Hip-Hop dance when he was in middle school. He initially took a liking to Krump, a street dance style, and was eventually exposed to other dance styles upon reaching high school. He later met Jackie Lopez of Versa-Style Dance Company at a local dance competition, who gave him a scholarship to attend the UCLA Dance/Theater Intensive in summer of 2009. By 2010, he was a member of Versa-Style Next Generation and subsequently became a professional dancer with Versa-Style Dance Company in 2014. He currently works as a teaching artist for The Flourish Foundation at Augustus F. Hawkins High School and Jefferson High School, in addition to serving as Project Manager for Versa-Style Dance Company. He graduated from California State Fullerton in Fall 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Entertainment/Tourism Management, and hopes to create a business that gives artists the platform to showcase their talents and provides them with the space to train and grow.
Caprice Walker received her early ballet training with Irina Kosmovska and continued her studies with legendary Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo stars Tatiana Riabouchinska and David Lichine. Ms. Walker was a member of Ballet of Los Angeles under the artistic direction of George Balanchine. Ms. Walker is a well-respected teacher and in addition to her teaching at Westside School of Ballet, has been a Lecturer In Dance at Loyola Marymount University and Santa Monica College. Ms.Walker is a member of The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Incorporated. Ms. Walker has been associated with Westside School of Ballet since its founding by Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire in 1968. In addition to teaching at the school, Ms. Walker is an Associate Artistic Director for Westside Ballet of Santa Monica and serves on the Board of Directors for Westside Ballet of Santa Monica. Caprice Walker heads the Children’s Division of the Westside School of Ballet, and has been associated with Westside Ballet since 1968.
Hālau Hula Keali’i o Nālani & The Daniel Ho Trio
Hawai‘i-born, Los Angeles-based Daniel Ho is a six-time GRAMMY Award winner, fourteen-time GRAMMY Award nominee, six-time Taiwanese Golden Melody Award winner, and recipient of multiple Hawaiian Music awards. He is a ‘ukulele virtuoso, slack key guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, singer-songwriter, producer, audio engineer, and record company owner. He is the designer of the iconic Romero Creations Tiny Tenor ‘ukulele and Ohana Bongolele and Shakerlele. His custom-designed six-string ‘ukulele is on exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum at LA Live. Daniel’s collaborations transcend genres from traditional to contemporary Hawaiian, world music with Mongolian nomads and Taiwanese aboriginal tribes, to classical guitar and ‘ukulele duets with Pepe Romero, to driving rock riffs with electric guitarist Tak Matsumoto (of 80+ million album-selling Japanese rock duo, B’z). Always on the move, Daniel is in infinite pursuit of new musical adventures. Daniel endorses YAMAHA Guitars and Romero Creations ‘ukuleles.
Pacifico Dance Company
Esmeralda Magaña was raised with the belief that education is essential and dance is a form of expressing love for one’s culture. Her parents migrated here for a better future, and their experience of systemic injustice has motivated her to become an educator. Esmeralda has volunteered as a tutor through City Year Los Angeles and currently works at Esperanza College Prep as part of the administrative team. Esmeralda began dancing folklorico at the age of twelve and loves using her feet and body to express her pride in her culture. She began performing with community groups, was Artistic Director of Grupo Folklorico de UCLA and established Ballet Folklorico Son de la Palma. Esmeralda is currently a member of Pacifico Dance Company and plans to continue to merge her passions for education and dance throughout her lifetime.
Santa Monica Repertory Theater
Jen Bloom directs and produces plays, events, short films and other fun and thoughtful things in Los Angeles. She is a Resident Director at Santa Monica Rep, and teaches on the Acting Faculty at American Musical and Dramatic Academy-Los Angeles. She has been fortunate to teach classes and workshops for children and adults, and create cross-disciplinary arts curriculum all over Los Angeles and Rhode Island (her home state), for organizations such as the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, Rhode Island Hospital Department of Psychiatry, Brown University, USC, UCSB, UCLA, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and American Jewish University.
