Meet our Teaching Artists


Carrie Alexander Spina

Carrie Alexander Spina is a theatre director and speech coach. She is the owner and Executive Director of New Direction Performing Arts Academy. Carrie has been a teaching artist since 2005, and is the former Director of Education for the Players Guild Theatre. Over the years, Carrie’s youth programs have served over 20,000 students in Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. Last summer, she celebrated her 10th year of youth summer drama programming with the production of The Lion King Jr., performed at Umstattd Hall. Carrie is the head speech coach for Tusky Valley High School. This is Carrie’s 2nd year serving as an ArtsinStark teaching artist.  

Dillon Sedar

Dillon Sedar is an Artist/Educator. His artistic and educational training includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from Kent State University and 2 years serving as a Visual Arts Teacher in Akron Public Schools. Dillon is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Art Education at Kent State University. This is Dillon’s 2nd year serving as a teaching artist for ArtsinStark.



Don Jones

Don Jones is an actor, director, writer, choreographer, digital photographer, set builder, makeup artist, guitar player and a black belt in martial arts.  His training includes years of practical experience in over 100 productions as well as studying acting and voice at the Crate and Canvas Summer Theatre, dance lessons with Betty Adelman Studios and William Beck of the Canton Ballet.  He was an instructor at The Canton Center for Martial Arts and The Student Shakespeare Players at the Kathleen Howland Theatre. He will be appearing as Ebenezer Scrooge for the 7th year in The Players Guild production of “A Christmas Carol”.  This is Don’s second year serving as a teaching artist for ArtsinStark.

Janet MacGregor Jones

Janet MacGregor Jones is an actress and acting teacher. Her theatre training includes a BFA in Theatre from Kent State University. She was a member of the Porthouse Theatre Repertory Company for two years before going to New York. She was in several Off-Off Broadway productions then moved to Colorado where she met her husband Don, who was from Canton. They moved back, raised a family, and became involved in the Canton Players Guild. She has been in many productions both on stage and behind the scenes and has taught acting for teens and adults there for 17 years. She has also written and directed several Dinner Theatre Murder Mysteries. She recently completed filming an independent movie called Run. This is Janet’s 2nd year serving as a teaching artist for ArtsinStark.

Katy E. Russell

Katy E. Russell is a dancer, choreographer, and educator.  Her training includes a BA in Comprehensive Communication and Theatre from Cedarville University as well as dance training in Chicago and LA under industry professionals Laura Edwards, Kevin Maher, Luther Brown, Donyelle Jones, Rhapsody, Jabbawockeez, and more. She is currently working with Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio, a non-profit social development dance program and is also the head coach of Louisville High School's Speech and Debate team. Her recent choreography projects include work at TrueNorth, Sandstone Summer Theatre, Lorain Palace Theatre, Playhouse Square, and she can be seen performing in Dancing with the Canton Stars at the Canton Palace Theatre. This is Katy's 3rd year serving as an ArtsinStark teaching artist.

Kim Wise

Kim Wise is a ceramic artist and art educator. She received her ceramics training at the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art Education. Her ceramics have been featured in both national and local shows. Most recently, she worked with 5th grade students and teachers at Holy Cross Academy Schools while integrating Visual Art and Science. She also participated in the Boston Mills Art Fest. This is Kim’s 2nd year serving as a teaching artist for ArtsinStark

Kris Kiko-Cozy

Kris Kiko-Cozy is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, visual artist, storyteller, and creative movement and multicultural dance educator. She has a Masters in Music Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and extensive training in therapeutic movement and multicultural dance. She has performed on clarinet with numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles, including the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Canton and Akron Symphonies, and the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble. Kris has 35 years of experience facilitating music, movement and art in a wide variety of settings: in her private lesson studio, in the Bosnian war zone, Head Start, Rutland Vermont Mental Health, Family Disability Services in Malvern, and at various schools, churches, camps, nursing homes and retreats. She has extensive experience teaching arts integrated curriculum from pre-K through Grade 12. Kris frequently co-facilitates and performs with her guitarist husband Jeff. Together they especially enjoy leading family dances and providing musical accompaniment for theater productions, currently collaborating with the Courthouse Players in performances throughout NE Ohio and Washington DC of The Andersonville Trial. She also performs with the Venner Clarinet Ensemble.  This is Kris’s 2nd year serving as an ArtsinStark teaching artist.

Lindsay Bonilla

Lindsay Bonilla is a storyteller, actress and author. Her theatrical training includes a BS in Theatre from Northwestern University where she studied acting, creative drama and storytelling. She also earned her teaching licensure in Spanish from the University of Akron. Lindsay has worked for Magical Theatre Company, Malone University and Interacting, an audience-participatory theatre company based in Madrid, Spain. With Interacting, Lindsay toured Spain and Portugal developing and performing interactive theatre programs to teach English to students from pre-school to adult. Lindsay just completed her eighth Summer Reading library tour — performing at libraries across the state of Ohio and beyond. This is Lindsay’s second year serving as a teaching artist, however, she has been involved with Arts in Stark for many more years as both a grant recipient and performer at First Friday. 

Lisa Belopotosky Knight


Lisa Belopotosky Knight is a musical theatre director and vocal coach. She studied Vocal Performance at Kent State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication from Miami University. She has been directing theatre and vocal coaching since 2003. She just recently directed Seussical Jr. at St. Paul Catholic School and co-directed The Lion King Jr. with Carrie Spina for New Direction Performing Arts Academy at Umstattd Hall. Along with Taylor Scott, Lisa teaches after school drama in nine Holy Cross Academy schools. Lisa teaches nearly 40 students per week in her voice studio and serves as Marketing & Events Assistant for ArtsinStark. This is Lisa’s 2nd year serving as an ArtsinStark teaching artist.

