Take risks. Embrace failure. Celebrate difference. The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts (GHAA) Half-Day Faculty exemplifies these three tenets in their art and in their teaching. A distinction of the GHAA Half-Day Program is that all classes are taught by practicing arts professional. You can see the exceptional talent of our accomplished faculty both within and beyond our classroom walls. GHAA Half-day students benefit from the personal insight and experience of our Artist-Instructors, who not only have impressive resumes, but also seek opportunities to grow in their arts professions on a daily basis.

 

Kim Stroud
Academy Director and Dance Faculty

Kim StroudKim Stroud started at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in 1993 and has also held positions of Dance Chair and Assistant Director. She has served as the General Director for the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University as well. Ms. Stroud’s former positions include: Administrator for the Dance Programs for City Youth through the School of the Hartford Ballet, Dance Chair for the Center for Creative Youth and head of the Diversity Committee for the International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools.
 Ms. Stroud has been on faculty at the Martha Graham School, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, SUNY Purchase and the University of Hartford.  She was a Principal Soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company for eleven years.   More┍
 She has danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, the road company of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, the Universal Studios film production of The Wiz, and as a guest artist with Katherine Dunham and the Gemini Dance Company. Ms. Stroud has been a master teacher for such institutions as the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, Connecticut College, Eastern Connecticut State University, University of Hartford, South Carolina Governor’s School and the Duke Ellington School.
 Ms. Stroud received Teacher Recognition from The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and from the Connecticut Dance Alliance. The National Dance Education Organization named Ms. Stroud Outstanding Dance Educator of the Year and she received the Teacher of the Year award from the International Arts Schools Network.  In 2012 she was named Outstanding Dance Educator by Dance Teacher Magazine.  Her most recent honors were receiving the William A. Yandow Educator Award, the Excellence in Education Award and the Arts Hero Award, from the State of Connecticut Department of Education and being named a member of the International Dance Council of UNESCO.
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Gene Bozzi

Music Department  Head

Gene Bozzi Gene Bozzi graduated from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford with a Bachelor of Music and Music Education. Since 1971, he has served as the Principal Percussionist and later as the Principal Timpanist in the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. While in the orchestra, he has performed solos for Bartok Sonata for Piano and Percussion and Milhaud’s Concerto for Percussion. He is the leader of the Hartford Symphony Jazz Quartet and the creator, artistic director, and drummer for the Hartford Symphony’s “Jazz and Strings” Ensemble. He has toured Russia with the Hendrik Merkens Jazz Quartet and is the founding member of “Samba Brasil.” He is a percussionist for the Bushnell Broadway Series, Goodspeed Opera House, and Shubert Theater. As a teaching artists, Gene has taught at Central Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, and Trinity College. Since 1991, he has been the chair of the Music Department at the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

Alexa Melonopoulos Fleury
Dance Department Head

Alexa Melonopoulos Fleury began her dance training with Estelle Jones. She earned her BA in Dance from Hofstra University and holds an MA in Dance in Higher Education and Administration from New York University. She has had the opportunity to perform with choreographers Eleo Pomare, Remi Charlip, Rosalind Newman, Robin Becker, Stormy Brandenberger, Lance Westergard, Lili Weiss, John Mead and Ching Wen Yeh. More┍
Alexa has been affiliated with a number of groups including Washington Square Repertory Dance Company, Sonia Plumb Dance Company, Works /Laura Glenn Dance and Miss Porter’s School. She is currently the Dance Department Chair at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford and member of the Judy Dworin Performance Project.
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Brian Jennings
Theater Department Head

