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Mission Statement

About Us

Northern California School of the Arts provides holistic, individualized, and professional theater arts training programs, supporting young artists from diverse communities to create, express, and participate in theater arts educational opportunities. Through arts engagement, students are empowered to embrace social-emotional learning strategies and advocacy while creating a positive mindset towards themselves and their community.

Our Values & Objectives

Key Principles

NorCal School of the Arts promotes these principles through a school and community outreach program and curriculum that includes:

  • Professional Actor Training for Stage and Screen
  • Premier and regional performance opportunities
  • Leadership and Business Skills training
  • After-school and in-school theatre arts classes and performance opportunities
  • College Counseling & Career Readiness
  • Physical and Mental Wellness
  • Life Balance

EMBRACING UNIQUENESS

NorCal School of the Arts is committed to advocating for inclusion and equity to better create and engage diverse students and audiences for the purpose of educating and illuminating the beauty of our diverse humanity.

OVERALL OBJECTIVES

NorCal School of the Arts is committed to providing theater art students:

  • Technical and artistic knowledge of theater arts: Stage, TV, & Film
  • A nurturing, safe, and mentally healthy environment that enhances the ability to find one’s artistic potential
  • Access to quality artistic and creative opportunities
  • A greater ability to self-reflect with confidence towards making life choices and embracing personal growth
  • Leadership and business development skills to create expanded and more fulfilling job opportunities
  • A multi-generational artistic community to embrace the value of mentoring while recognizing the importance of everyone’s unique talents
  • Opportunity to embrace and celebrate diversity and differences through theater

Meet Our Staff

Michele Hillen-Noufer

Executive Director

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Michele Hillen-Noufer

Executive Director

Michele Hillen-Noufer, M.Ed., AEA, SAG is the Executive Director for NorCal School of the Arts. She is a member of the Actors' Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA and has a master's degree in education. Michele worked as a professional actor for over 25 years doing theatre, film, and television across the country and internationally. She has directed, taught, and choreographed professional theatre and theatre for young people. Michele has a passion for helping young people achieve their goals in the performing arts as well as providing theatre arts education to schools, including arts integration opportunities for students with learning differences. Michele is an arts integration specialist and keeps her skills current by teaching at NorCal and local elementary schools and providing workshops and professional development opportunities for conferences and in-services for educators. She has been a member of the Sacramento State University’s Academic Talent Search faculty since 2012. For 15 years, Michele grew STC School of the Arts and created several programs while training many young theatre makers, storytellers, and amazing humans who will go on to make their mark in the arts field and beyond. Michele is a founding board member for SARA, the Sacramento Alliance for Regional Arts, whose mission is to advocate for the regional arts sector of the Sacramento area. Michele is currently a faculty member of the Theatre & Dance Department at California State University, Sacramento.

Vicki Johnson

Director of College Admissions & Leadership Institute

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Vicki Johnson

Director of College Admissions & Leadership Institute

As the director of the NorCal School of the Arts College and Career Counseling and the Leadership Institute programs, Vicki Johnson offers a holistic approach that embraces each student's uniqueness and supports their efforts to find their potential within the context of mental wellness. As a certified independent college counselor with 15\+ years of college admissions and career counseling experience, she has developed expertise in the following areas: Theatre & Film, STEM, Entrepreneurship, and Athletic pursuits and is also committed to finding the best options for students with learning differences and disabilities. As a member of IECA, NACAC & WACAC, Vicki continually keeps up with best practices and trends, leading her to provide the optimal service she offers all of her students. Vicki also runs the Leadership Institute, a high school program that focuses on personal development and community engagement to provide students with a multitude of skills: leadership, business, communication, self-advocacy and community advocacy.

