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About the Center for PAInT

The Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching (PAInT) is a statewide Center at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) that provides the infrastructure for university partnerships supporting arts-integrated teaching. The Center offers training for pre-service teachers and professional development for practicing teachers to increase their capacity to deliver high-quality instruction that integrates the arts into classrooms. Partnering with other institutions, the Center conducts basic and applied research on policies and practices related to arts-integrated teaching, including publication in the peer-reviewed book series on arts integrated education.

The Center also provides technical assistance and support, upon request, to the Florida Department of Education, Florida school districts, private schools, charter schools, and educator preparation programs in the implementation of evidence-based, arts-integrated instruction, assessments, programs, and professional development.

Through USFSM’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), PAInT collaborates with arts organizations and Florida school districts in the development and dissemination of online courses that contain outcome-based practices related to arts integrated instruction, assessment, curricula, and programs.

Statewide Resource for Arts-Integrated Teaching

USFSM’s Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT) took the next step in its evolution in 2016 by becoming Florida’s official – and permanent – resource for arts-integrated instruction.

In spring 2016, Florida lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott provided the Center with an expanded statewide role and designated it as The Florida Center for the Partnership for Arts-Integrated Teaching at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

In summer 2016, that designation was made permanent in an education bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Along with that role, the Center partners with colleges and other institutions that want to learn more about arts-integrated teaching or implement their own training programs.

Arts-integrated instruction is a teaching method in which the arts are woven into academic lessons to help students understand and retain the academic material. Studies show that students’ comprehension significantly improves when classroom lessons are combined with the arts.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, a pioneer in arts-integrated instruction, launched The Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching in 2012 after Dr. Terry Osborn, then dean of the College of Education, advanced the instructional method in 2011.

The Sarasota-Manatee area, with its arts-rich culture, proved to be an ideal location to start the program. Based at USFSM’s campus at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, the center partners with several cultural organizations, including the Circus Arts Conservatory, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Venice Symphony, and the South Florida Museum.

Over the years, as the Center’s partnerships grew and arts-integrated programs spread across USFSM’s service area, supporters suggested replicating the effort on a statewide level. Discussions with local legislators began and in this past legislative session, language was added to the state budget to create the new PAInT Center.

The Center will continue its existing partnerships and offer instruction to teachers within its host counties of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. However, its mission will now expand to schools and districts across Florida, not only to public schools but also to charter and private schools.

Additionally, preservice students enrolled in USFSM’s School of Education continue to learn about arts-integrated instruction, along with other forms of teaching, as they work toward their degrees.

On a general level, the Center’s purpose is to increase knowledge and research of arts-integrated instruction, provide analysis of arts-integrated programs statewide and to partner with arts and educational organizations to introduce arts-integrated programs to more Florida schools.

Arts-integrated programs at The Circus Arts Conservatory, the South Florida Museum, and Sarasota School District through Project Elevate, bring arts integration to four Title I elementary schools.

The USFSM Senior Leadership for PAInT

CASEY WELCH is the Assistant Vice President for Economic Development and Government Affairs serves as the Assistant Vice President for External and Governmental Affairs.  He has worked in the United States Congress over several congressional terms.  Mr. Welch served as Deputy Legislative Director for Congressman Adam Putnam, who represented portions of the Tampa Bay area and central Florida.  Prior to his position in Washington, D.C., he worked over the course of three years in the Florida House of Representatives and the office of Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Mr. Welch has represented two of Florida’s largest agricultural trade associations in Washington, D.C. before coming to USF Sarasota-Manatee in 2011.  He is a graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History.  Mr. Welch enjoys being involved in the Sarasota/Manatee community through various organizations and events.  He is a Sarasota native who is a past president of the Florida 4-H Foundation and a current member of the Mote Marine Laboratory Advisory Council.

Center for PAInT Leadership

Denise Davis-Cotton, EdD, the Coordinator of the Florida Center for PAInT. She is an esteemed professional and educator and author of Losing My Mind over Education (Finding My Way Back to Me), in which she shows the discord between the preparations of her educational journey along life’s landscape, what she discovers, and what needs to happen to reignite the educational spirit.