Brian JenningsBrian Jennings has served on the Theater Department faculty since 1996, and has been Head of the Department since 2017. He is a member of Hartbeat Ensemble, where he has directed multiple productions of Jimmy and Lorraine: A Musing and Ebeneeza: A Hartford Holiday Carol. As an actor, he originated the role of Det. Nick Carter in Flipside. He has been a member of the National Theater of the Deaf, working as a voicing actor on multiple national and international tours. He has played Oberon, Malvolio and Macbeth as part of Artfarm’s Shakespeare in the Grove, and performed at major regional theaters, Off Broadway, and on television. His adaptation, RAVE: The Bacchae of Euripides - Remixed was performed by Academy students at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His original musical, The Resurrectionists was workshopped at Playhouse on Park last winter. More┍
He most recently directed a new production of Jimmy and Lorraine at the Pillsbury House Theater. At the Academy, he has directed numerous Main Stage and Black Box productions including: In the Heights, La Casa de Bernarda Alba, Ragtime and Violet Enlightens. He has co-directed Six Plays in Six Days for the past 11 years. He serves as Chair of the Musical Theater program at Wesleyan University’s Center for Creative Youth, and a member of the Actor Training faculty at the Hartt School. He is currently working with the Educational Theater Association on its Model Cornerstone Assessment project. He is a former Surdna Foundation Teaching Artist Fellow. He was named Arts Teacher of the Year by the Arts Schools Network in 2005 and the Academy’s Artist-Instructor of the Year in 2012. He has taught internationally in Cape Verde and South Africa. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Princeton University and an MFA in Acting from the National Theater Conservatory. Less┍

Natasha Miles
Visual Arts Dept. Head

Natasha Miles
Natasha D. Miles is an accomplished painter, printmaker and book designer. She studied Visual Arts at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida and then graduated from the University of Hartford’s Art School earning a BFA in Painting and Printmaking. Her multimedia works of art have been exhibited at local, national and world-renowned museums such as Galleria d’arte Nocchia in Cortona Italy, Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. In addition to participating in gallery exhibitions, she has been an advocate, exhibitor, volunteer coordinator and Assistant to the Director for Open Studio Hartford since 2003.  More┍
She offers enriching arts educational hands-on workshops for children and adults of all ages by introducing innovative visual arts techniques learned from around the world, across multiple disciplines, media and techniques. Since 2002, Natasha has been an arts educator and mentor at CREC’s Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford, Connecticut where she currently serves as Department Head for Visual Arts.   Less┍

Corrine Bates
Dance

Corrine Bates Corrine grew up in Middletown CT and is an alum of the Academy. She received her BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. Corrine’s choreography has been presented at the American College Dance Association and at the Ailey Studios in New York City. She has danced with companies such as The Von Howard Project, dancEnlight and Sonia Plumb Dance, performing most notably at the Kennedy Center and the Bushnell for the Performing Arts. Along with being a Core Faculty member in the Dance Department at GHAA, Corrine is also the Assistant Director at Company ‘N Tempo Theatre and Dance Center in Cromwell, CT. She has been lucky enough to choreograph for a handful of past Academy productions, including Choreographer’s Showcase (2016), Finian’s Rainbow (2017) and A Chorus Line (2018).

Greg Boucher
Theater Design Production/Music

Greg BoucherGreg Boucher is a graduate from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a degree in Music and Sound Recording Technology. He has worked various live sound, and events/production as a freelance engineer. He worked at WWLP TV22 as a production assistant, video editor, sound engineer, and web author.  Presently, Greg works at the Academy supporting productions, theater events, IT support, and as an artist instructor. At the Academy, Greg has taught songwriting, recording production, and sound design and has served as the sound designer for its musicals and other stage productions. 

Lindaluz Carillo
Visual Arts

Linda Luz Lindaluz Carillo is an Academy alum (‘12) and a graduate of the University of Hartford, where she received her BFA in Visual Communication Design. For several years, she was substitute in the Visual Arts Department. In 2019, she was hired as an Artist-Instructor for Visual Arts. In addition to teaching Painting, Watercolor, Observational Drawing, Conceptualism through Street art, Drawing 2 for the Arts Half-day Program, she is active and committed to giving back to the Hartford Community where she grew up. In winter 2022, she offered free art workshops at the Hartford Public Library Downtown. She’s also in the second year of being a community organizer for the Graffiti and Street Art Committee for the Trinity Hip-Hop Festival. As well, she’s working on a mural project with a Hartford Middle School (McDonough Middle School). In her free time, she volunteers as a commissioner of arts and culture in Hartford.