Taylor Burris

Performing Arts Corps Director

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Taylor Burris

Performing Arts Corps Director

Taylor is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in acting. After college, she moved to Chicago to study Improvisation and sketch comedy at the famed Second CIty and IO. After performing in Chicago, she was cast on the mainstage at Improv Asylum in Boston, MA. She performed, wrote, and taught in Boston for almost 3 years after which she moved to Los Angeles. She performed in both theatre and film in LA for three years as well as studying at Upright Citizens Brigade. Taylor also performed at The Comedy Central Stage in LA and at the PIT in New York City. She has been teaching dance, improv, and theatre for over a decade in every city you can think of! She has settled in Northern California, where she has been a teaching artist for the past 5 years.

Emilee Chew-Bien Mercado

After School Program Manager, Choreographer

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Emilee Chew-Bien Mercado

After School Program Manager, Choreographer

Emilee is an arts administrator serving the greater Sacramento area with over a decade of experience in dance education.  She takes pride in her contribution to making the arts more accessible and aims to utilise her knowledge and resources to pave the way for artists alike and beyond. Although Emilee began choreographing and instructing in 2012, her teaching career gained momentum at Hawkins School of Performing Arts (2014-2023) where she taught and directed both their recreational and competitive hip-hop program.  Simultaneously, she brought dance to Title I schools through her independently-run outreach program (2016-2020) and artist residencies with CLARA Studios for the Performing Arts (2019-2023).  Besides dance instruction, Emilee holds a passion for serving the community by coordinating events with cultural organizations such as O.N.L.Y. All-styles (2012-2015), RVR (2016-2023), and Night Walker Sessions (2019).  Back in 2013, Emilee co-founded TwoPoint4 Dance Theatre alongside great friend and mentor, Tony Nguyen, where she is currently their Outreach and Education Director and Point Company Dancer. Emilee has been teaching dance at NorCal's Camps since 2021 and for NorCal's Corps Program since 2022.  She has also choreographed Matilda Jr. (2021), Lion King Jr. (2022), Newsies Jr. (2023), Elf Jr. (2023), and most recently, Mean Girls High School Edition (2024) and The Little Mermaid Jr. (2024) for NorCal School or the Arts. When she isn't busy placing teaching artists in classrooms or creating the next 8-count, you can find her creating memories with her husband, daughter, and the eagerly anticipated new member arriving in July 2024!

Kristen Deweygreen

Classes & Camps Director/Teaching Artist

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Kristen Deweygreen

Classes & Camps Director/Teaching Artist

Kristen Deweygreen is originally from New York and has a Bachelor of Science in theater. Dewey has worked and taught in theaters and schools in New York, Florida, North Carolina, and now in California. They have been running the NorCal camp and classes program since the Summer of 2021 and are so excited to see what the future holds! Recently they have directed NorCal's productions of Newsies Jr., A Wrinkle in Time, The Little Mermaid Jr., and Elf Jr. Passionately, Dewey has been teaching private acting lessons, workshops, and youth productions for over 10 years along with directing and acting in various productions. Dewey is very enthusiastic about theater education and believes everyone benefits from learning how to use and honor their creative side. "Acting and living with empathy are key. Be proud of yourself and each other."

Fred Lamora

Technical Director

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Fred Lamora

Technical Director

Fred Lamora, M.Ed., is the Technical Director for the NorCal School of the Arts. Fred worked for 35 years as a teacher, coach and administrator before retiring in 2020. He was involved in creating new programs for students and integrating technology to help broaden the learning environment for students. He served as the Director of Instruction and later the Director of Student Services for the Visions In Education Charter School where he designed and led many of the academic, curricular and student support programs. He was recognized as the Casa Roble Teacher of the Year ten times, a San Juan USD Distinguished Educator four times, Sacramento Bee Coach of the Year, and was the James Madison Fellow for the State of California in 1996. He was a frequent presenter at statewide conferences and symposiums on the subject of personalizing learning for students. He is the co-founder of UnderstandingSchools.com, a research and analysis think-tank that focuses on public education policy and practice. With his daughter’s developing interest in musical theatre, Fred switched his interests to set design. An Elly Award winning set designer, Fred now has designed and produced sets for over 30 shows. You will have seen his work in local high schools, regional productions, dance recitals and most recently for the NorCal School of the Arts productions of Matilda, Annie, A Wrinkle in Time and Lion King Jr. He looks forward to his job of introducing new performers to theater with Norcal’s partnerships with local schools and school districts.