She is a Milken Foundation internationally recognized educator, Michiganian of the Year, and Past President of Arts Schools Network in which she made historic contributions to education and the cultural renaissance. She is the founder and served as the First Principal of Detroit School of Arts (DSA). She also received two Keys to the City of Montgomery (Alabama), as well as the Congressional Record Recognition by the 106th Congress, and she is recognized as a Distinguished Alumni – Alabama State University.

Her dream of teaching performing arts to inner-city school children evolved to the founding of what many believe became an icon of cultural education throughout the country. Through Dr. Davis-Cotton’s leadership, academics and arts are not only recognized but also revered. As a result of her vision, she provides strong comprehensive arts integration programs; promotes creativity, imagination, and innovation; and designs educational curricula that prepares and educates a workforce for the Creativity and Innovation Paradigms.

Dr. Davis-Cotton hails from Montgomery, Alabama and is dedicated to promoting achievement through science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) initiatives, thus providing a balanced intellectual sphere that includes divergent thinking and creativity.

She interacts with corporate, cultural, collegiate, and community institutions to help prepare learners to enter multiple aspects of the creative industries and other professional arenas upon completion of high school through arts integration and workforce development trainings. She has established her reputation as an extremely capable, effective, community and civic leader, as well as an international/national representative for a balanced education.

She is thorough, efficient, and knows the reality of establishing priorities to benefit the mission of promoting arts integration and professional development training in schools and communities.  Her enthusiasm, innovativeness, and genuine concern for education are exemplary. Her demonstration of the highest level of professional commitment and competency allow her to share with others her belief in the importance of arts integration in schools, thereby garnering the distinct honor as a woman of vision, keen insight, and action.

She has led by example for others to emulate, thereby earning the enviable reputation as an educator who truly cares about children, learners, teachers, artists, schools, and community. She holds an earned doctorate from Wayne State University, an Education specialist certification from Wayne State University, a Master of Arts from the University of Montevallo, and a Bachelor of Science from Alabama State University.

PAInT Associated Faculty

Jenni Menon Mariano, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of Secondary Education and Literacies programs in the School of Education at USF Sarasota-Manatee.  Her research examines how formal and informal educational experiences, including engagement with the arts, promote development of life purpose and thriving. In the early 2000’s she coordinated an inter-ethnic peace-building program in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which involved 6000 students and 400 teachers in the development of arts-integrated curricula. In addition, Dr. Mariano supports the Center’s research activities.

A. Helene Robinson, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at USF Sarasota Manatee.  She was a special education teacher for 14 years before moving into higher education. She has designed and instructed undergraduate and graduate courses in Exceptional Student Education and Elementary Education, and created a graduate degree program in Arts Integration.  She facilitated a collaborative partnership with the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, which led to the award of the Untie the Right Brain grant.  The grant project created a collaborative network of private universities, agencies, and school districts to offer courses in Arts Integration to over 175 teachers throughout Florida.  She has published and presented nationally and internationally in arts integration for disadvantaged student populations.  She serves on PAInT Work Groups devoted to curriculum and research.  Most recently she conducted professional development workshops for mentor teachers and interns involved in an arts-integration grant project.

Stephen Rushton, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the USF Sarasota-Manatee School of Education. Dr. Rushton teaches courses in Creative Experiences and the writing process, and supervises student teachers. He specializes in communication skills and interpersonal relationships within the learning process.  He recently began incorporating the emerging research from the neurosciences to support the development of highly effective educators. He has been the recipient of three teaching awards during his 14 years at USFSM. Dr. Rushton serves as the Chair of the PAInT Professional Development and Events Work Group, and is faculty liaison for several local arts-focused charter schools as well as the South Florida Museum. He has a deep passion for integrating the arts into all of his teaching.

Center Staff

Christopher Bolgiano, Ph.D., After completing a B.S. in business, Christopher managed office technology projects in the corporate sector.   Mid-career, he made a shift to the academic community, completing a M.S. in Business Education and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration.  Over the past 20+ years, Christopher has held a variety of positions at Cornell University and the University of South Florida.  At Cornell, Christopher served as a college pre-med/pre-law advisor and later functioned as a business administrator in a large department with a bargaining unit component.  More recently, at USF/Tampa, he worked with an instructional technology group where he served as the business and grants administrator responsible for $2.5 million in sponsored program funds.   Currently, in his role with the USFSM School of Education, Christopher serves as an Academic and Programs Administrator and supports the Center for PAInT as its fiscal and business administrator.

