- 1 Faculty Biographies
- 1.1 Erica Glenn – Director of Performing Arts and Choir Director
- 1.2 Dr. Christa Saeger Dean – Orchestra Director
- 1.3 Katherine Hunter – Dance Director
- 1.4 Mindy Young – Musical Theatre Director & Acting Coach
- 1.5 Kimberly Marsden – K-12 General Music & Piano
- 1.6 James Glines – Digital Audio, Recording Tech, and Theatre Tech
- 1.7 Geoffrey Dean – General Music Instructor
- 1.8 Band/Jazz/Percussion Instructor
- 1.9 Nick Blossom-Carter – Ballroom Instructor
- 1.10 Megan Sticht – Improv Theatre Club
- 1.11 Jade Christiansen – Group Guitar Instructor
- 1.12 Trevor Huish – Art Teacher
- 1.13 Deborah Knudson – Art Teacher
- 1.14 Jamie Janke, Piano Teacher
Erica Glenn – Director of Performing Arts and Choir Director
Ms. Glenn holds an MM in Music Composition from the Longy School of Music (Boston) and an Ed.M. in The Arts in Education from Harvard. She has taught music privately for over a decade and has been faculty at Dean College (MA), the Franklin School for the Performing Arts (MA), and the Soul Arts Academy (NYC). Erica is also a co-founder of various arts organizations, camps for children, and choral groups throughout UT, AZ, Boston, and NYC. She studied both choral and orchestral conducting at ASU, Longy, and Harvard and has established music programs for underprivileged children in Cambridge, MA and St. Petersburg, Russia. Erica has performed lead roles in over a dozen musicals (including Maria in The Sound of Music, Mary in Mary Poppins, and Belle in Beauty and the Beast), and she directs, music directs, and produces at the community, professional, and college levels. As a vocalist and pianist, she has given recitals internationally and has sung with the Brighton Festival Chorus and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Utah Symphony Chorus, and others. In 2013, Ms. Glenn participated on scholarship in the ASCAP Marvin Hamlisch Broadway Conductor’s Program which culminated in a performance with cast and orchestra members from Broadway’s Wicked.
As a composer, arranger, and playwright, Ms. Glenn has worked with Charles Strouse (composer of Annie, Bye-Bye Birdie), Richard Maltby (writer of Miss Saigon, Miss Potter), Jason Robert Brown (composer of The Last 5 Years, Songs for a New World), and the music directors of several Broadway shows (Newsies, Wicked, Cinderella, Annie, Lion King). Her choral compositions have been commissioned by choirs across America, and her first opera won the international Opera-in-a-Month competition sponsored by VocalWorks. Ms. Glenn’s chamber works have won the Chanticleer Student Composer and Longy Graduation Composition Competitions and have been performed under the direction of Sam Pilafin (founder of the Empire Brass Quintet); Steinway Artist, Walter Cosand; Longitude conductor, Paul Brust; and St. Lawrence String Quartet cellist, Christopher Costanza. In 2000, her full-length musical, Dancing Shoes, was awarded “Best Play of the Year” at a Utah theater, and four years later, her children’s musical, Between the Lines, placed first in the VIP Arts Competition. Her most recent musical, The Weaver of Raveloe, received both a developmental reading at the 2012 New York Musical Theater Festival and a 2014 world premiere at the American Repertory Theater’s second stage, OBERON. Ms. Glenn currently publishes with LazyBee Scripts, and her shows have been performed throughout the US, the UK, and as far away as Germany, Australia, and Hong Kong.
Dr. Christa Saeger Dean – Orchestra Director
Cellist Dr. Christa Saeger is a world-class chamber and orchestral musician, recitalist, conductor, and educator who has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters in Music degrees from the University of Minnesota with Tanya Remenikova. Her 2013 publication on the unknown works for cello by Jean Sibelius has won her numerous awards and travel grants. Ms. Saeger served as the Director of Orchestral Studies at Morton College and Interim Professor of Cello at Illinois Wesleyan University, in addition to her posts at The People’s Music School and Youth Orchestras in downtown Chicago. Ms. Saeger is on faculty at the Illinois Wesleyan University Cello and Chamber Camps and the International Chamber Music Academy in Bulgaria. Recently, Ms. Saeger was named the new Director of Orchestras and Community Liaison with the American International School of Utah in Salt Lake City for the 2014-15 academic year. Saeger currently resides in Salt Lake City with her 2002 Paul Hart cello.