Julia Flores

Grants Manager & Teaching Artist

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Julia Flores

Grants Manager & Teaching Artist

Julia Flores is a theatre generalist with more than a decade of experience in the industry. She is very passionate about theatre arts education, and has been with NorCal SOTA since 2021. Recent work with NorCal includes direc_ting Shrek, Jr., She Kills_ Mons_ters, and James and_ the Giant Peach, Jr., as we_ll as stage_ mana_ging Shrek,_ Jr. and Willy Wonka, Jr. She also helped develop NorCal_7;s new Water Conserv_ation Program and play, Drip, Drop, Hip Hop! Julia is so grateful for the opportunity to share her love of theatre with the Greater Sacramento community, and hopes to inspire the next generation of theatre artists.

Dennis Senguin

Theatre Production Manager

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Dennis Senguin

Theatre Production Manager

Dennis Seguin has over twenty years’ worth of experience in costuming. While living in Reno, NV he aided the Reno Dance Company, Divas on the Run (a local cabaret group), as well as local youth groups with his talents. After moving to the Sacramento area, Dennis lent his talents to local pageant performers, including most recently a contestant in the 2023 Miss California Pageant, as well as the local Cosplayer Community. In 2018 Dennis began his work with the Nor-Cal School of the Arts. A sampling of his work was on display in productions of “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “Matilda”, “Willy Wonka”, most recently “The Little Mermaid”, and a production of “Newsies” in the near future.

Sarah Walter

Executive Administrative Assistant

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Sarah Walter

Executive Administrative Assistant

Sarah Walter is a Business Administration Major with concentrations in Accounting and Marketing at California State University - Monterey Bay. She is a graduate of Sacramento Theatre Company's Young Professionals Conservatory, where she co-event chaired the annual Curtains Up! Arts Fundraiser (her year raised $90,000 for arts education). In her free time, Sarah enjoys hiking, reading thriller novels, and road tripping.

Chloe Cook

Administrative Assistant & Teaching Artist

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Chloe Cook

Administrative Assistant & Teaching Artist

Sacramento Native, Chloe Cook, is a passionate teaching artist & stage manager. She began her professional training with STC’s Young Professionals Conservatory under the training of Michele Hillen, but has been performing and pursuing a career in the arts since she was very young. A few of her most memorable performances include Into the Woods as Baker's Wife, Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey, Willy Wonka as Grandpa Joe and The Wizard of Oz as Scarecrow. Chloe is now focusing on arts administration with NorCal SOTA with the intention of giving back to the community that she started in & guiding the local youth to the inspiring world of theater.

Reylina Curtis

Teaching Artist & Administrative Assistant

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Reylina Curtis

Teaching Artist & Administrative Assistant

Reylina Curtis is a current college student who has been dancing since she was 3 years old in a variety of styles including lyrical, jazz, ballet and especially hip hop. Dance really helped her break out of her shell! She has been a part of dance crews such as Sac Modern and Boogie Monstarz. She currently is a part of Sac Dance Company out of Sac Dance Lab. Reylina has taught dance for close to 4 years now all around Sacramento with Norcal School of the Arts, River City High School, Sac Dance Lab, & Mirror Image Dance. Reylina loves to dance and has enjoyed working with NorCal students since 2021! She truly believes that dance is another language and through movement we can express how we feel. That’s why she loves to dance so much!

Caylen Michels

Teaching Artist

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Caylen Michels

Teaching Artist

Caylen Michels is a recent graduate of Winthrop University with a BA in Theatre Performance. Caylen moved to Sacramento in 2019 to work with B Street Theatre and Sacramento Theatre Company serving as an education intern. At the beginning of the pandemic she moved back to South Carolina to build a theatre program at a local Title 1 middle school. Caylen is a passionate teaching artist because she believes that theatre arts makes a difference to the lives of those who read, create, perform and observe it.