Invertigo Dance Theatre
K. Bradford is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and cultural innovator with a passion for incepting arts and education programs that utilize imaginative pathways to embolden inclusivity, equity, and accessibility. For fifteen years in Chicago, Austin, and LA, K. has designed innovative curriculum, public installations, community forums, and performances that invoke interactive, immersive modes of learning, creating, and social change. K. is the founding director of Qumanity, a multidisciplinary art + liberation program for LGBTQIA+ youth, and One Mile, a public art + justice program that poetically re-imagines critical challenges of our times. K. has taught at CalArts, Antioch University, and Columbia College Chicago, and holds an MFA in Writing and in Art + Technology from CalArts along with an MA in English Literature/Creative Writing from UT-Austin. Day to day, you can find K. managing community programs for Invertigo Dance Theatre or teaching woodworking to kids on a magic school-bus-turned-wood-shop for Side Street Projects.
Laila Abdullah is a mother, dancer, teacher, and choreographer with extensive training in African Diasporic dance forms and Modern, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop and Ballet. The Los Angeles Times has written: “... riveting Laila Abdullah, her effervescent solos were compelling...”. Laila began dancing at the age of five with the Katherine Dunham Youth Company in East St. Louis, IL under the direction of Ruby Streate and Theodore Jamison. She earned her B.A. in Dance and M.A. in Education from Loyola Marymount University. Laila taught at West Adams Preparatory High School and currently teaches dance and physical education at Foshay Learning Center. She has taught for Viver Brasil in LAs Best and at Inner-City Arts and was a core teacher for Kittsville Youth Foundation. She studied with Diane DeFranco-Browne, Winifred R. Harris, Michael Mizerany, Rosangela Silvestre, the late Mestre King, Vera Passos, and Luiz Badaró. Laila was nominated for a Horton Dance Award for Best Female Performance in 2005. She traveled to Salvador, Bahia in 2007 for intensive study of Afro-Brazilian dance and music. Laila has been a core member of Viver Brasil since 2003. “Laila enters onto the stage, the muse of VB, she is the dance.”
Pacifico Dance Company
Lorena Meza was born and raised in Santa Ana, California where she began dancing Mexican folklorico. She became the captain of Segerstrom High School’s Championship Song/Pom Dance Team and was the president of the SFHS Ballet Folklorico Club on campus her senior year. She then went on to attend California State University, Fullerton while simultaneously taking her dance career a step further with Pacifico Dance Company. Since then, she has focused on taking master workshops under renowned folklorico maestros from Mexico to further her knowledge in Mexican folklorico and zapateado while continuously exploring other dance styles. Select performance venues include Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, John Anson Ford Amphitheater, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Valley Performing Arts Center, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Meza was also part of the original cast of Disney’s California Adventure “Viva Navidad Street Parade” and has returned to perform every year since its opening in 2012. Meza hopes to share her beautiful heritage with audiences near and abroad through dance performances that explores Mexico’s beauty.
Nick Massouh has served as the Director of Impro Theatre School for the past nine years, is a founding member of Impro Theatre and a main stage performer. Over his tenure he has designed the CORE curriculum, a 4 workshop series, as well has established a conservatory program focused on developing the skills of narrative and genre improv. In January of 2016, Nick created Impro’s Studio Theatre, dedicated to the development of narrative improv and creating a space for the main company to devise new genres and for the students to practice their craft. Nick also works in the mental health industry and has over 7 years’ experience with life coaching and using improv as a form of therapy. He is also an actor and director for both stage and screen. Nick graduated from the University of Southern California with a BFA degree in acting and has made Los Angeles his home ever since.
Violinist Reina Inui is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and studied in Los Angeles at the Colburn School with Robert Lipsett and Sheryl Staples. As the Concertmaster of the Colburn Chamber Orchestra, she was featured on KUSC live broadcast playing Vivaldi’s Winter Concerto. Inui toured Los Angeles schools as a soloist on numerous occasions with the Zipper Orchestra conducted by Dr. Herbert Zipper. Inui has previously held positions with the Buffalo and Virginia Symphony Orchestras and has performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Philly POPS, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Currently she is on the violin faculty at the Brentwood School and the Sol-La Music Academy in Santa Monica.
