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TAA Faculty

The Academy core faculty consists of twenty nationally recognized professors, academic instructors, and artists assembled from leading, universities, schools, and arts institutions from throughout the United States. A rigorous curriculum, cutting-edge methodology, and a unique philosophical perspective provide world-class instruction, community, and renewal to arts educators from across Tennessee and the nation.

2024 Tennessee Arts Academy Faculty Bios and Photos
Barber
Felicia
Barber
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Visual Art 
Music
-
Upper Middle/Secondary
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Felicia Barber is an adjunct associate professor of choral conducting, and conductor of the Yale Camerata at Yale University. In addition to teaching graduate-level and undergraduate choral conductors, Barber is developing a new initiative designed to prepare Yale students to work with young musicians on choral music in both school and church settings. Her research interests include effective teaching strategies, fostering classroom diversity, incorporating equity and justice initiatives in choral curricula, and the linguistic performance practice of African American spirituals. Barber regularly engages as a guest conductor at All-State festivals and will conduct at the American Choral Directors Association eastern division conference in 2024 and the Carnegie Hall Festival in 2025. She holds a degree in vocal performance from Oral Roberts University, a master’s degree from Mansfield University, and a doctorate from Florida State University.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
Interlude Description
Bosworth
Olivia Aston
Bosworth
|
Visual Art 
Theatre
-
Elementary/Lower Middle
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Olivia Aston Bosworth is an artist, educator, and producer who deeply believes in the power of theatre for young audiences. She is the head of youth and family programs at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia and works with educational programming for children from birth through fifth grade. She oversees the Alliance Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young program, early learner and elementary classes and camps, caregiver initiatives, and family programming. As a Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts Teaching Artist, Bosworth has taught arts integrated lessons in early childhood and elementary school classrooms around Atlanta and has also presented at several professional development conferences on immersive storytelling through the curriculum. Additionally, she is a proud board member of Theatre for Young Audiences in the United States. Bosworth holds degrees from Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
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Casterlow-Lalla
Latasha
Casterlow-Lalla
|
Visual Art 
Arts Leadership and Administration
-
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Latasha Casterlow-Lalla serves as the supervisor of art and music for Passaic Public Schools in Passaic, New Jersey. She attended Montclair State University, where she earned a degree in music education and then a master’s degree in counseling, human development, and guidance. She received her doctorate from Seton Hall University. After teaching music in the elementary grades, Casterlow-Lalla was appointed as Supervisor of Gifted & Talented Education for Passaic Public Schools, where she implemented the district’s first Saturday Enrichment Academy, and led the district’s Jump Into Summer Program, which served more than 5,000 students. In 2015, she was selected as the founding assistant principal at the Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy, the city’s first magnet school. As the current supervisor of art and music, Casterlow-Lalla has revived the theatre arts program in three high schools, implemented modern band in seven schools, and launched programs in music technology, digital arts, and theatre arts.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
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Derecole
Matthew
Derecole
|
Visual Art 
Visual Art
-
Elementary/Lower Middle
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Matthew Derecole is the ceramics technician and instructor at the University of Hartford Art School in West Hartford, Connecticut. He received a degree in ceramics from the University of Iowa and has held positions at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and as studio staff at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. Derecole has participated as an artist in residence at the LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he taught classes for children and adults and also taught a ceramics course for Doane College in Lincoln. He has also served as an artist in residence at the Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, Illinois, and the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Derecole has worked for artist Theaster Gates and has held instructor positions in ceramics at multiple art centers and universities across the United States. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including museums in Croatia, Slovenia, South Korea, and Spain.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
Interlude Description
Derges
Julie
Derges
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Visual Art 
Music
-
Elementary/Lower Middle
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Julie Derges is associate professor and chair of music education at the University ofHouston, where she teaches courses in elementary and secondary general music and music education research. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and also holds master’s and doctorate degrees from Michigan State University. Derges’s research exploring popular music learning and music teacher professional development has been published in international and national publications, including the Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Music Education, The Orff Echo, and the Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning. She is an active clinician for general music teachers and has twice been named the Texas Invited Clinician for Elementary Music at the Texas Music Educators Association annual convention. Derges has taught general music in Virginia and Michigan, and is certified in Music Learning Theory and Orff-Schulwerk.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
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Golden
Arris
Golden
|
Visual Art 
Music
-
Upper Middle/Secondary
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Arris Golden is the assistant director of bands and associate director of the Spartan Marching Band at Michigan State University (MSU). In this capacity, Golden teaches the MSU Concert Band, courses in conducting and marching band techniques, coordinates the MSU Performing Arts Camps, and assists with all aspects of the total band program. She held a similar position at UNC-Chapel Hill and also had a distinguished eighteen-year career as an educator in the public schools of North Carolina. Golden holds degrees from the UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, and completed the doctor of musical arts in wind conducting from Michigan State University as a 2014 recipient of a Michigan State University Distinguished Fellowship. She maintains an active schedule with engagements throughout the United States and internationally as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
Interlude Description
Hoare
Lynn
Hoare
|
Visual Art 
Theatre
-
Elementary/Lower Middle
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Lynn Hoare is a facilitator, educator, and director working in the field of applied theatre and arts education with regional, national, and international partners. She was the senior director of school-based programs at Creative Action, the largest arts and education nonprofit in central Texas. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin, a co-founder of the Center for Imagining and Performing Justice, and the co-director of the Performing Justice Project which devises original theatre with young people about gender and racial justice. Her co-authored book, Devising Critically Engaged Theatre with Youth: The Performing Justice Project, won the distinguished book award from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education in 2021. Hoare collaborates with others to use theatre as a tool for imagining justice, building connection and community, and fostering critical dialogue.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
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James
Tia
James
|
Visual Art 
Theatre
-
Upper Middle/Secondary
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Tia James is an actor, director, teacher, and vocal coach. She is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and teaches voice and acting to the graduate students in the professional actor training program. She also serves as a company member, resident director, and vocal coach for PlayMakers Repertory Company. James’s acting credits include Hamlet in Hamlet, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Clyde in Clyde's, Angel in Blues for an Alabama Sky, and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. James has directed numerous plays, including By The Way, Meet Vera Stark; Constellations; Grand Concourse; and A Bright New Boise. She has served as vocal coach for more than a dozen plays. James earned degrees at Virginia Commonwealth University, the New York University graduate acting program, and the Miller Voice Method Teacher Certification program. She has won numerous awards and scholarships including the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Irene Ryan Award.

