• Linda Ball-RodriquezLinda Ball-Rodriquez

    Is a highly qualified Visual Arts teacher of 22 years, who was formally trained in the United Kingdom. In the last 16 years, she was employed as the Visual Arts teacher at a Sedona, AZ Elementary School, and was one of the school librarians. Whenever possible she integrates children’s’ literature into her curriculum. While studying for her degree in Fine Arts at Bretton Hall College, she minored in Inter Arts, which taught her how to integrate performance, music and storytelling into the Visual Arts.

    She has an interest in multiculturalism, and has researched the cultures of: the Iroquois, Hopi, Haida and Navajo; the Aborigines of Australia and the ancient Egyptians. She was fortunate enough to visit the great pyramids of Giza, and Tutankhamen’s tomb! She has been able to incorporate these experiences and cultures into her arts integration curriculum.

  • Robin ColwellRobin Colwell

    Mrs. Robin Cannon Colwell recently relocated to Tucson from New York City, where she worked as a Teaching Artist in drama, music, and creative dance for over 12 years. She also designed curriculum and taught for Literacy Through the Arts with Arts For All NYC. Robin served as Director of Education for Infinity Theatre Company since 2010, where she ran the high school and college internship programs, taught workshops, and produced Theatre for Young Audiences. She had the opportunity to work with Harlem Children’s Theatre Festival, where she directed and co-wrote original TYA works. She is also a children's musician, performing at live events as Captain Robin (with her hot pink guitar, Pinkerton). Most recently, Ms. Colwell taught theatre full time at The Chester Park School in Queens, New York. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Mississippi and M.S. ED Educational Theatre from The City College of New York with Theatre Certification K – 12. Robin is thrilled to join OMA as an Arts Integration Specialist and looks forward to being a part of the Tucson community along with her husband, Clayton, and 1-year-old son, Ralph.

  • Miranda DeBrettoMiranda DeBretto

    Ms. Miranda DeBretto hails from Negaunee, Michigan, and recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Flute Performance from the University of Arizona. There, she was a member of the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet, and served as principal flutist in the Arizona Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. While earning her degree, Ms. DeBretto held a position teaching music with the International School of Tucson and taught private lessons. Prior to her studies in Arizona, Ms. DeBretto received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Flute Performance from Illinois State University.  Throughout her music career, Ms. DeBretto has had the opportunity to teach numerous sectionals, music camps, and private lessons throughout Michigan, Illinois, and Arizona. She has also participated in chamber music festivals and toured across the U.S. and Great Britain. Ms. DeBretto is thrilled to be living in Tucson and is excited for her adventure as the OMA Arts Integration Specialist at Howell Elementary School.

  • Hillary DouglasHillary Douglas

    Ms. Douglas joined the OMA team as an Art Integration Specialist for Visual Art in January of 2016. Art was always Hillary’s favorite subject in school. She benefited from the encouragement of several inspirational art teachers, which motivated her to become an art teacher herself. Originally from New Hampshire, Hillary earned her BFA in Community Art Education from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 2006. After traveling to China in 2007, to teach art at the high school level, she moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2008, where she taught middle school art for five years. Though many in her school community thought of her class as the “fun class,” she found incredible value in reinforcing academic learning and testing strategies through art. In 2013, Hillary moved once again to Tucson, to study art education at the graduate level at the University of Arizona. As a graduate instructor, she taught aspiring undergraduate level art teachers how to be successful in their first years of teaching. Internships at the University of Arizona Museum of Art and Fallingwater, the historic house museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, furthered her understanding of how museums help people understand and make connections to art. Hillary is passionate about art and sharing her expertise and experiences with the TUSD community.

  • Karen FieldsKaren Fields

    Ms. Fields world went from black-and-white to vibrant color when the arts entered her life as a child. Since 2002, Karen has been passionately devoted to bringing the arts to children in Tucson as an Arts Integration Specialist.  Karen has been the AIS at Lineweaver Elementary since 2007.  Karen took a roundabout journey into teaching, earning a BS degree in Political Science with strong emphasis in economics, math and science from ASU.  After being contracted by parent organizations to bring music into elementary school classrooms around TUSD for several years, Karen decided teaching was her passion and career choice, and earned a Post-baccalaureate in Elementary Education from U of A.  She has earned Orff 1 and 2 certification.   OMA was a perfect fit for Karen -- uniting the joy of the arts with the power of the arts to teach and reinforce student learning.  Karen loves providing Visual Arts, General Music, beginning & advanced recorder, before School choir, and Band instruction to her students at Lineweaver.