Antonio Hernandez

Teaching Artist

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Antonio Hernandez

Teaching Artist

Antonio Hernandez is a sophomore at CSUS and a graduate of Horizon Charter Schools. He is an ATS scholar and participated in STC’s Young Professionals Conservatory from 2017-2020. Favorite roles include Second Man, Kiss Me Kate (YPC); Antonio, Much Ado About Nothing (YPC); Ben Weatherstaff, The Secret Garden (YPC); Paris, Romeo and Juliet (YPC); Steward, Into the Woods (YPC); and most recently, Oscar, Sweat (CSUS), in which he was blessed to be nominated for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 7 Irene Ryan’s award. His interests and hobbies include acting, singing, writing, soccer, and helping others. Antonio hopes that the students at NorCal SOTA, enjoy, create, and find their talent that they were given to share with the world.

Dorothea Bonneau

Teaching Artist

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Dorothea Bonneau

Teaching Artist

Dorothea (Dottie) Bonneau is an award-winning novelist, produced playwright, andoptioned screenwriter. She holds a B.A. in speech and drama and an M.A. in interpersonal communication. She has directed and produced numerous plays, including No Exit, Our Town, Grease, The Sound of Music, and Westside Story. She has also facilitated numerous communications, theater arts, and creative writing workshops in such venues as The Davis Arts Center, Yolo County Juvenile Hall, U.C. Davis, U.C. San Diego and The University of Phoenix. One of her greatest pleasures has been teaching dramatic arts to children and adults where she has witnessed the power of theater to help people of all ages actualize their creative gifts, learn to engage in mutually empowering relationships, deepen empathy, create art, and develop self-esteem on and off stage. Accolades from teachers, psychologists, social workers, parents, and participants confirm the power of drama to change lives is not hyperbole. Dorothea’s recent project was the publication of her historical fiction novel, Once in a Blood Moon. Helping people to break down barriers has been her lifelong mission. So, she was thrilled when the Kirkus reviewer wrote, “The author elegantly articulates the protagonist’s precarious position between white and black society. Overall, this novel explores issues of equality and personal freedom in thought-provoking ways. Sharp writing, an original plot, and a strong female protagonist make for an engrossing read.” The audio book, which will come out in December, 2021, features the music of The Chevalier de Saint Georges, a French/African composer who was a contemporary of Mozart.

Elaine Lenae Douglas

Teaching Artist

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Elaine Lenae Douglas

Teaching Artist

Elaine Lenae Douglas has been performing for many theater companies in Sacramento and other nearby areas for over 20 years. She has been a part of the Celebration Arts Family for over 10 years. She was first a resident actress and is currently a member of the executive board. Ms. Douglas’ first stage production at Celebration Arts was in 2007 performing in James Baldwin’s classic, Amen Corner, in a role she later reprised in the 2017 production of the show. When Celebration Arts opened A Raisin in the Sun in February 2018 at their new location, Ms. Douglas was the assistant director. Elaine Douglas is a graduate from the University of California Berkeley with a double major in sociology and ethnic studies. She later obtained a teaching and administrative services credential from California State University, where she studied theater arts as a minor. She is currently working on a certification in theater for young audiences at Cosumnes River College. She went on to earn a master's degree in education focused on integrating the arts into the curriculum. Retired as the principal of Creative Connections Arts Academy, Ms. Douglas remains involved in theater arts as a performing artist and teaching artist with Sacramento Theater Company. She is the Drama Ministry Leader at the New Home Missionary Baptist Church, an auxiliary that ministers religious and outreach presentations to other churches and community organizations. Ms. Douglas is a life-long learner who believes that theater arts is the mirror of society. She uses theater as her most valuable teaching tool to inspire students through drama, movement, and music to create artistic reflections of the world in which we live.