PAInT Advisory Board

ZADDA BAZZY, PhD is the Curriculum Specialist for the Visual and Performing Arts for the School District of Manatee County. She taught music at Title I and non-Title I schools for 16 years before transferring to her current position at the district level.

Dr. Bazzy holds a master’s degree in music education, a second master’s degree in educational leadership, and a doctoral degree in music education. She is both national board certified and Orff master level-certified. Dr. Bazzy received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant when she taught at the University of South Florida in 2010, and she was the Teacher of the Year for the Manatee County School District in 2013.

CRAIG COLLINS, EdD serves as Dean of the College of Arts & Media at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Prior to his appointment to Southeastern University, he served as a principal for seventeen years, having both elementary and secondary experience in producing schools of excellence. During his twelve-year tenure at Harrison School for the Arts, he initiated a 21 million dollar building renovation and expansion comprised of state-of-the-art facilities.

At present, he is leading the building expansion of 21,795 sq. feet of program space for music and visual arts at Southeastern University. In 1987, he served as the Junior High Representative for the Florida Bandmaster’s Association (FBA). He also presents workshops related to the arts and literacy and teacher evaluation in the arts on a district, state, and national platform and in 2013 he finished his term as President of the Arts Schools’ Network, an international consortium of schools dedicated to advancement of the arts.

He serves on boards for the Florida School Music Association (where he serves in the capacity of president-elect), Imperial Symphony Orchestra, and People Like Us. He is a member of the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts and is the former chair of the Arts Achieve Model Schools’ awards recognition program through the Florida Alliance for Arts Education.

Professional memberships include the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, Leadership Lakeland Class 30, Polk Arts Alliance, Association for General and Liberal Studies, and the Florida Bandmasters Association. Dr. Collins’ research and passion for service are centered on the conceptual framework of social justice.

DINA CIOTOLA, PhD is the director of PACE, the office of Professional and Continuing Education at USFSM.  She received her degree in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in the social foundations of education from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. Her research focuses on diversity and equity in the curriculum and critical pedagogy.

She has over 25 years of experience as an educator, instructor and classroom teacher, having taught in the New York City and Florida public schools, The University of Connecticut, and The University of South Florida. She teaches courses in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and online teaching and learning.  She is working alongside PAInT, community arts partners, and other organizations in the area to digitize their curricula for professional and continuing education courses in arts integration and other subject areas.

TERRY DEVINE is the Assistant Principal at Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, FL. He holds a BS in music education from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, a MS in elementary education from Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY, and completed a school administrator program at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA. He was a band director in upstate New York before moving into administration. With over 20 years of experience in education, Mr. Devine looks forward to the challenges each day presents.

SHELLY DORFMAN is an elementary educator, an Arts Educator and reading specialist. In 1990, she founded the Institute for the Arts in Education, a comprehensive arts education program modeled after and working with Lincoln Center Institute that provided professional development for teachers and teaching artists as well as worked with performing and visual arts experiences as the “text” for study along with artist residencies.

In 2004, Ms. Dorfman became Program Director of the Philadelphia Arts Cultural/Education Partnership (PACEP).  She worked with the school district of Philadelphia when the Institute received a $1.4 million grant from the US Department of Education. The arts were the “text” for teaching and learning to 2,500 low income, at-risk middle school students. The Terra Nova standardized test scores increased by 14-16 points, improving attendance and lessening disruptive behavior.

She also worked with the institute’s educational program at Gratz College, the University of the Arts’ Professional Institute for Educators, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Literacy Network as well as with West Chester University’s College of Education’s pre-service teachers.  She attended Temple University for 18 years to earn her undergraduate degree while raising her family.

MARTHA M. HARRISON, PhD is recognized as a leading authority in literacy instruction for teachers and is accomplished in designing and implementing graduate programs that focus on literacy, arts integration, and school partnerships. She has designed reading and writing curriculum and assessments for the state Departments of Education in Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida.