  • Sara GaschoSara Gascho

    Sara's love for the Arts began while growing up in Lancaster, PA, where she sang in choirs and studied piano and voice, becoming an accomplished and award winning singer. Sara studied Musical Theater at the renown Tish School of the Arts. Realizing her calling lay elsewhere, Sara finished her degree at Temple University's Boyer College of Music with a Bachelor's in Music Education, summa cum laude. Her fortune took her to Tucson and TUSD. For seven years, she taught choral music at Tucson High Magnet School and then transferred to Sam Hughes elementary to become the OMA AIS. Integrating the Arts with Core Curriculum through Expeditionary Learning at Sam Hughes sparks her creativity, and the opportunities to grow and collaborate with her fellow teachers are endless. She also coordinates the OMA Palooza Concert Informances and offers Choir to 3-5 graders once a week before school.
    Sara is the lead singer of the Tucson-based band, Combo Westside, performing originals and standards throughout Tucson. Their 2nd CD, Full Bloom, received acclaim from Zocalo Magazine and The Tucson Weekly.

  • Bethanne GriffinBethanne Griffin

    Bethanne is a native Tucsonan. Her dance training began at the age of six and includes a foundation built on ballet, tap and jazz. As a former graduate of Tucson High Magnet School, she was introduced to modern dance and the art of choreography.  In 2001, she moved to New York City and began a teaching career; dancing and training with The Fred Astaire Ballroom Company.  Upon returning to Tucson, she began designing and implementing integrative dance curricula for local fine arts programs. In 2010, she began Dance Aloud, an early childhood fine arts program; introducing children to literature through creative movement. In 2014, Bethanne and her family returned to New York where she spent 9 months working as a Teaching Dance Artist in NYC's public schools. In addition to modern dance, tap, ballroom, Latin and ballet, Bethanne is very excited to add aerial arts to her movement repertoire as she begins a new chapter this year: dancing with silks! She holds a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She has enthusiastically been working with the OMA program since 2011.

  • Matthew HolterMatthew Holter

    Mr. Holter, originally from Moorhead, Minnesota, is an accomplished lyric tenor and director. Mr. Holter has performed and directed throughout the Western United States and abroad, including China, Russia, Japan and England. His stage credits include numerous roles in opera, musical theatre and dance. Matthew's directing credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Peter Pan, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Godspell to name a few. He maintains a career as a professional soloist and chorister having performed with various ensembles from the greater Tucson area including the Arizona Early Music Society and the Tucson Chamber Artists. Mr. Holter is an Arts Integration Specialist for TUSD with the Opening Minds through the Arts program that provides fine arts residencies to schools throughout the district and a vocal instructor at Trollwood Performing Arts School through the Fargo Public Schools during the summer. Matthew received his Masters degree in Voice from Washington State University and earned his Bachelors degree in Music Education from The University of Arizona. Matthew and his wife, Victoria, live in Tucson with their five children.

  • Chiara LovioChiara Lovio

    Ms. Lovio received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Education from the University of Arizona, and is a certified K-12 Drama/Theatre teacher. She also received her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre for Youth at Arizona State University. Her educational training has been specifically with K-12, but she has taught all ages ranging from preschool to university students. Her Theatre experiences include working with Seattle Children's Theatre, Metro Children's Theatre in St. Louis, and Cornerstone Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Local teaching experiences have been with Live Theatre Workshop, Fine Arts Youth Academy, and Catalina Foothills Summer Program.

    She was born and raised in Tucson and is proud to have grown up attending TUSD schools. As an Arts Integration Specialist, with the Opening Minds Through the Arts program, she feels very fortunate to be able to teach Theatre and to learn about the other three art forms as well, Music, Visual Art, and Dance.

  • Sophia RechelSophia Rechel

    Ms. Rechel graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in music performance and music education. Sophia was a member of the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music undergraduate clarinet quartet, as well as the undergraduate reed trio. She has been a substitute bass clarinetist for the Tucson Civic Orchestra and has performed regularly as the bass clarinetist for the Tucson Santa Cruz Winds. She also has been a bass clarinet substitute for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Sophia was principal Clarinetist of the Fred Fox School of Music wind ensemble and second chair for the Arizona Symphony Orchestra.
    Sophia has been a volunteer coach and instructor in the University of Arizona’s Outreach Honor Band program, where she teaches middle school students and provides private lessons to eager students. She has been an active teacher throughout her entire music career volunteering her time in almost all of Flagstaff’s elementary schools teaching after school band programs and she continues to provide private lessons. She has collaborated with many musicians and has performed in many venues throughout the state of Arizona. Sophia Rechel is currently an Arts Integrated Specialist in the TUSD OMA program at Sewell Elementary.

  • Jeffrey RequadtJeffrey Requadt

    Mr. Requadt spent the majority of his childhood living in Tucson, France and Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa). He began taking piano lessons at the age of five and continued to study piano throughout high school and into college, receiving “First Mention” in an area-wide West African piano competition in 1998. Jeff has been teaching and performing piano publically as a soloist and accompanist since 1993 (often for churches and weddings), and has been teaching piano for almost as long. Jeff has also performed with choral groups in high school and college. One special highlight was performing in a mass choir under the baton of John Rutter at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2004. In 2005, Jeff graduated from Southwestern College with a degree in Elementary Education and taught third grade at Dietz K-8 School from 2006 to 2014. He enjoys using musical concepts and skills both to expand his students’ minds as well as to teach concepts in other disciplines such as reading, writing, science, and math. Jeff is excited to begin the 2017-2018 school year as an Arts Integration Specialist in the OMA Exploratory Residency.