Katherine Hunter – Dance Director
Ms. Winder received her dance training from Rocky Mountain Dance and Ririe Woodbury. She continued her training at The Boston Conservatory where she graduated, on scholarship, with a BFA in Dance Performance. During her time in Boston Katherine created new works performed at MIT, The Boston Conservatory, and The Commonwealth Ballet. Katherine was the recipient of the Davis Peace Project Grant, which allowed her to travel to India and establish a dance program for leprosy-affected youth. Upon her return from India she was honored to perform a solo at the Baryshnikov Performing Arts Center in New York City. After her time in New York Katherine moved back to Salt Lake City where she danced with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) for three seasons. Since returning to Salt Lake, Katherine has graced the pages of Dance Magazine, worked as an adjunct professor at Salt Lake Community College, choreographed new works performed at BYU, various Utah High Schools, and dance studios. Most recently, Katherine was found dancing at the Capitol Theatre in the Utah Opera’s production of ‘The Pearl Fishers’. Katherine is a certified yoga instructor, and is currently the Dance Director at American International School of Utah.
Mindy Young – Musical Theatre Director & Acting Coach
Ms. Young is a highly sought-after producer, director, choreographer, teacher, actor and arts advocate. She holds both a Master of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Utah. Mindy has taught at Utah Valley University, Meridian School, Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts, and Southern Utah University where she was a Theater Specialist for artsFUSION and an English as a Second Language adjunct professor. Mindy has directed for The Utah Children’s Theater, Provo Theater Company, Tuacahn, SCERA Center for the Arts, Lakeside Entertainment in Alberta Canada and is currently producing events for Equality Utah. You may have seen Mindy in the LDS Film’s Baptists at our BBQ, Church Ball,and Single’s 2nd Ward or in the acting company at the Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. Mindy is the owner of ESL Arts Advantage, a language program devoted to teaching English as a second language utilizing theater, music and movement in the classroom with an arts based, interactive curriculum. Mindy has been featured on All Ears English, The Florida English Teachers Conference, TEDx and at the International TESOL conference in Dallas Texas on T.A.L.L. A Theatrical Approach to Language Learning.
Kimberly Marsden – K-12 General Music & Piano
Kimberly Marsden grew up in North Salt Lake with a fiddle-playing mom and a singing and guitar-strumming dad. As a teenager she learned fiddle tunes, entered piano competitions, took composition lessons, and was a State Sterling Scholar in music. She received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the University of Utah, and a master’s in piano performance at Wichita State University in Kansas. She occasionally composes music and has choir arrangements published by Jackman Music. At AISU Kimberly works with all grade levels. She teaches singing, rhythm, and movement to lower grades, piano, rhythm, and ukulele to upper elementary grades, and various music theory, composition, and music history topics to high school students, including AP Music Theory. She co-directs the choirs for children at AISU with Erica Glenn and loves working behind the scenes at AISU events and performances, accompanying choirs and ensembles, and supporting the students in any way possible.
James Glines – Digital Audio, Recording Tech, and Theatre Tech
Bio coming soon!
Geoffrey Dean – General Music Instructor
Geoffrey Dean comes to AISU from Bulgaria, where he was a leading music educator and performer for over twenty years. A founding music faculty member at the American University in Bulgaria, he helped design and implement the school’s music curriculum, and served as fine arts program coordinator, Spring Artfest director, Academic Advising committee chair, and representative to the Bulgarian national board of the Fulbright Commission for educational exchange. As the cellist of the Dimov and Sofia string quartets, he was a concert artist of the Sofia Philharmonic, performing in major European music capitals, for the Queen of Denmark and Council of Europe, and on concert tours of Japan. Geoffrey has pursued his passion for collaborative music-making by bringing together professional and aspiring musicians for innovative international performance projects such as The Banjo Meets the Tamboura (USA/Bulgaria), Balkan Drum Dialogue (Romania/Bulgaria), Cobra Junior Group Improvisation Workshop (Macedonia/Bulgaria), and the Rila Ethno Music Exchange (Belgium/Sweden/Bulgaria).
In May of 2015 Geoffrey and AISU Orchestra Director Christa Saeger led AISU’s first international intensive. Featuring daily language sessions, folk music and dance lessons and performances, and excursions to important cultural landmarks throughout the country, the AISU Bulgaria Intensive provided a richly layered cultural immersion for AISU students.