Mellissa Craig
Theater

M Craig Ms. Craig is a first generation American; born into Jamaican parents. She is an accomplished dancer in Modern, African, and Caribbean folk forms, as well as a trained stilt walker. Ms. Craig holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Trinity College, class of 2002. Mellissa is a current company member and teaching artist for three local companies, the Judy Dworin Performance Project,  FriendZWorldMusic, and Island reflections Dance Theatre Company.  She has enjoyed great success in performing and touring throughout CT, New England, and internationally.  Also, as a Board member for both HartBeat Ensemble and Night Fall, Mellissa has had the pleasure of working alongside others to build strong connections in performance art, arts education, social justice and community empowerment.  More┍
Ms. Craig is currently employed as a Core Faculty member at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School (Full Day and Half Day programs). There, she teaches dance, theater, and stilt walking, and works with certified teachers in curriculum development and arts integration. Mellissa enjoys opening up the imagination and sparking the creativity of young artists.  She is committed to helping students of all ages cultivate peace and positivity within themselves and in the world around them.   Less┍

Jeanne Giroir
Dance

Jeanne GiroirOriginally from Dallas, Texas, Jeanne Tears Giroir was a recipient of the Ford Foundation scholarship at the age of 12. She spent summers in New York City on scholarships at the School of American Ballet and Harkness Ballet.  At the age of 18, she became a member of the Harkness Ballet in New York, and the Harford Ballet a few years later.  During her 18 years as a professional dancer, she has performed principal roles in the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia and Carmina Burana, along with repertory works by Michael Uthoff, George Balanchine, Peter Martins, Doris Humphrey and Antony Tudor.  
Presently, Ms. Giroir is a core Faculty Artist Instructor at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, a magnet arts high school.  She was the Chair of the Dance Dept for the Center for Creative Youth, a summer program for high school students at Wesleyan University.  More┍
She has taught at the Hartt School Community Division and the Hartford Conservatory, along with private studios in the state.  She is married to former dancer, Thomas Giroir, is the mother of two children and also has two adorable granddaughters. 
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Thomas Giroir

Dance

Thomas GiroirThomas attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas on a dance scholarship and received his BFA in Dance.He then joined the Hartford Ballet and danced there for nine years doing many principal roles including Romeo in Michael Uthoff's Romeo and Juliet, the Prince in Nutcracker and the title role in Tom Dula, as well as dancing in pieces by choreographers such as Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Dennis Nahat, Lar Lubovitch, Anna Sokolow and Kurt Jooss. After retiring from dance, he pursued a career in photography, specializing in Dance Photography. He has worked with many dance companies and schools in the New England area, as well as being ask ed to photograph Mikhail Baryshnikov's one man show in 2004.  More┍
He has also done work for corporations and educational institutions. In addition to his photography work, he teaches ballet in the Greater Hartford area at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, as well as several dance studios. He is married to his former dance partner, Jeanne Tears Giroir and they have two children, Christopher, a software engineer in California and Megan, a dance teacher in Bremerton Washington. Less┍