Kevin B. Johnson

Teaching Artist

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Kevin B. Johnson

Teaching Artist

Kevin B. Johnson (aka K' Von Blakemore-Johnson) is an Equity actor, singer, dancer, director, and visual artist. He has worked in theatre as well as displayed his art in Indiana; Memphis, TN; San Francisco, CA; Sacramento, CA; Whitfield, NH; and Lincolnshire, England. Theaters he has worked at include Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Weathervane Summer Stock Theatre, No Exit Theatre of San Francisco, and No Exit Productions in Indianapolis. He currently serves on the board of Errant Phoenix. He was last seen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Marin Shakespeare Company. He has also worked with Bay Area Children's Theatre in Beautiful Oops! He teaches theatre with Christian Youth Theatre in Sacramento, and before his relocation, he taught with the Indianapolis chapter. He has taught theatre for over 30 years. He is excited to bring his skills with this collaboration with the Northern California School of the Arts.

Mari Takao

Teaching Artist

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Mari Takao

Teaching Artist

Mari Takao is an international student from Japan. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Theater from CSU Sacramento in December 2021. She has been involved in theater since she was 6 years old. She has done some TV shows, movies and productions in Japan. Her theater experience in the U.S. is varied both on and off the stage include Assistant Stage manager for We are proud to present... by Jackie Sibblies Drury, the role of Laura in House of Desire by Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz and the role of Maeve in Dance Nation by Clare Barron. She also has done lighting and sound board operators in college, involved in building sets and props as a theater technician assistant and worked in costume shop at CSU Sacramento.

Macy Salcedo

Teaching Artist

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Macy Salcedo

Teaching Artist

Macy Salcedo is currently in her fourth year as a theatre major at Sacramento State. She started in the performing arts when she was just 5 years old. She did competitive dance for 5 years and then started focusing on theatre. She has been in 12 productions ranging from the age of 5 to a virtual production just last year. She has also directed two productions, one in high school as a student director. The other was a production of her summer acting class in 2019, which she taught for 6 weeks.

Maurisha Dean

Teaching Artist

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Maurisha Dean

Teaching Artist

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Maurisha has aspired to become a professional actress ever since the age of 6. The Cleveland School of the Arts Alumni has fulfilled her dream in becoming just that. She has performed in all the theatres in the greater Cleveland area. Some of these theatres include Dobama Theatre, Karamu House, and Tony award winning Cleveland Playhouse. She has also had her bid in stage managing, and co-directing performances. You may have seen her on-screen roles which includes short film, The Hellsworth Haunting, original shorts in the annual Fusion Fest, "50 father's" movie, the web series "Upstairs" and the classic television series "Awesome Adventures with Mystro Clark". With a bachelor's degree from Cleveland State University, she has begun to combine her passion for the theatre arts, music, psychology, and education. She continues to fall in love with art every day as she is multifaceted when it comes to art. Her love for dancing, singing, graphic design and gaming content creation makes her the artist she is today.

Ryan King

Teaching Artist

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Ryan King

Teaching Artist

Ryan King has been teaching Improv and Theater in Sacramento for 3 years and has performed regularly at the Sacramento Comedy Spot for 8 years. Ryan is also currently pursuing a BA in Theatre from Sacramento State University.

Jason Bortz

Teaching Artist

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Jason Bortz

Teaching Artist

Jason Bortz is grateful to have trained in Seattle with The Film School's John Jacobsen before traveling to New York to attend the National Shakespeare Conservatory; in L.A., he was a core member of the Shakespeare & Friends Foundation performing for “at risk” inner-city schools while working and developing his coaching process “Passion to Craft: Your Method." A founding member of the Capital Film Arts Alliance in Sacramento, Jason has coached for El Dorado Musical Theatre, Stand Out Talent, McLaughlin Studios, Cast Images Agency, Tamraloo Studios, Art Institute of Sacramento, Access Sacramento, Sacramento Film and Music Festival and currently teaches at InnerVoice Media Creative Wonderlab in Auburn. Jason's received top awards from Style Magazine’s “Best of the Best”, Sacramento News & Review, the KCRA TV “A” List, and Sacramento Magazine.  A performer and director of many plays, Jason is also a member of SAG/AFTRA, credited in acting, voiceover, producing, writing and directing in film, television and video games. His short films garnered awards in festivals across the country. Represented by the Bitela Agency, he provides screenplay coverage and served as a guest screenwriting instructor for The Learning Exchange. The greatest position he's held is Dad to his awesome kids.

