Holli Golden Richardson, Director of Fine Arts 

Holli is a former member of the Actors Equity Association and the previous owner and Artistic Director of Houston’s theater and voice academy, Broadway off the Beltway. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sam Houston University with an emphasis in directing and musical theatre where she was awarded a main stage directing slot, the second student in the history of the university to do so, and the first recipient of the Kevin J. Dodson Theatre Scholarship.

Holli has toured and sung both locally and nationally. Her most memorable roles include: Fannie Brice in Funny Girl, the Witch in Into the Woods, Madeline in Dog Opera, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Queen of Hearts in the world premier of Alice in Wonderland at the Wortham Theatre with the renowned Trey Mclntyre.

She has worked at Annunciation Orthodox School, the Kinkaid School and The Village School and Cisco Junior College. Holli has also worked in recording studios with vocalist as well as continuing to prep seniors for college auditions. She has also trained those auditioning in New York and Los Angeles.

Holli has directed both adults and children in education theater for over 23 years and has 100+ directing credits. Many of Holli’s former students, including seven in 2010 alone, have gone on to be nominated or win Tommy Tune Awards, Houston’s top high school theatre award. Graduates have gone to prestigious drama and theatre programs at universities around the nation as well as becoming SAG/Equity members and being signed with top agencies

 

Stephen Bachicha, DMA, Music Teacher

Stephen is a composer most interested in blending the beauty and fun in both listening to and performing music. He has had solo as well as ensemble works performed throughout the United States and in parts of Europe. Stephen was born in Santa Fe, NM in 1980, and lived there until 1994 when he and his family moved to Minnesota. After receiving his Bachelors degree from the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University studying composition with Nicolas Scherzinger. Daniel Godfrey and Liu Zhang, and Culinary Arts from Master Chef Greg Zemore he continued his studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he received his Master’s degree studying composition with Virko Baley and Jorge Villavicencio-Grossmann and conducting with Taras Krysa and Takayoshi “Tad” Suzuki. Stephen also studied with James Mobberly, Chen Yi, and Zhou Long at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

At Syracuse University, he was the recipient of the Virginia K. Hickey Scholarship in Music. At UNLV, he received the Susan L. Johnson Scholarship in Choral Studies, and most recently at Rice University, he is the recipient of the Bertha Mallard Scholarship in Music Composition. ”New Mexico Fragments” for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano was named third place in the NATS Art Song Composition Competition in 2011. Stephen has received many commissions for his new music and has been privileged to have his music performed by such wonderful performers as: Susanne Mentzer, Brian Connelly, Julianna Sabol, Greg Wood, Andrew Smith, Megan Lanz, and Katharine Caliendo has also had choral works premiered by the Eden Prairie High School Concert Choir and the UNLV Chamber Chorale. He has attended the SoundSCAPE international music festival in Pavia, Italy, the UNLV NEON festival, GAMMA-UT in Austin, and recently, the Cortona Sessions for new music, and highSCORE new music festival in Italy. Stephen has recently graduated from Rice University with a DMA in composition where he studied with Kurt Stallmann and Art Gottschalk.

 

Stefan Blozinski, Film Teacher

Stefan brings to the table over 25 years of experience in all phases of film making with particular strengths in the production of television commercials and postproduction editing.

For the past four years Stefan has been working with Anita Long of Long films in several capacities including the instruction and coaching of students (ages 9-13) in the Inkspots museum’s film school and talent development program. He also served as an instructor in filmmaking and electronic media at Heritage Oaks School where he helped develop the application of project based learning techniques based on the project management systems used for filmmaking.

Over the years he has worked in radio and television news reporting, voiced radio morning show characters, been involved in all phases of theatrical and television production, Engineering and construction of post-production suites and studios, print design of newspaper ads, brochures and a variety of marketing pieces. Other past work includes scriptwriting and producing, directing over 2,000 television spots in both Spanish (600) and English (1,400), a wide variety of daily and weekly television shows, short and feature films, web content and training films. 

Past clients include: BP, CNN, Shell, Telemundo, MTV Networks, and many others. In addition to full-time employment at area production companies and TV stations, he has worked freelance in and around Houston since the early 90s as Saltmine Production.

 

Shannon Hesse, DMA, Music Teacher

Shannon has performed extensively both nationally and internationally as a soloist and collaborative pianist. Her concert schedule consists of recurring guest appearances in recitals sponsored by organizations such as the College Music Society, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Society of Composers, Inc., Tuesday Musical Club, Galveston Island Arts Academy Concert Series, Imperial Performing Arts series, Greenbriar Consortium, and the Houston Composers Alliance. She regularly performs with musicians from the Houston Symphony, including her husband, cellist Anthony Kitai. A devoted teacher, Dr. Hesse is a long-standing member of Music Teachers National Association, where she is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. She is frequently in demand as an adjudicator and her students have been prizewinners in competitions at the local and state levels.