She has long been an advocate for integrating the arts into content area curriculum and has taught a course on Arts Integration Across the Curriculum.  For two decades, her passion for arts integration has guided her teaching of children’s and young adult literature and her successful implementation of reading and writing education curricula. Among her scholarly publications is an early 1990 article entitled “Teaching Thinking Skills to Gifted Children Using Children’s Literature and The Arts”.

She designed and implemented “Untie The Right Brain”, an arts integration initiative at The University of Tampa.  She currently serves on the Creative Writing Curriculum Committee at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, where she resides with her husband, Peter Miller.  She continues her lifelong educational and personal goal of achieving seamless and integrated real life experiences for teachers and students in schools and the larger communities.

ANGELA HARTVIGSEN has served as the Fine Arts Program Specialist for the Sarasota County Schools (Florida) since 2009. She was the orchestra director at Booker Middle School, the Sarasota’s visual and performing arts magnet middle school from 2002-2009. A national board-certified educator and Pi Kappa Lambda member, Angela has over 20 years of experience at all levels of public school music education in Florida and Colorado.

She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University and a Masters in Music (Violin Performance) from Colorado State University. Angela is a successful grant writer, an active violinist and violist, and a sought-after educational conductor/clinician and adjudicator. She co-chairs Sarasota County’s community/schools Partnership for the Arts Steering Committee.

She has served on numerous district and state writing teams for curriculum and assessment including the writing team for the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in Music. She is currently the President of the Florida Music Supervision Association and serves on the Florida Music Education Association board of directors.

BRIAN HERSH is the Program Director for Any Given Child of Sarasota County Schools, a partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he oversees and implements the district’s strategic approach to arts education.  Through his leadership, Sarasota County Schools has launched new arts programs, built new relationships with cultural organizations, and created more continuous, sustainable, arts integrated professional development.

Previously, he served as the Education & Outreach Director of Asolo Repertory Theatre, the largest professional theatre in Florida.  Mr. Hersh also worked at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts where he oversaw the Meet-the-Artist School Series.  Currently, he hosts The Mezz on WSRQ, a weekly radio program dedicated to covering the arts in Sarasota. Mr. Hersh is working with incredible partners to create a vision for Project Elevate and build strong relationships to guide this program, ensuring deep and impactful implementation of arts integration.

SHERRY LAWRENCE, EdD serves as chair of the Argosy University College of Education Advisory Board (Sarasota/Tampa).  A retired curriculum specialist, Dr. Lawrence has worked with thousands of students and professionals in the areas of fine and performing arts and gifted education.  She is on the board of directors of the Sarasota International Dance Festival, a member of the Arts Education Task Force for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, and the U.S. National Committee for United Nations Women.

Named as one of Manatee County’s Outstanding Women by the Bradenton Herald and Junior League’s “She’s Setting the Pace” award winner, Dr. Lawrence has been a featured speaker on “Hollywood Films and the 1960’s Women’s Movement” for the Through Women’s Eyes Film Festival. She holds a doctorate in behavioral science.


STEPHEN MILES, DMA is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at New College of Florida, where he is also professor of music and the Director of New Music New College (NMNC). As a composer, Miles has focused on music for the voice, producing songs, theater compositions, and choral works. Major compositions include Social Studies (2003), a collection of musical games for vocal performers and audience, and Living and Dead: The Gettysburg Project (2009), a full-evening theatrical work, co-created with choreographer Margaret Eginton, which combines movement, text, and extended vocal techniques.

In 1998 Miles founded NMNC as a laboratory for interdisciplinary research, with particular emphasis on musical composition, performance theory, and social theory.  In addition to featuring performances of experimental music by New College students and faculty, NMNC regularly presents distinguished guest artists, such as the JACK Quartet, pianist Kathleen Supové, composer-vocalist Pamela Z, Ekmeles, Third Coast Percussion, and violinist Miranda Cuckson.

As a theorist, Miles has published articles on the social dimension of music in such journals as Perspectives of New Music, TDR: The Drama Review, Music and Arts in Action, and College Music Symposium. Miles is a member of the board of directors of the American Composers Forum.

MICHELLE MITCHAM, PhD is an associate professor at Florida A&M University. She facilitates a coaching process to assist families in discovering new hope, perspectives, potential, strengths and possibilities. Drawing from her expertise as a professor, life coach, family mediator, high school counselor and psychotherapist, Dr. Mitcham has helped many women, girls, and families. She’s passionate about mentoring others to success, and especially students of any age!