Olivia James

Teaching Artist

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Olivia James

Teaching Artist

Olivia James has been pursuing her work in theater education with NorCal School of the Arts since the beginning of 2022. Olivia has taken on various roles during her time with Norcal but has fallen in love with stage management. She has worked on and stage managed numerous shows, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Shrek jr and  Wonderland. When she is not stage managing you can find her Backstage, running sound or assisting at numerous Norcal productions. This year Olivia will be graduating from Sacramento City College with her Associates Degree in psychology and theater arts. She hopes to continue her education at UC Davis to earn her bachelors and to continue her career with Norcal.

Tracey Freeman-Shaw

Teaching Artist

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Tracey Freeman-Shaw

Teaching Artist

Tracey Freeman- Shaw Is thrilled to be joining NorCal School of the Arts. Tracey is originally from Sacramento. She graduated from Sacramento State with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater & Dance. Tracey has worked for the past 18 years as a professional musical theater artist, choreographer, and dance educator. She was the choreographer for Camp Music Circus for 3 amazing summers, The Seussical dance practitioner for the Jr. Co. at Music Circus and choreographed for their Springtime Showcase. Tracey has taught a variety of classes including tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet and musical theater at many studios throughout Northern California. Her favorite professional choreography credits include The Producers at the El Dorado Casino in Reno, NV, Beauty & the Beast in Anchorage, Alaska, Lion King Jr. for Camp Music Circus and her 8 person and 9 puppet reimagined Fiddler on the Roof performed in Riverside, California. “5,6,7,8…” is her favorite phrase.

Cattaryna Tekin

Teaching Artist

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Cattaryna Tekin

Teaching Artist

Cattaryna is an actor/director with 10 years of experience in local theatre and film. Some of her previous theatrical credits include The Maltese Falcon (Brigid O’Shaughnessy), Hollywood Arms (Carol Burnett), You Cant Take it With You (Essie), Uncle Vanya (Sonya), King Lear (Regan), and The Tempest (Miranda). She has performed in several children’s shows as well, playing the princess/female lead in shows such as Princess and the Pea, Sleeping Beauty, and Robin Hood. She has also worked as a performer in several children’s birthday parties in character as various princesses. She has over a decade of experience in child care and is very excited to be working with the amazing team at NorCal School of the Arts.

Beth Sheridan Hooper

Teaching Artist

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Beth Sheridan Hooper

Teaching Artist

Beth is a passionate advocate for the transformative power of theater. Recently relocated from the theater scene of the Bay Area, Beth's love for the stage has been ingrained in her since her earliest days in first grade. Drawing from her academic background, with a Master's degree in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Beth enriches her acting classes and her own acting with insights from Jungian psychology, using the concept of the shadow to delve into character motivation and development. With over 15 years of diverse experience in the arts and theater, spanning from stage management to house management, and involvement in registrar and development work for Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir, Beth brings a multifaceted perspective to her role. Since relocating, Beth has enthusiastically embraced her expanding acting and directing career in Sacramento's vibrant theater scene, delighting audiences with memorable performances across various local theater companies. As a teaching artist at NorCal School of the Arts, she channels her passion for theater into nurturing the next generation of performers, instilling confidence and igniting creativity in her students.

Destiny Spurr

Teaching Artist

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Destiny Spurr

Teaching Artist

Destiny is an artist residing in the Sacramento area. She has been a Teaching Artist with NorCal for almost two years and loves having the opportunity to share everything she knows with her community. Destiny has been involved in theater for over 10 years, helping on & off stage. Playing roles such as Sylvia in Sylvia, Kamila in Perfect Murder, Felicity in The Real Inspector Hound and many more. Occasionally she can be seen as a pixie entertaining children's birthday parties. She loves roller skating, painting, camping and of course teaching children all about theater!