Lynn Hoffman
Academic Advisor

Lynn HoffmanLynn Hoffman has a B.Mus. cum laude in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Hartford/Hartt School and an MFA in Writing from Spalding University with a double-major in Dramatic Writing and Writing for Children & Young Adults. She also has a Masters in Education from the University of St. Joseph with areas of concentration in Reading and Language Arts. Lynn studied Dramatic Writing with Kira Obolensky, Charlie Schulman, Sam Zalutsky, and Gabriel Jason Dean at Spalding U. Prior to that, she studied playwriting with Arthur Feinsod and Tony Hall at Trinity College (CT); with Kathleen Cahill at Wesleyan University; and with Jeffrey Sweet for a week-long summer playwriting intensive at Manhattanville College.  More┍
Lynn is the recipient of a 2020 CT Artist’s Fellowship Award in Playwriting from the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Her plays have had readings at Trinity College and at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts’ “Page to Stage New Play Readings.” Three Mothers (full-length) was selected for the 2020 Depot New Play Readings. The same play advanced to the 2nd Round in the 2019 Orlando Shakes Festival. It also was submitted to the 2019 Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive for which Lynn was selected. Mortal Allies (full-length) advanced to the final round at The Depot. The Sidewalk Living Room (full-length for young adults) was a Semi-Finalist for the 2017 Biennial Write Now Playwriting Competition for Young Audiences; it also was a Semi-Finalist in the American Alliance for Theater and Education’s Unpublished Playwriting Reading Competition. Lynn’s collection of poetry, Like Fire Catching Wind, was nominated for a CT Center for the Book Award. Her poem, “True Story,” was aired on NPR. Her poem, Mother to Son in Iraq, won 1st place in the CT Writing Project/UCONN Annual Writing Competition. She has studied poetry with Steve Straight, Rennie McQuilken, Doug Anderson, Edwina Trentham, and a week-long poetry intensive with Kimiko Hahn.
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Aaron Laudermith
Theater Design and Production

aaron LaudermithAaron Laudermith has been designing for theater since 2002. He received a MFA in Scenic Design and Production Technology from The University of South Dakota. He has worked with regional theaters in Maine, Vermont, Chicago, Nebraska, South Dakota and Connecticut as a designer, scenic and properties artist, and fabricator. For over 8 years he was the Technical Director for Northwestern University Theater working with Tony award winning designers and directors. More recently he has worked with Chicago Scenic Studios, PRG, and Chicago Flyhouse as a Technical Designer. The projects have varied from creating the construction drawings for PFF Studios to designing a conveyor system for a play area at the San Antonio Children’s Hospital.

Calvin Linderman
Music

Calvin Linderman is our Half Day Academy’s Orchestra Director and runs our Modern Music Performance and Production program. Like many musicians, Calvin has had to adjust his output as a creative from live performance to studio work. Over the past year Calvin has written music for several marketing campaigns for international companies, composed and produced music for many premier music production libraries, and wrote the music for nearly 50 episodes of the podcast Something Scary, a young adult narrative podcast with almost 1 million weekly listeners. Calvin also recently released new music with his band Moscow Girls, listen to them on Spotify and follow them at @moscowgirlsband on Instagram! Check Out Calvin’s Work Below

Calvin’s Band”Something Scary”

 

Mike Nowicki
Theater

Mike Nowicki Michael Nowicki is a theater artist, educator and stage director. He holds a BFA in Acting from the Experimental Theatre Wing at the TISCH School of the Arts at New York University. In addition, he studied commedia at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in California with Carlo Mazzone-Clemente. He has workshopped with a variety of groups ranging from Chicago's Second City Theatre to Anne Bogart's Saratoga International Theatre Institute. Mike’s numerous professional credits include 5 mainstage productions and over 15 staged readings at Hartford Stage, where he worked directly with 2 Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights. He is also an Artistic Associate at Capital Classics Theatre Company, home of the Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival, where he has been performing title roles and directing outdoor Shakespeare for the last 2 decades.   More┍
As an educator, he served on many Connecticut faculties including the University of Hartford, the School of the Hartford Ballet, Hartford Stage Company and the Hartford Conservatory, where he served as Dean of Musical Theater during his 8-year affiliation with the college. He was also the Artistic Director of the Theater Program at Simsbury High School for 10 years. For the last 27 years, his teaching base has been the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, where he currently serves as Core Faculty in Theater for their high school and as Director of the Arts for their middle school. He received the inaugural Artist/Instructor of the Year award from the school in 2003 and a CREC Shining Star award in 2015. Mike's work has allowed him to travel the world, with stops including Iceland, Cape Verde and Russia, where he spent 3 weeks as a guest artist at the Diaghilev School of the Arts. He frequently directs productions and leads technique workshops for high schools, colleges and professional theater companies across the country. Mike was awarded a National Artist Teacher Fellowship in 2014, to develop and direct an original piece of immersive theater about the history of Hartford, set in the Colt Firearms Factory's abandoned spaces. During the pandemic, Mike used his ample free time to complete online courses on Shakespeare (through Harvard University) and Social Emotional Learning (through Yale University). Less┍