Santa Monica College’s Global Motion
Sri Susilowati is a dancer, choreographer and storyteller. She creates and performs traditional and contemporary works on the subjects of community, gender, and ethnicity through dance and multi- media combining exquisite classical Indonesian dance with a sense of humor. Originally form Indonesia, Sri established a curriculum in dance and creative movement at a school for gifted children, taught traditional Indonesian dance, trained actors in dance movement, and started a program in creative movement for adults. On moving to the United States, Sri established a dance company and maintained an active schedule as a solo dancer at a variety of universities and other local venues. Sri received certificates in Arts Education Training for Artists from 18th Street Art Center, and Professional Designation in Arts Education from Los Angeles County Arts Education Training Program. Sri holds a BFA from Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of Arts, Indonesia and an MFA from UCLA. Sri currently teaches at Santa Monica College.
Santa Monica Repertory Theater
Tanya White is a published poet and a favorite contributor to storytelling events in Los Angeles. She is a core-member of Santa Monica Repertory Theater. In April she was named a Santa Monica Fellow and awarded funding for production of her play 7 CONVERSATIONS ABOUT SLAVERY.
Resident EducatorsAnn Whitley
After receiving her M.Ed. at UCLA, Ann Whitley taught for over thirty years in a departmentalized team at Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica. Doing this for the majority of her career enabled her to focus on her passions: language arts, history, and the visual and performing arts. This led Ann to become a lifelong learner of these subjects, in order to deliver cutting edge teaching to her 4th and 5th grade students. Ann attended over twelve institutes in reading and writing at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, where she studied with leaders in these fields. She was trained in arts integration at the Music Center, attended the Colonial Williamsburg Institute, and trained in discipline based arts education at both the Getty and MOCA. Ann is a Cotsen alumnus, a demonstration as well as a master teacher, and has presented many in-services in both reading and writing. To help her students explore their artistry as well as learn the value of collaboration, Ann has written two musical reviews incorporating standards from the ELA, Social Studies, and Visual and Performing Arts Framework. She is known for creating units which integrate multiple disciplines that help students develop their critical and creative thinking skills.
McKinley Elementary School, SMMUSD
Hong Le is a second grade teacher at McKinley Elementary School in Santa Monica, CA. Hong attended the University of Colorado at Denver where she completed her Master’s Degree in Linguistics and received her teaching credentials. Hong started her teaching career at Trails West Elementary in Cherry Creek, Colorado before moving to California in 2007 and has been teaching for Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District since then. She loves the arts and has learned several instruments through the music programs that were offered to her as a student. Hong recently picked up the drums and believes that art plays an important role in keeping a creative and peaceful mind.
Santa Monica High School, SMMUSD
Kate Barraza has been acting in various capacities since an early age. Kate studied theatre at the Evergreen State College all four of her years in a theatre conservatory program (Evergreen is an alternative school). During this time she performed, wrote, directed, stage managed and produced multiple productions. In addition to her studies at the school site, she studied performing arts in Ghana, West Africa under the direction of a professor at Evergreen. She decided to take the path of Educational Theatre and Directing after obtaining her BA in Theatre at the Evergreen State College. Kate got her Master’s in Education at Portland State University and then went on to study Educational Theatre at New York University where she obtained a Teaching Artist Certificate. Kate taught in LAUSD for 8 years in South Los Angeles before coming to Santa Monica High School, where she is currently in her 8th year teaching theatre and directing productions. Kate has directed student devised productions, musicals, comedies and dramas as well as written and directed her own work.
McKinley Elementary School, SMMUSD
Katy Buckner is an elementary school teacher in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. She has taught the third and fourth grade at schools across Los Angeles for ten years. Katy received her BA in Communication Studies with a minor in Peace Studies, her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and MA in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University. She works to integrate arts education, cooperative learning, and social-emotional learning into her curriculum. A resident of West Los Angeles and an advocate for and fan of the performing arts, Katy is pleased to be collaborating with The Broad Stage's Education and Community Programs.