Dr. Hesse has served on the faculties of Houston Baptist University, Texas Southern University, and Valdosta State University, and spent many wonderful summers teaching at Westminster Choir College's High School Piano Camp and at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where she served as Coordinator of Collaborative Piano. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Dr. Hesse holds additional degrees from Catholic University and Westminster Choir College. She is a member of the honors societies Phi Kappa Lambda and Alpha Lambda Delta and has had the great honor of working with outstanding teachers and mentors, including Jean Barr, Ingrid Clarfield, Marilyn Neeley, and Rita Sloan.

 

Jean King, Art Teacher

Jean King has been creating, exhibiting and teaching art in the Houston area for over 30 years. A graduate of the University of Houston, Jean received a Thomas Flaxman Competitive Portfolio Scholarship. She is a certified Precious Metal Clay instructor and holds a lifetime art teaching certificate from the State of Texas.  

Jean has been exhibiting her artwork throughout the state of Texas since 1977. She has recently had work up in Houston at the Art Car Museum and Lawndale Art Center. She has been an artist with Via Colori Houston benefitting the Center for Hearing and Speech since 2008. She was an invited artist at the first annual Kerrville Chalk Fest.

She started her teaching career as a visual artist/instructor at the Contemporary Art Museum under the guidance of Janet Fox and Anne Bunn. She has been on the Texas Commission on the Arts' Artists-in-Education roster. Jean taught for four years for St. Joseph Multi-Ethnic, Cultural Arts (MECA). From 1992 to 1998 she taught in Galena Park ISD before moving to Houston ISD where she taught art in a Vanguard Magnet program from 1998 to 2014. In 2014 she joined the faculty of St Stephens Episcopal School Houston.

She has offered art workshops to educators across the state at the Texas Art Education Association's conferences and across the nation at the National Art Education Association's conventions. She has taught workshops for the American Association of University Women on Origami and Geometry, a workshop on mandalas at the Margaret Austin Center and classes in Precious Metal Clay at the Art League of Houston. For the past seven years she has led an annual Papel Picado workshop coinciding with the Days of The Dead at Lawndale Art Center.

After serving six years as Texas Art Education Association Area Representative, Jean served two years as Elementary Chair Elect and is currently the  Elementary Division Chairperson through 2017. In 2011 she was elected Texas Elementary Outstanding Educator of the Year. She served on the Texas Education Agency's Middle School Texas Essential Knowledge Skills Revision Committee in 2013. She is a three time Fund for Teachers' Fellow (2002, 2007 and 2012) and a 2008 Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Fellow.  

 

Anita Long, Film Teacher

Anita Long is a storyteller, filmmaker, and social entrepreneur.  She is the CEO of Long Films Studio and President of Women in Film and Television Houston, an international professional organization dedicated to empowering women in the industry. 

Anita is Managing Editor of International Focus (IF) Magazine. IF will be a vehicle for businesses and cultures to cross-pollinate, be a voice for multicultural communities, bring a better understanding of each other’s cultures and lifestyles while fostering collaboration to build bridges of support and commentary. 

Ms. Long is an experienced educator and movie producer who has been awarded medals from The Smithsonian Institute; Permanent Research Collection housed at the National Museum of American History, Awards for “visionary use of information technology to effect positive educational political and economic change in society” and published in the Library of Congress. Examples of her work are published in the Library of Congress and in more than 30 museums and libraries around the country. Long Films is currently producing a feature-length film documenting the first County Fair in Texas, The Washington County Fair.  The five-year project culminates in 2018 with Sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the founding of the fair in 1868. 

Her other credits include heading a National Initiative to Encourage Youth Across America to document the lives of elders in their communities.  Ms. Long continues her efforts serving as a filmmaker, educator, publicist and media consultant. Her passion is about people, the opportunities to create, and the voice she can give to those in need of a storyteller. She loves being a platform for people and organizations to raise support for charitable causes, foster collaborations and inspire changes in the world. 
 
“Filmmaking for our youth can be a great platform for self-expression. My hope is that it will be a vehicle for the students to have a voice not only for themselves but for the communities around them...” - Anita Long

 

Julie_Strauser_Headshot_FAA Voice.JPG

Julie strauser, Music Teacher

Julie Strauser, soprano, from Carmel, Indiana, is new to Houston and recently completed her Masters Degree in Voice Performance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Some of her past performances there include the roles of Oberto in Alcina, Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore, and Rona in 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Julie received her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from DePauw University where she sang the roles of Amy in Little Women, Poppea in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera, and Lucille in Parade. She also sang the role of Speed Dater #3/#8 in Intimate Opera of Indianapolis’ production of Speed Dating: Tonight! In the summer of 2015 Julie joined Opera in the Ozarks as a Studio Artist and in July 2014, she performed in the Bay View Summer Music Festival. A lover of contemporary music, she, as a soloist, had the privilege to work with composers such as John Corigliano, Libby Larsen, Mark Adamo, Adam Guettel, Jason Robert Brown, and Roberto Sierra as a part of DPU's Music of the 21st Century and Living Composers series. Apart from performing, Julie has a passion for teaching voice lessons and helping students find their own unique, free voice. 

