The Board of Trustees meets throughout the year to plan and oversee the events and services that NYSTEA provides to its members. Our Board is an active board, chairing and participating in our many committees. Our bylaws are available for our members’ review, and we welcome your questions and comments.
Mark Solkoff is an Assistant Principal at Academy of American Studies in Long Island City, Queens where he sponsors the Academy Players, International Thespian Society Troupe #5824. Since 1997, Mark has led the Cheesy Llama Improvisational Theatre Society at the Academy which has participated in NYSTEA student conferences since 1999 and has hosted the NYC Region’s Share Your Drama Power in 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2006.
Mark and the Academy played host to the state-wide NYSTEA Educators’ Conference in Fall, 2013. Mark has worked to enhance the theatre program at the Academy, teaching an acting class that works in tandem with a playwriting class taught by his colleague. The program produces a monologue showcase in the fall and a Festival of One Act Plays in the spring with students performing works written by their peers.
Additionally, Mark has co-directed the school’s first musical–You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown in 2008, followed by Working in 2009 and Celebration 2011. Before teaching social studies and theatre in high school, Mark taught middle school for seven years where he designed and implemented I.S. 77’s theatre program. Mark has been a NYSTEA member since 1997 and has been on the Board of Trustees since 2002. He chairs the Constitution Committee, was Secretary for six years and proudly serves as NYSTEA’s president. He truly believes in the power of theatre to perform and transform!
Adam Shatraw is currently the coordinator for Early College High School and Supervisor for Performing Arts K-12 in the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District. Previously he worked at ESM as the Vocal Music Teacher and Theatre Director for five years and before that at Byram Hills High School in Armonk, NY where he directed over 30 productions and taught classes in Theatre and Theatre Tech. In 2010, he received the Teacher Recognition Award for Byram Hills HS.
Adam holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, a Master of Arts from Teachers College at Columbia University and a CAS in Educational Leadership from Syracuse University. He is currently the NYSSMA Zone 3 Representative, previously served as the Zone 11 Representative, and is a Co-Chair for the annual NYSTEA Student Conference.
Adam strongly believes in the power that theatre has to reach students, create community and affect the lives of all who share in the group experience. It is central to his educational philosophy that theatre, and all of the fine arts, must be included in the education of all students in order to produce strong 21st Century thinkers.
Kristie Fuller is the Theatre Teacher at Indian River High School where she has developed a sequenced program in Theatre, directs 3 productions per year and coordinates the Thespian Honor Society. Some of her favorite directing credits include: Who Will Carry the Word, As You Like It, Hairspray, The Yellow Boat, Bocón, Once on this Island, Seussical, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Miracle Worker, And a Child Shall Lead, Doors, You Can’t Take it with You, The Women of Lockerbie, Almost Maine, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Laramie Project and The Diary of Anne Frank. Several of her productions have received Awards of Excellence in Directing from the Theatre Association of New York State and Awards of Excellence for Outstanding Production at the Michael J. Harms Theatre Festival. She has enjoyed teaming with Third Eye Theatre to provide a variety of ASL interpreted productions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in her community.
For over 20 years, Kristie has been the New York State Theatre Education Association (NYSTEA) State Education Liaison/Curriculum Chair working with Theatre Standards, Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification. She was the chair of the committee that developed the Theatre Resource Guide in collaboration with NYSTEA and the State Education Department. In addition, she has worked with the State Education Department on the Arts Assessment project and the development of the Theatre Certification Exam. Most recently, she was selected as the Chair for the Arts Content Advisory Panel and the Chair of the Theatre Standards Revision team at the NYS Education Department. She was proud to be selected as a committee member for the Theatre Teacher Evaluation Workbook team for EdTA as well as part of the EdTA Model Curriculum Project.
Her Theatre program was recognized as the Educational Theatre Association’s Outstanding School in 2007. In 2012 she was awarded the National Reba R. Robertson Award for Outstanding Theatre Teacher. She was thrilled to have been a part of the American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2013 and looks forward to returning again in 2020.