Joseph Cochran

Teaching Artist

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Joseph Cochran

Teaching Artist

Joseph Cochran is a Senior at Sacramento State University studying in the History Pre-Credential program. In the future, he hopes to pursue a career in teaching high school history and theater classes and one day become an educator at the collegiate level. He was a member of STC’s Young Professional Conservatory for three years and performed in a professional STC production as an understudy for several characters. He currently studies vocal technique with a professional coach and has done so for the past two years. Favorite productions include Into the Woods (Baker), Northanger Abbey (Ensemble/Swing), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch Mahoney), Secret Garden (Dr. Neville), and Alice and Wonderland Jr. (Director).

Hope Hester

Teaching Artist

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Hope Hester

Teaching Artist

Hope April Hester-Marks began her dance training in Sacramento, California with Pat Colgate at Deane Dance Center. She received her BA in Dance from California State University, Sacramento and trained as a certificate program student at The Ailey School in New York. Ms. Hester-Marks has performed widely as a freelance dancer and as a trainee with both PDX Contemporary Ballet in Portland and Central Illinois Ballet. She is currently a resident company artist with Black Diamond Ballet in Pittsburg, CA and has taught ballet to children at Deane Dance Center, Cornerstone Academy for Performing Arts, and in California public schools.

Grace Bunting

Teaching Artist

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Grace Bunting

Teaching Artist

Grace Bunting is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of California where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in English. In her time at St. Mary’s, she learned the ways of Estill Voice Training and recently passed her Estill Figure Proficiency exam. Grace feels passionately about a well-balanced artistic diet, which is reflected in her studies of various vocal styles including opera, musical theater, jazz, and many more. Grace is currently teaching high school music and private lessons. She is ecstatic to be rejoining the NorCal team!

Amanda Goldrick

Teaching Artist

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Amanda Goldrick

Teaching Artist

Amanda Goldrick holds her B.A. in Musical Theatre with a double emphasis in Voice and Acting from the University of Northern Colorado. Upon graduating she taught acting for a private school in Evergreen, Colorado, performed on stage in major cities in Montana, Colorado and California, and trained with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. Amanda is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and has appeared in such roles as Cassie in A Chorus Line, Lucy Van Pelt in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Kate Monster/Lucy in Avenue Q. She has also been seen in several productions at Sacramento Theatre Company appearing as Sister Amnesia in Nunsense, the Queen in Cinderella, and Maudie Atkinson in To Kill a Mockingbird. Amanda has taught acting for Christian Youth Theatre and Christian home school enrichment programs in Denver and has been a director and choreographer. Her on camera experience includes film, a tv series, industrials, product videos and commercials. Amanda has worked in the STC School of the Arts Program as a director and teaching artist for after school programs and summer camps and had her first arts integration experience helping teach history to the students of Ottomon Elementary. She looks forward to continuing to be a part of arts integration with Northern California School of the Arts.

Hope Dennis

Teaching Artist

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Hope Dennis

Teaching Artist

Hope Dennis is an American Actress born in Memphis, TN. Her passion for acting ignited as a member at church, and she's been a wildfire ever since. As a singer, she has sung for Barack Obama with the Wiley College Choir. She has been in multiple plays _like The P_orch and Langston Hug_hes' Black_ Nativity. While pursuing her passion for acting, she is also making a significant impact as an educator for the Sacramento City Unified School District. Hope's desire is to empower young people, especially those with disadvantages, to realize their full potential as productive, wise, and caring citizens.

Maggie Enriquez

Teaching Artist

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Maggie Enriquez

Teaching Artist

Maggie Enriquez is a recent graduate of Viterbo University Conservatory of the Performing Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre and a minor in Dance. Maggie performed in the Sacramento area all throughout her youth beginning at the age of 5 and continuing until she went on to pursue her degree in music theatre. While at Viterbo, Maggie received training in dance, acting and vocal pedagogy. She was active in the Student Theatre Initiative, Show Choir and served as a tour guide as well. She also had the opportunity to direct, choreograph and perform on the Viterbo mainstage. She taught dance to children ages 3-14 at the local dance studio where she found a passion for teaching as well. Maggie is very excited to work as a teaching artist with Norcal SOTA and bring the arts to children in the Sacramento area.