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Interlude Description
McClendon
Robyn
McClendon
|
Visual Art 
Visual Art
-
Upper Middle/Secondary
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Robyn McClendon is a mixed media artist. She studied paper making and bookbinding in the tradition of apprenticing, as these disciplines were dying art forms in the 1980's and were being revived by artists. She subsequently taught in universities and museum systems as an adjunct professor, often setting up the programs in the art departments of these schools nationally, as the discipline of book as art was becoming recognized as a significant art form. She also worked and taught in the book binding department at the Smithsonian Institution. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, and has written a best selling book called Gel Plate Printing for Mixed Media Art, published through Schiffer Publishing. As an artaeomythologist, McClendon leads retreats and workshops that combine the visual arts, idea generation and book arts which help participants find a voice for their story, move forward, and recognize a more authentic artistic experience.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
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O'Shaughnessy
Amanda
O'Shaughnessy
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Visual Art 
Visual Art
-
Elementary/Lower Middle
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Amanda O'Shaughnessy is an elementary art teacher in Overland Park, Kansas, and has been teaching for thirteen years. She also runs pop-up style creative workshops for adults through partnerships with area businesses using her company Studio Art Club, which she founded in 2021. O'Shaughnessy studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Missouri in Kansas City, where she graduated with a degree in studio art and then earned a master of arts in teaching from the University of Central Missouri. In addition to teaching in schools, she spent several years at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art leading classes for all ages. O'Shaughnessy has presented at multiple conferences,   including the National Art Education Association conference in 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. Printmaking, ceramics, and drawing have always been areas of interest as both an artist and an educator. O'Shaughnessy recognizes that everyone can tap into their own unique creativity, and she provides opportunities for this to happen.

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Pethel
Robert Russell
Pethel
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Visual Art 
Music
-
Upper Middle/Secondary
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Robert (Rob) Russell Pethel is a musician, educator, and content creator based in Atlanta, Georgia. Pethel holds degrees from Georgia State University, including a doctorate, and a master’s degree from Auburn University. He has worked for Atlanta Public Schools since 2008 and taught at Sutton Middle School and Peyton Forest Elementary. Pethel currently serves as the lead technology teacher, music instructor, Apple learning coach, and eSports coach at the Atlanta Virtual Academy. He is also active as a professional development speaker and has presented for the Georgia Music Educators Association, Louisiana Music Educators Association, and the Georgia Educational Technology Conference. Pethel is the creator of BlueGuitar Classroom Curriculum (www.BlueGuitar.us), Music Prism (www.YouTube.com/@MusicPrism), and Armuchee Craft (www.ArmucheeCraft.com).

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
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Tamori
David
Tamori
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Visual Art 
Visual Art
-
Upper Middle/Secondary
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

David Tamori taught at Oroville High School for more than thirty-seven years, teaching drawing, 2D design, 3D design, and jewelry making. He supervised more than thirty student teachers. Tamori received the National Art Educators Association Award for Outstanding Secondary Art Educator in the pacific region and the California Art Educators Award for Outstanding Secondary School Visual Art Educator. He served on the development committees for the Praxis, and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and as a member of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing Bias Review Committee. Tamori is a consultant for the College Board Advanced Placement Art and Design Program, in the Western states region. While much of Tamori’s career as an artist and educator has focused on visual art, he is also an accomplished drummer and a founding member and president of the Artists of Rivertown, a non-profit group of Oroville artists.

Core Class Description2nd Core Class Description
Interlude Description
Unitas
Nina
Unitas
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Visual Art 
Arts Leadership and Administration
-
 (Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement)

Nina Unitas is currently serving as senior program officer for arts education in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She is passionate for the visual arts and is known for being very hopeful and inclusive. Unitas relentlessly advocates for humanizing education by offering young people opportunities to ask questions, re-imagine our world and their role in it, and define ways that they see the world becoming a more just, loving, and compassionate place for all people. She previously served as principal of Wylandville Elementary in the Canon-McMillan School District. While there, she worked to promote visible thinking and arts-based teaching practices that challenged the faculty to grow as learners. Unitas began her career as an art teacher at Chartiers Valley Primary School in 1999, and she taught there for seven years. While studying at Carnegie Mellon University she received a master in public management in educational leadership and recently earned a superintendent letter of eligibility through Point Park University.

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Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2024 Tennessee Arts Academy.
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