To be announced! Bio coming soon!
Nick Blossom-Carter – Ballroom Instructor
Mr. Bloxsom-Carter is a Los Angeles native and has been dancing since he was 8 years old Nick performs 20 dance and has been competing 10 dance for 7 years He has also received extensiev training in Modern, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, and Ballet. He has performed with the UVU Tour Team for the last four years and has been an officer of 2 as well as a guest artist for the Utah Regional Ballet. He has lately been seen on So You Think You Can Dance, Season 9, as a Top 20 Contenstant. He has also performed on Dancing with the Stars numerous times. He enjoys teaching, choreographing, performing, and directing.
Megan Sticht – Improv Theatre Club
Mrs. Sticht has loved performing since kindergarten, when she began taking music and acting classes. She was her high school’s Speech and Drama Sterling Scholar and also took first place at the state Competitive Speech competition with her Humorous Interpretation, as well as third overall in Dramatic Interpretation, which allowed her to compete at the National Forensic League’s National Tournament. In college, Megan continued to perform with both classical choral ensembles and a touring show choir. She completed her BA in Spanish with a minor in music (emphasis in choral education) from Utah State University. Her involvement with professional improvisational comedy began several years ago when she joined the Improvables Comedy Troupe. At AISU, she teaches Spanish and Improv Comedy Theater intensives. She also sponsors the Improv Club throughout the school year.
Jade Christiansen – Group Guitar Instructor
Ms. Christiansen was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. During her freshman year in high school, she took a guitar class, fell in love with it, and has been playing ever since. From age 15, Jade has been writing and composing her own music. She has also contributed to other artists’ works, both with guitar and vocals, in various recording studios. She recently uploaded her first album onto iTunes and other music distributors. Jade is currently attending the University of Utah, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Minor in Music. She hopes to combine both these degrees to teach children through music therapy. In her spare time, Jade enjoys watching movies, traveling, and of course playing the guitar. This is Jade’s second year here at AISU, and she is looking forward to working with students in helping them create music in a way that can help them express themselves.
Trevor Huish – Art Teacher
Trevor Huish has an eclectic background founded in education and the arts. Having been raised by a wonderful school teacher, he essentially grew up in a classroom and came to love the nurturing community that a school can offer. Trevor studied Fine Art at Brigham Young University. He has a passion for seeking out the simple beauties in the world that so often elude us, and his artwork is inspired by his love for nature, and nostalgia for a time when things were much simpler and more profound (childhood). Trevor also incorporated woodworking into much of his artwork, and worked as a carpenter for 5 years, while in school.
After leaving the art program, Trevor sought out a place where he could use his education and background to better the world around him and found that within the world of education. Trevor took a position at a local start-up charter school, Alianza Academy, and spent the last 3 years falling in love with teaching. As an 8th grade learning coach, he was amazed at the inspiration and strength of character that he saw within the young people that he was able to work with. He feels excited and very privileged to be able to work with the young people and fine teachers of AISU.
Trevor loves to ride his bicycle wherever he goes and enjoys rock-climbing, crocheting, and reading books. He spends his free time adventuring with his two wild little ones, Hazel and Moon.
Please check out Mr. Huish’s website here: www.aisuprojects.weebly.com
Deborah Knudson – Art Teacher
Jamie Janke, Piano Teacher
Starting piano at the age of four and progressing quickly, Jamie Janke was the youngest student of Gladys Gladstone Rosenberg, one of Salt Lake area’s most influential pianists and teachers. Jamie began studying with Mrs. Rosenberg in the 5th grade. Jamie began pursuing her teaching career at the age of sixteen. At the age of seventeen, she was awarded Sterling Scholar in Music while at Wasatch Academy.
Jamie studied piano performance at the University of Utah and music education at Westminster College. She was a member of the Westminster Jazz Band and the Chamber Orchestra. Jamie has studied Family Consumer Studies and Human Development, as well as Special Education.
As a music instructor with 23 years of experience, Jamie has worked with various levels, ages, and capabilities. She has a special niche with those on the Autism Spectrum.
Currently Jamie owns and operates a private music studio, MJ Studios, LLC. She also teaches Special Ed Language Arts at AISU. She is the Vice-President of The Mundi Project, a non-profit organization that provides free piano lessons for underprivileged youth.