Michael Ortiz

Program Manager, School Outreach / Teaching Artist

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Michael Ortiz

Program Manager, School Outreach / Teaching Artist

A native of Berkeley, CA, Michael Ortiz is a classical pianist, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, teacher, and actor. Having focused heavily on Theater Arts and Music from a young age, he earned his B.A. in Dramatic Art from University of California, Davis in 2006. He then served for five years as an educator in Title I public schools in the East Bay while earning an M.A. in Education. Over the last 23 years, he has composed, performed and recorded a wide variety of original compositions ranging from classical to latin jazz to country rock, and his previous theatrical credits include West Side Story (Bernardo), Death of a Salesman (Stanley), Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik), and Susannah Martin’s The Faith Project (Darius). His current work is centered on coaching the Teaching Artists of NorCal School of the Arts in sound Educational Theory and Practice, and on blending Social-Emotional learning strategies and Mindfulness into Arts Education.

Clare Holt

Teaching Artist

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Clare Holt

Teaching Artist

Sacramento native Clare is passionate about acting, direcing, and theatre education. She most recently directed Into the Woods Jr., The Little Mermaid Jr., Chicago: High School Edition, and assistant directed Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Holding her BFA in Musical Theatre from Oral Roberts University, Clare is a veteran of the stage - some of her favorite roles include Bonnie Parker in _Bonnie and Clyde_, Paulina in _The Winter's_ Tale, and Alice Murph_y in Bright_ Star.

Jesse Larrosa

Teaching Artist

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Jesse Larrosa

Teaching Artist

Jesse Larrosa is a teaching artist at NorCal School of the Arts.

Judith Morgan

Teaching Artist

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Judith Morgan

Teaching Artist

Jude Morgan has been with NorCal since 2021 and has had the immense pleasure of musically directing Matilda Jr., 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Lion King Jr., Sweeney Todd High School Edition, Newsies Jr., Elf Jr., Shrek Jr. with California Middle School, and currently working on Mean Girls High School Edition and Little Mermaid Jr.!! Jude is so thankful for the opportunities that NorCal provides for not only the youth of the greater Sacramento area, but for the staff as well, to live their dream of bringing theater arts to the world.

Kathy Choo

Teaching Artist

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Kathy Choo

Teaching Artist

Kathy, originally from Malaysia, relocated to the Sacramento area in recent years. She embarked on her artistic journey at the age of 5, embracing piano, vocal training, and ballet. Her passion for music led her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Music, specializing in classical vocal performance with a minor in piano. She is also an ABRSM and Trinity College London music exam board certified instructor, alongside certificates from the Royal Academy of Dance. Fluent in three languages - Malay, Chinese, and English, Kathy's multicultural background enriches her teaching approach and communication skills. Kathy is a dedicated music instructor with experiences in nurturing the musical talents of students of all ages. Her pedagogical experience includes roles at British International School, college environments, and instruction within private music studios. Beyond her teaching commitments, Kathy's artistic endeavors extend to the stage, where she has played pivotal roles in operatic productions including "The Marriage of Figaro" (as Susanna), "Un Ballo in Maschera" (as Oscar), "La Boheme" (as Musetta), among others. Her performance repertoire extends to cantatas, oratorios, show choirs, musical theater, and acapella ensembles. Kathy can't wait to help you discover the joy of music!

THE NORCAL BOARD

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

BOARD PRESIDENT

Martin Noufer (Intel Corporation)

BOARD MEMBERS

Adam Ahmed (Intel Corporation, Sacramento Children's Museum & Fmr Board President)

Amber Cosby (Golden 1 Credit Union)

ADVISORY BOARD

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Julie Casso (Non-Profit Arts Executive Director)

Wayne Cook (Retired California Arts Council Program Specialist )

Jeff Williams (CEO SI&A)

Jack Mitchell (Former Consultant with the California Department of Education, Writer for National Theater Standards, Content Expert for California Arts Standards)