Cody Knepper

Cody Knepper is a cartoonist who works in several different art making materials. His illustration training and teaching experience includes a BA in Art Education from Kent State, lead teacher at Akron Art Museum, cooperating teacher at Summit County Juvenile Detention Center, and the facilitator of the Comic Book/Illustration Club at Summit County Public Library. He just recently completed Winterland: A Collective Mural, and The Cody and Dillon Art Show. Cody is also employed through Hudson City Schools as a part-time art teacher. Cody has been serving as a teaching artist in the Akron area for 5 years and this is his 1st year serving as a teaching artist for ArtsinStark.

Holly Michniak

Holly Michniak is a musician and also the artist/owner of Boomdyada ~ Terrariums & all things earth-inspired. Her musical and artistic training includes a BA in Music, K-12, 20+ years of teaching in public and private schools; directing choirs, ensembles and coordinating large productions. She has worked with ages 3 through adult in school settings and also at Cathedral of Life Ministries in Canton for the past 25 years. She runs a small business, Boomdyada, creating terrariums and terrarium and resin jewelry, and teaching classes to ages 3 and up. She is currently creating displays for The Second April Gallery, making terrariums and jewelry with children at First Fridays and other local events, managing an online shop, and teaching terrarium classes at One Earth Studios in Canal Fulton. She also works part-time for First Christian Day Services, providing guidance and instruction to Developmentally Disabled teens and adults. This is Holly’s 1st year serving as an ArtsinStark teaching artist.

Patrick Masalko

Patrick Masalko is a musician and private music instructor.  His musical training includes several areas of study: brass, woodwind, double reed, and stringed instruments. In addition to serving as a private teacher in the Stark County area for 12 years, he has also performed as a solo artist or with ensembles for 16 years in various parts of the eastern United States. He just recently completed his first six song EP (extended play) under the band name Chemical Wonders. Patrick has been affiliated with ArtsinStark for six years.

Rachel Gentner

Rachel Gentner is a certified art teacher and painter. Her painting and drawing training began at the University of Akron which led her to attain a BFA in Painting/Drawing with a minor in Art History. Rachel also has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a PK-12 Visual Art Certification. She has shown her work in a variety of local art galleries and has taught art to students in an urban setting for over four years. Rachel currently owns and operates Palladian Palette Art Studio and Gallery where she teaches a variety of private and group art classes to people of all ages. She is currently working on a variety of acrylic and watercolor paintings to be displayed in her gallery. This is Rachel’s 2nd year serving as a teaching artist for ArtsinStark.

Taylor Marie Scott

Taylor Marie Scott is a communications major at Kent State University and has been active in theater since she was 5. Not only appearing onstage, Taylor has found her passion behind the scenes teaching and impacting students' lives though the arts. Taylor has also been seen on many local stages as well, recently as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Belle in A Christmas Carol. Miss Taylor has been teaching for the last four years and various classes include Tiny Tot Theater, Kinderdrama, and various after school drama club programs. During the summer, Taylor has spent the last 3 years as a staff member for youth summer camp productions directed by Lisa Knight. Taylor also has been involved with the musical productions at St Paul's. This fall, Taylor is thrilled to be teaching in the Holy Cross Academy Drama Club program at the Catholic schools in Stark County. When she's not teaching, Taylor runs a "Princess Party" business and visits children's parties and charitable events such as the "Snow Sisters". Taylor enjoys sharing her love for the arts and meeting such incredibly talented and wonderful kids!

Tim Carmany
Tim Carmany is a visual artist from Canton and runs The Hub Art Factory--a studio/gallery hybrid located downtown. Tim has a degree in Communication Arts, is self-taught in the reverse glass spray painting technique, and has been teaching painting, drawing, and acting classes for children for the past 13 years. He has been affiliated  with or serving as a teaching artist or ArtsinStark for the past 5 years.

Maggie Duff

Maggie Duff is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker.  Her visual art training includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting/Drawing and a minor in Art History, both from the University of Akron. She is also an experienced gardener and incorporates teaching into her gardening practices at the Adolph Street Community Garden and Let’s Grow Akron. She is currently working on a ceramics project for the Sandusky Cultural Center and a new series of paintings for a show in 2017. This is Maggie’s 1st year serving as an ArtsinStark teaching artist.

Dyanne Williams Dyanne Williams is a mosaic artist. Her training includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University. Much of her commissioned art involves working with interior designers, architects and product designers to create architectural mosaic installations and mosaic products. She just recently completed a mid-century modern architectural installation for a private residence in San Gabriel, California. Dyanne has been teaching mosaics for 7 years and this is her 1st year serving as an ArtsinStark teaching artist.
Rob Thompson Rob Thompson is a touring musical entertainer and recording artist who provides live saxophone entertainment for various events across the United States. His musical training includes 5 years of full-time professional saxophone work and other live events collaborating with various artists. He has performed alongside or in some capacity with Joe Vitale Sr., former drummer of rock band The Eagles, as well as funky Leroy Harper Jr., former saxophonist from The James Brown Band, and Larry “Mud” Morganfield, also known as Muddy Waters Jr.. He has mentored and provided music lessons to youngsters ranging from elementary to college-age students for many years. He just recently organized and created a new band collaboration for a grand wedding celebration that took place at the famed Glenmoor Country Club Chapel. Rob Thompson has been serving as a teaching artist or has been affiliated with ArtsinStark as a musical entertainer for more than 4 years.