Flori Doyle has been a member of NYSTEA since 1997 and served as the Hudson Valley Regional Rep prior to coming on the board in 2010. Flori earned her BFA in Acting-Directing from Ithaca College and holds a MAT, with a concentration in English, from Manhattanville College.
Flori completed coursework in theatre history and criticism at New York University and in film production at the School of Visual Arts. She acquired NYS certification in Theatre Arts in 2006 and is part of the education program with Manhattan Theatre Club. Flori has also participated in The Hagen Teacher Training at HB Studio in NYC.
Part of the Educator’s Conference Committee in 2005, Flori served as the Educator’s Conference chairperson in 2009. Presently, she chairs the Student Playwriting Committee and works on the Student Conference, Student Membership, and Adjudication Committees. Flori also regularly sponsors students for NYSTEA’s Annual Student Conference and has taught a variety of workshops from acting styles to yoga.
After a 30 year hiatus from acting, Flori has joyously returned to the stage, recently performing as Clara’s Grandmother in The Nutcracker and Violet Weston in August: Osage County. A certified Spin instructor, Flori is an avid cyclist and a triathlete.
Diana Gruninger is currently working at Kenmore West High School as a Theatre Instructor. She is continuing to build upon the program which includes a four year sequence as well as International Baccalaureate Theatre. She participates in the University of Buffalo’s Band Against Bullying with her Advanced Theatre students and is working in conjunction with the local police department to bring student troupes to school assemblies to address matters of bullying.
Diana has been directing plays at the high school level for 16 years. She also works on the regional level to provide students with the opportunity to participate in the ESU Shakespeare Competition. She had the wonderful opportunity to work on the Educator’s Conference with the Western NYSTEA committee. She is currently working on the NYSTEA Student Conference Committee and is looking forward to continuing her work in providing a safe, creative space where students can truly appreciate that Theatre does, in fact, transform lives.
Paige Hardison has been teaching theatre at the high school level in the Levittown Public School district since 2002. She has been teaching music for the past 26 years, the first 5 of which were in Tonawanda and Wilson (in NYSTEA’s western region) before coming to Long Island where she has taught for the past 21 years at both General Douglas MacArthur High School and Division Avenue High School.
Paige is a native of Ransomville, NY in Western New York. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Music Theory from the Fredonia School of Music (SUNY College) in 1984, and completed her Music Education certification there in 1985. She earned her Master of Music degree in Music Theatre Performance from Arizona State University in 1989, and received her Kodaly Certification from the Hartt School of Music in 2003. She became certified in Theatre Education in 2008.
Paige has taught Theatre I and Performance Theatre classes for the past 14 years, and has directed and/or vocally directed musicals and plays, both extracurricular and class-based, every year of her teaching career, including having directed the first high school production of “Flight of the Lawnchair Man” and the first high school and New York production of “The Perfect 36”. She has also been advisor to the Thespian Chapters at MacArthur and Division Avenue High Schools for 5 years.
Paige has been a member of NYSTEA since 2005, and has attended the Educators conferences most years since that time, has brought students to the Student Conference, and served in the following capacities: Educator’s conference committee in 2006; reader for the Student Dialogue/ Playwriting contest several times; and Curriculum Committee since 2014. Several of her students have been winners in the playwriting contest. Paige is currently serving as a member of the Arts Standards Revision Theatre team, which has met throughout the summer of 2016 at the State Education Department in Albany, and which will continue its work throughout this year.
In addition to her activity in NYSTEA, Paige has also been active in other arts education organizations, including NYSSMA and Nassau Music Educators association, for which she has served as all-county chorus chair, vocal jazz chair, and Vice-President of the Jazz Division.
Regina Hartman is an elementary music teacher and choral director at Tri-Valley Central School in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. She also serves the district as producer, production director for both musical and play, co-advisor of the theatre arts club, and heads up the local International Thespian Society Chapter #7725. As an alumni of Tri-Valley, Regina recognizes the unique needs of small districts. She strives to provide experience and opportunity to the students, helping to create a love for the art form and a desire to continue with theatre in their adult lives.