Christine Perry
Dance

Christine PerryChristine Perry graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford with a BFA in Dance Performance in the Spring of 2009. During this time she also had the privilege to train at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance on scholarship. She has danced with dancEnlight as a dancer and company teacher and with Judy Dworin Performance Projects. Christine Perry has taught in various schools around Connecticut including Limelite Dance Center, Eastern Connecticut Ballet, Premier Dance School, Miss Porter’s School and Yale. She is currently on faculty at Dance Express of Tolland. She is a co-artistic director and dancer with IMMIX dance project, a contemporary dance company centered around collaborating with local artists to create new and unique work.  More┍
Along with dance she is a professional stage and production manager and has done extensive technical theater work in locations including the Baryshinikov Arts Center in New York City, St. Joseph College, the Garde Arts Center, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Foxwoods and the Wadsworth Atheneum.   Less┍

 

Laugh Sanchez 
Theater

Laugh is a performing artist who educates in many different fields of performance. He has a BFA from CCSU, is a member at HartBeat Ensemble, and teaches theater here at the GHAA Half Day program. He has performed and taught throughout CT and continues to open opportunities for others to build confidence and content for the stage.

"Tell your story to the world."

Hannah Simms
Theater

Hannah Simms is a director and teacher based in Hartford, CT. She is a graduate of the Dell'Arte School of Physical Theatre, the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and the Ada Comstock Program at Smith College. She has worked in education for HartBeat Ensemble since 2005, and was program director for their Youth Play Institute. Directing credits include: Pegao and Frog Hollow State of Mind (HartBeat Ensemble), To Kill a Mockingbird (Central Connecticut State University) Guenevere (Ivoryton Playhouse), Eurydice, (PVPA Charter High School), Julius Cesar and Romeo & Juliet (Hampshire Shakespeare) and The City That Cried Wolf (Assistant Director, 59E59). She also teaches stilt-walking at Children's Circus of Middletown. More about her work can be found at hannahjenckessimms.com.

Christine Simoes
Musical Theater

Christine Simoes is a choreographer and teacher in the Greater Hartford area. She has her certificate in Dance Pedagogy from the Hartford Conservatory and is an alumnus of the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Dance Department. Christine has trained to compete professionally in American Style Latin Ballroom dance and taught Ballroom dance for Fred Astaire Dance studio in West Hartford and Arthur Murray Dance Studio in New Britain. She has choreographed and taught Jazz, Ballet and Ballroom Dance to children and adults for the past twenty-four years in schools throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. More┍
She is currently on faculty at the Academy as an Artist Instructor in the Musical Theater Department where she choreographs and teaches Dance. Christine has been teaching at the Academy for the past 19 years and was named Artist Instructor of the Year for the 2013-14 school year. She has had the pleasure of choreographing many spring and Black Box Musicals at the Academy (Chicago, Dessa Rose, Cabaret, Urinetown, Caroline or Change, Ragtime, Carousel, Sweet Charity, In the Heights, King of Hearts and Once On This Island ). This spring she will be choreographing Little Shop of Horrors for CT Repertory Theater at UCONN. Christine has also choreographed Carrie the Musical for Central Connecticut State University, Assistant Directed The Good Person of Setzuan and Urinetown at Loomis Chaffee School and taught/ choreographed for many summer workshops throughout Connecticut. Most recently Christine has choreographed Merry Wives of Windsor, Pericles, Prince of Tyre for Capital Classics and Love’s Labour’s Lost which earned her a Best Choreographer nomination for the 2017 Broadway World Connecticut Awards.
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