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While we typically select one of our partner schools to honor at our event, this year – we just couldn’t choose! So, in honor of our educational heroes (our real heroes), we wanted to make sure that we could showcase as many of our inspiring guests as we could. See below to read about our local teachers working hard to educate the future generations of theatre goers!

 

Name: Lisa Byrne

Years Teaching: 19

Subjects Taught: Elementary, Drama

School/Location: Mayfield Junior School

What Inspires Me: Seeing my students gain confidence as performers, understanding as students, and compassion as humans.

Name: Keysha D. Baynes

Years Teaching: 20+

Subjects Taught: Arts Education/ESL

School/Location: Los Angeles

What Inspires Me: Re-igniting students’ creativity and seeing them find the joy in learning.

Name: Kathy Anderson

Years Teaching: 34

Subjects Taught: English, Language Arts; Drama – from Grades 7 to 12 – Currently 7, 8

School/Location: Blair

What Inspires Me: I am inspired by my students. They overcome so much just to get to class on a daily basis. When they have a difficult day, they pick themselves up and come back wanting to learn. In the years I have been teaching, I have learned that every student in my classroom really wants to learn something, even if they are making noise, talking back, or messing around. Then when they actually learn something – that’s it! That’s the reason I teach – that “Ah ha!” moment my students have when they get a concept. And then years later hearing from them, knowing that I made a difference in their lives. It’s all magic.

Name: Aubrey Saverino

Years Teaching: 12

Subjects Taught: Acting, Improv, Intro to Theater

School/Location: Moorpark College

What Inspires Me: Seeing my students gain confidence and getting to see the next generation get as excited about theater as I am.

Name: Jessica Winward

Years Teaching: 8 years

Subjects Taught: Theatre

School/Location: Pasadena Unified SD

What Inspires Me: My students. Every single time. They show up and shine and always reinvigorate me to be better, learn more, and work harder.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: Tanner Redman

Years Teaching: 10

Subjects Taught: Drama, Play Production, Creative Writing, Yoga

School/Location: Leichtman-Levine Environmental Science High School (ESHS)

What Inspires Me: The energy that young actors have is so contagious. It is something that you often cannot find in a room of adults and the ability to mold and promote artistic outlooks and interests at a young age is something that I wished adults did for me as a young actor. It makes teaching very rewarding.

Name: Karen Anderson

Years Teaching: 16

Subjects Taught: Elementary, History, Theatre

School/Location: Pasadena Unified School District Arts & Enrichment Coordinator

What Inspires Me: The students. Everyday.

Name: Susan Pennington

Years Teaching: 22

Subjects Taught: English, Government, Intro to Humanities, Public Speaking, Debate

School/Location: Cathedral High School

What Inspires Me: I am inspired daily by teenagers because they are loud, joyful, curious, and suspicious. I love to hear students talking about literature – even when they are on the wrong track or missed the important details.
I also love talking about literature, reciting poems out loud in class, and teaching grammar. Teaching keeps me vital because it is always challenging and rewarding.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: Mashelle Kirkman

Years Teaching: 17 years

Subjects Taught: English

School/Location: Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School

What Inspires Me: I am inspired most by my students and seeing the growth within them as individuals. Their drive for learning, no matter the situation or circumstances, has made me an even better teacher over the past seventeen years.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: Anna Owen

Years Teaching: 25

Subjects Taught: Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math

School/Location: Lennox Middle School

What Inspires Me: My inspiration for teaching is the community I serve. I am inspired by the hopefulness of allowing all students to realize their potential regardless of their circumstances.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: Christopher Griffin

Years Teaching: 10

Subjects Taught: English

School/Location: Palm Valley School, Rancho Mirage, CA

What Inspires Me: Intellectually curious students.