Santa Monica High School, SMMUSD
A native Angelino, Pete Barraza is a graduate of UCLA and teacher at Santa Monica High School, where he currently teaches AP Literature and California Literature. Pete has also served as a faculty member in the English Department at the Punahou Academy in Honolulu, HI, where he taught an honors American literature course focused on the works of John Steinbeck, as well as a Jazz Era literature course developed to provide students with opportunities to explore the relationship between literature, history, visual arts, and music. Inspired by his continuing faculty position for the NEH Steinbeck Institute for educators, Pete developed and piloted the Steinbeck Youth Institute in the fall of 2016, a scholarly and experiential initiative rooted in academic inquiry and application. In the spring of 2018, the SYI published its first academic creative journal, The Hour of the Pearl. Outside of the classroom, Pete continues to work as an educational consultant, primarily working to support AP English teachers. He has been a member of The College Board’s Academic Committee for the western region, serving as chair of the committee in 2011, where he worked to create both policy and strategies to enhance academic achievement for all students.
Center Street School, ESUSD
Rebecca Wright is an elementary music teacher at Center Street School in El Segundo, CA. She is also the conductor of Cougar Choir whose membership includes 4th and 5th grade students who perform in multiple school and community events. In 2016, she was honored by her peers and named Teacher of the Year at Center Street School. Rebecca has lived and traveled extensively throughout the world and taught on the faculty of international schools in Berlin, Germany and Shanghai, China. She received her B.A. Double Major in Anthropology and Music at George Mason University and her M.M. at UCLA. While the majority of her performing experience has been in classical music, she plays a variety of world instruments as a result of her independent study and travel. Her main objective as a teacher is to develop and deliver curriculum that opens young minds and hearts to a wide spectrum of musical experiences, instilling a lifelong appreciation of music. Rebecca’s personal interest in cultural understanding and social justice issues are woven into her classroom instruction.
University High School, LAUSD
A westside local, Rosaisela Lomeli started her teaching career at Westchester High School before transferring to University High School. During her two decades with LAUSD, she has taught all levels of English, but enjoys teaching freshmen and seniors. Rosaisela’s relationship with The Broad Stage began after a colleague invited her class on a fieldtrip. With cutbacks in the arts, she believes it is essential to expose students to the performing arts. Rosaisela enjoys collaborating with others and working with The Broad Stage’s Education & Community Programs department.
Lincoln Middle School, SMMUSD
Sharon Klein Hart has taught English Language Arts and Social Studies for more than 25 years as a teacher at Lincoln Middle School in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. She is currently the professional development teacher leader for her site and a Los Angeles County teacher leader for the organization, Facing History and Ourselves. Sharon enjoys creating curriculum units that combine ELA, social studies, and social-emotional learning. She has participated in many curriculum development workshops including “Celebrating the 325th Anniversary of Bach’s Birth in Leipzig, Germany: a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute” (What Would Johann Download?); UCLA’s History-Geography Project (When Worlds Collide: African Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1492-1789); and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (Fostering Social Emotional Growth in Yourself and Your Students). Sharon was a member of the Teacher/Artist Collaborative that created the 2018 Broad Stage study guide for the “The Diary of Anne Frank” (a staged reading). She also served as a teacher consultant for the Broad Stage’s SPEAK: Tap and Kathak Unite lesson plans.
Dena Elementary, LAUSD
Yomy Lopez is an elementary educator and folklorico dancer whose family is originally from Nochistlan, Zacatecas. Yomy attended the University of San Francisco and Cal State University, Los Angeles where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development. She received her teaching credentials through the LAUSD intern program, graduating as one of its Golden Apples. She has worked at Dena Elementary School, LAUSD since 1994. In 2002, she received National Board Certification. She has served as both a lead teacher and professional development presenter throughout her years as an educator. As a dancer, Yomy started dancing folklorico in seventh grade by watching her teacher rehearse with her performance group. Later, Yomy’s teacher would invite her to be a member of the performance group where she performed folklorico for over ten years. Currently, she introduces folklorico to more than 50 students every year hoping to inspire new dancers.