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Teachers Hired for Barbara Ingram School for the Arts

HAGERSTOWN, MD (January 30, 2009) - The first members of the teaching staff at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, slated to open in August 2009, have been hired and announced by Washington County Public Schools. The staff, under the direction of principal Michael Thorsen, includes Elizabeth Aziz (Science), Andrea Becker (Dance), Edryn Coleman (Vocal Music), Robert Herr (Social Studies), William Hollin (Music), Erin McCarthy (Math), Ruth Ridenour (Drama & Musical Theater), Teresa Roberts (Visual Arts), Paula Stokes (English), and Lisa Wurtz (Spanish).
The five new arts staff members come with impeccable credentials, skills, teaching ability and a vision of the opportunities this unique school provides for the students and community.
Andrea Becker has been the dance teacher at South Hagerstown High school for the last four years. During that time she has doubled the size of the dance program. A Graduate of Goucher College with a degree in Dance Education, she taught previously in Pennsylvania and at the Carver Center for the Arts and Technology in Baltimore County. She teaches all styles of dance and currently teaches classes at Ballet and All that Jazz in Hagerstown.
Edryn Coleman was hired away from Grambling University, where he is director of choral activities and assistant professor of music. He holds a master’s degree in music education from the University of Florida and is currently a doctoral student at Shenandoah. Mr. Coleman also has extensive experience as a guest conductor (twice for Washington County’s All County Chorus) and as an adjudicator.
William Hollin is coming to the county from Montana, where he is teaching instrumental music and conducting a community youth symphony. He has more than 20 years experience teaching instrumental music at secondary schools in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Oklahoma and Montana.
Ruth Ridenour has 33 years experience teaching music and theatre at Williamsport High School. She is currently the Fine Arts Department chairperson and director of the Sophisticats show choir. She has directed and produced numerous plays and musical productions at Williamsport including award-winning performances of Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast. Ms. Ridenour has been active in local community theatre and is currently president of Potomac Playmakers.
Teresa Roberts is currently on the faculty of the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. She brings 16 years of experience in spearheading secondary visual arts education in Garrett County schools and is on pace to earn her doctoral degree from Ohio State University later this year.

Below are the members of the academic faculty at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts:
English
Paula Stokes currently teaches English 9 at North Hagerstown High School and has 12 years total experience teaching English in grades 9-12 and theatre. She is the North High drama coach for non-musical productions, directed 19 school plays and has a special interest in Shakespeare.
Math
Erin McCarthy has 11 years experience and is currently teaching at South Hagerstown High School. She has taught all levels of mathematics including AP Calculus. She is an accomplished musician and has interests in visual arts.
Social Studies
Robert Herr has six years experience, including five years at Williamsport High School. He has taught all grade levels and has broad experience teaching AP courses. He began teaching after a career as a professional sculptor and painter.
Science
Elizabeth Aziz is currently teaching at Smithsburg High School. She has 30 years experience teaching all levels of science and has taught in private and public schools. Mrs. Aziz has an administrative degree and served as an assistant principal for two years at St. John’s in Frederick. She is a member of a Middle Eastern dance troupe.
Spanish
Lisa Wurtz currently teaches Spanish and Italian at Northern Middle School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and holds an English Language Learning (ELL) certification. Mrs.Wurtz has taught high school-level Spanish in New York and Washington County.

More than 250 applications have been received from students interested in attending the school. Student auditions are scheduled on February 7, 2009, at South Hagerstown High School. Enrollment announcements and notifications are expected in March.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts project began more than four years ago when Vincent Groh generously donated the former Henry’s Theater on Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown, contingent upon the creation of a school in honor of his late wife. Public and private sector partners have enthusiastically supported the project in various ways and the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation, Inc. strives to acquire public and private funding and in-kind support for capital and operational needs.

For information about donations, sponsorships and support of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, please contact Dale Bannon, director of system development for WCPS, at 301.766.2937. Principal Thorsen can be reached at the number established for the school, 301.766.8840.

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