  • Jeff SimpsonJeff Simpson

    Mr. Simpson is a Tucson based musician and a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Music Education program. A vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Jeff has recently performed with a wide variety of groups such as the pan-African pop band The Key Ingredients of African Soul, the acapella vocal troupe Catacoustic Groove, and the Brazilian rock band Batucaxé – also serving as an assistant director for its community drumming ensemble.

    During a career spanning over 30 years, Jeff has worn many hats as a performer: staff singer in a church choir, jazz/blues/rock trumpet player, ukulele and kazoo busker, punk-rock singer and guitarist, and hootenanny troubadour. He has always been passionate about exploring the connections between seemingly unrelated styles and disciplines, and is eager to apply his knowledge, experience, and creativity as an OMA Arts Integration Specialist at Tully Elementary.

  • Jose (Chach) SnookJose (Chach) Snook

    José “Chach” Snook is originally from Napa, California and has performed in 46 states and 13 countries. For almost 10 years, Chach lived in NYC as a professional singer/actor appearing and touring in a number of shows including Forever Plaid (National Tour). He was also a member of the jazz a cappella group, Pieces of 8. In Tucson, he has been seen singing with Khris Dodge Entertainment, Lonely Street Productions, Every Era Entertainment, the Doo Wop sensation, and The 4GENTS. Chach directed Godspell and has directed/starred in a successful run of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (MAC Nominations for Best Musical, Best Director and Best Actor) and Triumph of Love (MAC Nominations for Best Musical and Best Director). He also had the honor of performing in Les Misèrables with his daughter in 2014. Chach has a Vocal Performance degree from Northern Arizona University and was the choir/drama teacher at Flowing Wells J.H. School where he directed over 20 plays/musicals and conducted almost 2,000 choir students over the span of 12 years. In 2013, he was named a Top 5 Teacher of the Year for Arizona and in 2016 he was named Latino Teacher of the Year for Arizona. Much love goes to his family Julia, Gabriel and wife, Jodi Darling.

  • Michelle SugameliMichelle Sugameli

    Michelle was born and raised in Tucson with a life that has been inspired by visual arts. Encouraged by her high school art teacher to pursue a career in Visual Arts, Michelle graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Art Education in 2006. Upon graduation, Michelle was accepted into TUSD's Smithsonian Internship Program, where she spent the summer gathering educational resources at the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. Returning to Tucson, Michelle taught with the TUSD Arts Mobile and as part time art instructor at two elementary schools. In 2008 Michelle taught Visual Art and Ceramics to middle school and high school students in the Marana Unified School District. Throughout the last 12 years Michelle has worked in her free time with a local ceramic artist, Nina Borgia Aberle, in art projects throughout the Tucson area. Michelle enjoys developing her own art work in her free time in the mediums of painting and ceramics. Michelle Sugameli has always had a special love for teaching elementary school and is excited about the up and coming school year as the Arts Integration Specialist.

  • Trista TamuraTrista Tamura

    Ms. Tamura received her BS and Master's degree in elementary education from the University of Oregon. In 2008, she relocated to Tucson and began her elementary teaching career as a 2nd grade teacher. While teaching, Trista focused on helping students that gravitated towards the arts, much like her younger self. She has been involved with the arts since she was young from drawing and painting at an early age to being expected to learn how to read music and play a musical instrument. As a teacher, she found joy in sharing visual arts with her students through integration and found that her students were more engaged and retained more information.
    While Trista enjoyed regular classroom teaching, she knew that she felt a natural calling to dive deeper into teaching in tandem with the arts. She decided to pursue a career in visual arts integration through OMA and has found true joy in bringing the arts to many students throughout TUSD.

  • Chika WillisChika Willis

    Ms. Chika Willis was born and raised in Kyoto City in Japan. She graduated from Bukkyo University and earned a BA in Japanese Literature and a provisional teaching license for secondary education in Japan (for Japanese). Chika came to Tucson and attended CESL at the UofA for one year to learn English with people from all over the world. She also attended Pima CC and earned an Associate degree of American Indian Studies. Chika decided to have a career in the US and began study in the College of Education at UofA. Her Student teaching experience at Borton Magnet School gave her the idea of arts integration teaching strategies. She started working at Van Buskirk ES in 2004 as a kindergarten teacher and learned about Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA). Dr. Karen Yeager, the former OMA Arts Integration Specialist (AIS), took Chika under her wing and gave her many opportunities to attend OMA workshops for understanding arts integration programs. Last year, Karen retired and Chika received the opportunity to follow her path and became an OMA AIS at Van Buskirk for the 2017-2018 SY.  
    Chika has two daughters who have been taking dance lessons at Dancing in the Streets, AZ for 9 years, she has been working for the studio as a volunteer stage make-up artist.

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