Name: Myra Maracine

Years Teaching: 4

Subjects Taught: Theatre Arts

School/Location: South Pasadena

What Inspires Me: The passion of my students and their own stories that they bring to the world.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: JC O’Gabhann

Years Teaching: 20

Subjects Taught: Elementary Education Curriculum

School/Location: Mid City Prescott/LAUSD

What Inspires Me: A NOISE WITHIN inspires me as an educator to teach the theater arts in ever deeper levels every year! Thank you ANW for furthering my class of thirty in artistic expression and taking them to another dimension in language arts; not to mention extending the curriculum for me as a classroom teacher.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: David Levine

Years Teaching: 20

Subjects Taught: Theater Arts, English, and Film

School/Location: Los Angeles High School of the Arts

What Inspires Me: My students, colleagues, and fellow artists.

Name: JessieAnna Wilton

Years Teaching: This is year 13!

Subjects Taught: Theatre Design and Production

School/Location: Los Angeles High School of the Arts

What Inspires Me: I am so proud of the confidence and leadership opportunities my program provides students. I love teaching them real-world skills that provide a foundation for an excellent career in the arts.

Name: Bernard K. Addison

Years Teaching: In various capacities for 31 years

Subjects Taught: College: Beginning Acting, Advanced Acting, Voice and Speech; High School: Intermediate Acting, Advanced Acting, Acting Portfolio, Advanced Audition, Professional Ensemble

School/Location: Los Angeles High School of the Arts

What Inspires Me: Giving back and stepping back.

Name: Lisa Groening Name: Cassandra Franklin

Years Teaching: 16 

Subjects Taught:General Music, Chorus, Stage Tech, Music Appreciation, and Musical Theater  

School/Location: John Muir Early College High School 

What Inspires Me: I suppose there are plenty of things that inspire me as a teacher, but the one that stands out the most is seeing my students pleased with what we created together even after they have graduated.

Name: Nikysha Gilliam

Years Teaching: 23

Subjects Taught: Elementary School (grades 1-4), Middle School (English, Ancient Civilizations, US History), High School (English 9&10, ELD 1-4)

School/Location: Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School, LAUSD

What Inspires Me: I am inspired be my students! I love when they realize the power of their own voices and when they make deep and meaningful connections from the to the world around them.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: Stephanie Gillissen

Years Teaching: 6

Subjects Taught: English, drama, stagecraft

School/Location: I teach in the Antelope Valley

What Inspires Me: My students. I am always inspired to do better when I see them thriving or engaging in what I’m offering or when they are creating. It’s really amazing what the students can do when they are giving opportunities and have someone who believes in them.

Name: Jayna Rae Lascaibar

Name: McKayla Menzel

Years Teaching: 2

Subjects Taught: Drama, ELD, English

School/Location: Eliot Arts Magnet

What Inspires Me: My students, of course! Watching them experience and make revelations about art is always eye-opening and inspiring.

Name: Lauren Partma

Years Teaching: 7

Subjects Taught: ELA/History/Drama/ASB

School/Location: Mckinley School of the Arts, Pasadena CA

What Inspires Me: My students inspire me! I feel I learn from them every single day!

Name: Nan Lehnert

Years Teaching: 9

Subjects Taught: AP English Literature and Composition and British Literature

School/Location: Crespi Carmelite High School

What Inspires Me: Nothing beats witnessing those “Aha” moments when the text becomes relevant and the student makes a personal connection. When that author’s message resonates with them and encourages further reading on their part, I’m even more inspired by their curiosity.

Hero in tall yellow font with dotted black shading that makes it pop out three-dimensionally from a blue background. there is a lighting bolt in the O.

Name: Johana Macdonald

Years Teaching: 20 years in various capacities, 7 years at my current school

Subjects Taught: Career readiness, music/piano, arts leadership

School/Location: RFK- Los Angeles High School of the Arts

What Inspires Me: So many things! My colleagues, the arts community, and most of all the students! Watching them grow, make discoveries and see new possibilities for themselves is always inspiring and keeps me going.

   

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