Regina received her B.M in Music Education and Vocal Performance from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. She earned a Masters degree in Music Education from Ithaca College. Regina also holds an advanced certificate in Education Administration from SUNY New Paltz.
Regina has served on the student conference committee for many years as the Student Conference College Liaison, working with professionals throughout New York at the collegiate level to bring their talents to the student conference. She also presents at the student conference on the topic of airbrush makeup.
Augustus Jacobson is the eighth grade English Language Arts teacher at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Forest Hills, Queens. He has a BS in Educational Theatre K-12 from New York University and an MA in Secondary English Education from Teachers College. He has also studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center, focusing on long-form improvisation and sketch comedy. From 2012 until 2016, he worked as a freelance teaching artist and eventually the Teaching Artist in Residence at the Lighthouse Youth Theatre in Westchester County.
A physical actor and Arlecchino by trade, past stage performance credits include: Hamlet, Henry IV Part 1, MacBeth, School for Scandal, Durang’s Beyond Therapy, and Cyrano de Bergerac. Screen credits include appearances with “Saturday Night Live” (NBCUniversal) and “Master of None” (Netflix).
Augustus has been a presenter at the NYSTEA Student Conference, as well as a member of that committee since his early college days, and serves as the Coordinator for the Third Year Ambassador Program. He attended the NYSTEA Student Conference as a student at Byram Hills High School in the early 2000’s.
Tony Ravinsky is the chorus teacher at Cornwall Central High School. He received his Masters of Music at the University of Connecticut and his Bachelors of Music from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.
Tony is currently the Cornwall Central School District’s Music Department Chair while directing a Women’s Choir, Male & Female A Cappella Groups, Mixed Choir, and Select Chorus at Cornwall Central High School.
He is the Director and Technical Director for the school’s Drama Club, where he has been honored several times for his outstanding set designs. Tony is currently the Past President of the Orange County Music Educators Association and was honored to conduct the Suffolk, Dutchess, Ulster, Rockland, and Sullivan County All-County Choruses along with conducting throughout Europe.
Outside of his teaching position he participates in several area community theater companies both on- and off-stage. He also had a small stint as a carpenter for New York Stage and Film at Vassar College. Tony is an active member in the New York State School Music Association, and the American Choral Director Association. Tony has been a sponsor of NYSTEA since 2004, and participated in NYSTEA conferences as a student in the late 90’s.
Meg Test is the Choral Director at Harrison High School. She is also the Musical Director and producer for the spring musicals. Before Harrison, Meg was the Choral Director, as well as the Director of the fall drama and spring musical, at Tuxedo Union Free School District.
Meg graduated from Mansfield University with a B. M. in Music Education & Vocal Performance. She received her Masters degree in Music Education with a concentration in Vocal Pedagogy from the Hartt School of Music.
Meg has been attending the NYSTEA Student Conference since she was a high school student at Cornwall in the early 2000’s, and is thrilled to now be bringing her own students to the conference. She has been a presenter at the student conference for the past several years.
In addition to her activity in NYSTEA, Meg has also been active in other arts education organizations, including NYSSMA and Westchester Music Educators Association, for which she has served as an Area All State chair.
Dean Vallas is the Director of Fine Arts for the North Tonawanda City School District where he oversees the music, visual media arts, dance, and theatre programs. North Tonawanda is a progressive arts district having recently invested millions in a new Fine Arts Center which Mr. Vallas manages. As a seasoned music educator, Dean Vallas also conducts choruses at North Tonawanda High School. Notable performance have included Lincoln Center, The Grand Ol Opry, Statue of Liberty, and The Kennedy Center. Dean is also a sought after choral conductor and clinician conducting honors choirs across New York State. Mr. Vallas is also experienced in musical theatre having directed the famed song and dance troupe The Spirit of Youth, Summer theatre camps, and the yearly musical in North Tonawanda. Dean holds degrees from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and The University at Buffalo.