 

Susan Shofner, Music Teacher & Choreographer

Susan works as an actor, director, choreographer, teacher, and vocal coach. After living and working for 10 years in New York City, where she performed in two national tours and both off-Broadway and regionally, she and her husband made Houston their home. Susan recently directed “Hello, Dolly!” which was nominated for Best Musical at the Tommy Tune Awards. Other directorial projects include “The Fantastiks,” “I Do, I Do, I Do,” “What Was A Woman To Do?” “Side By Side,” “Life is a Cabaret: The Music of Kander and Ebb.” She has also directed the senior recitals and junior audition workshops at HSPVA. Susan began her performing career as a dancer. She was, for many years, the choreographer for the River Oaks Baptist School show choir, and has choreographed productions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Hello, Dolly!” As an actor, favorite roles include Mary Todd Lincoln in “A Civil War Christmas,” Mama Mizner in Sondheim's “Road Show,” Mother Abbess in “The Sound of Music,” Margaret in “The Light in the Piazza,” The Witch in “Into the Woods,” Pennywise in “Urinetown,” Carlotta in “Follies,” Mona in “Dames at Sea,” Amnesia in “Nunsense,” and Aunt Corene in “Urban Cowboy.” Her next acting project is playing Joanne in “Company.” Susan also coaches privately on such subjects as vocal production, audition prep, and repertoire selection. 

 

Brandy Watkins, Art Teacher

Brandy has over 25 years experience teaching art. She taught in HISD for 23 years and for the last 14 years, has been the lead art teacher at Pershing Fine Arts Magnet School. Before teaching in public schools, she was an art instructor/visiting artist at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Creative Alternatives, I. Weiner Private School, the Aldine Contemporary Magnet School for the Visual Arts, and the Art Outreach Program-Summer of Art with the Art League of Houston. Brandy has taught art at the pre-k to high school grade levels. She received a BFA from the University of Houston and has been active in the Houston area arts community for many years. Her collages, oil paintings, and prints are expressionistic and dreamlike and have been shown in numerous gallery invitationals and juried competitions throughout the state and are in many private collections.

 

Yung-Chiu Wang, Music Teacher

Yung-Chiu has performed the piano in concerts worldwide and appeared in journals in multiple languages including the cover page of Germany’s “Dortmunder Rundschau.” She received the Distinguished Achievement award from the University of Wisconsin for her outstanding performance of the rarely played Paderewski Piano Concerto and Horowitz’s “Carmen Variations,” for which no score existed, having learned the work from the composer’s recording. She has performed chamber music with members of major orchestras, including the London Symphony, Boston Symphony, and Taiwan National Symphony, as well as with faculty members from major institutions, such as Yale University and Manhattan School of Music. Upcoming engagements include a live broadcast solo recital on KUSC, Sundays Live, at the Los Angeles County Museum and a recital in Taiwan at the invitation of Rotary International. Ms. Wang studied at Royal Academy of Music in London, UK, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and holds a doctorate degree in Piano Performance from the University of Houston. She has been on the faculty of Houston Baptist University and Texas A&M University. Outside her profession, Ms. Wang is a dedicated member of the Disaster Action Team of the American Red Cross, Texas Gulf Coast Region. She is devoted to promoting disaster awareness, and frequently responds to spontaneous disasters. In May 2014, she was chosen by the regional office as “Disaster Action Team Member of the Month” for her contribution to the organization and the community.

 

Gina-Marie Vincent Runnels, Theatre Teacher

Gina-Marie Vincent Runnels is a graduate of the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. She also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Musical Theatre from Oklahoma City University and a Master's Degree in Music Education from New York University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the prestigious Steinhardt School and continually returns back to New York City to keep her knowledge of the industry current.

She has taught Music and Drama at Second Baptist School, Paratus Academy, and The Regis School of The Sacred Heart. Gina-Marie has been involved in regional performances such as “Wake Up, Mama,” and “First Lady Suites.” She also has her own performance arts studio, The Tiny Studio, which focuses on musical theatre/drama classes, workshops, and lessons. 

She is also a yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. She teaches at Big Power Yoga located in the heart of Montrose. She has been working on her yoga practice for almost five years. 

Gina-Marie uses the arts as a way to create connection, community and expression. She is excited to help the students of St. Stephen's to celebrate their gifts and talents!

 

Annie Wild for SSESH.jpg

Annie Wild, theatre Teacher

Annie, a native Houstonian, is an actor working professionally in Houston and intermittently in NYC. As a Stratford High School graduate, she was an active member of the prestigious Stratford Playhouse. She graduated cum laude with a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory.

After four years of acting and working with children in NYC, Annie moved back to Houston, in September of 2016, to connect with her roots and be part of the incredible community of artists in Texas.

She is also a freelance acting coach for high school students, as well as, a guest artist for high schools, teaching workshops on audition confidence, etiquette and recognizing individual performance strengths. Over the past decade, she has had the blessing of working with children and youth through a variety of positions but always comes back to her love of nurturing creativity in the next generation through the arts.