Dr. Mitcham, a nationally-recognized expert, facilitates trainings and workshops at national/international conferences. Her empowerment strategies are featured in magazines, newspapers and television. She was once a featured guest on Oprah and was also featured in Tallahassee Woman Magazine and Women Who Mean Business!  As a professor for nearly a decade and a counselor for more than 14 years, Dr. Mitcham is passionate about mentoring students and helping them discover a career in counselor education and supervision, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and related fields of psychology and human services.

She has expertise as a diversity consultant, family mediator, family court consultant, and motivational speaker. Further, she has extensive experience as a Florida Supreme Court certified family mediator, divorce coach, parenting coordinator, and professional School Counselor. She also presented regionally, nationally and internationally on topics such as conflict resolution, personal empowerment, high-conflict divorce, and children “caught in the middle” of divorce, school guidance issues, diversity and inclusion, advocacy in counseling, cultural competence, workplace conflict, multi-culturally sensitive leadership, and family law mediation topics.

She has written for the lifestyle column for several Real Times Media newspapers. The Tampa Bay Community Network television show featured Dr. Michelle Mitcham in a one hour special focused on interventions for high-conflict divorce and non-custodial parental issues.

ELIZABETH POWER serves as the founding Executive Director of The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast, created in 2008 to provide a permanent home for the 2 1/2 week Perlman Music Program (PMP) Sarasota Winter Residency. This 17-day residency brings talented young musicians from around the world to Sarasota to continue their studies with Itzhak Perlman and the PMP faculty. The 2017-2018 season will mark the 14th anniversary of the PMP Sarasota Winter Residency.

Elizabeth is herself a trained musician and earned a BM (summa cum laude) and MM degree in Viola Performance from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford and an advanced certificate in graduate studies from The Juilliard School. Elizabeth also has more than 25 years of teaching experience, supporting young violinists and violists in a private studio setting.

NANCY ROUCHER is a professional arts consultant with an extensive background in arts education and community arts management.  For 12 years she was the co-director of The Florida Institute for Art Education, one of six national institutes sponsored by the Getty Trust. She also developed a nationally recognized arts education program in Illinois that worked in 75 schools in the Midwest.

She is chair of the Arts Education Task Force of the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and co-chair of the Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts.  She has twice served as Interim Director of the Alliance and is currently on the board.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri and a Master’s Degree in Arts Education from the University of Illinois.  She has expertise in arts education curriculum development and has authored numerous articles, including a series for teachers on using visual art in the classroom for Instructor Magazine.

JUDITH A. SEDGEMAN, EdD is a passionate advocate for resiliency emerging from the understanding of human psychology represented by the logic of Three Principles that is revolutionizing understanding of how people function optimally. She has been a leader in this emerging field for more than 30 years. She is an internationally acclaimed public speaker, teacher, and mentor for organizations and individuals committed to sustained well-being, happiness, creativity, clarity, and resiliency in the face of challenges. She serves clients across the globe.

In addition, she is an adjunct professor at West Virginia University, and offers online courses in resiliency globally through West Virginia University Distance Education. From 1998 through 2009, she was a full-time faculty member at West Virginia University School of Medicine, where she created and directed the West Virginia Initiative for Innate Health. She moved to Florida in 2009, where she served as the Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Research at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, until 2012, when she focused all her efforts on outreach, mentoring, and teaching.

RACHAEL SHELLEY, EdD is the daughter of the late Bettye Spencer and Johnny “Buddy” Abnar. She is the wife of Carlton Shelley and the mother of CJ and Kayla Shelley. She is a loving wife, committed mother and dedicated educator. She was educated in the Sarasota County school system. She attended Emma E. Booker & Philippi Shores Elementary Schools and Sarasota Junior High School before graduating from Riverview High School. After graduating from Riverview High School, she attended Bethune Cookman University (BCU). She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from BCU, a Masters of Education from Bowling Green State University, and an educational specialist and doctorate degree from Argosy University.

Dr. Shelley started with the Sarasota County school system as a P.E. Aide in 1989 and worked her way through the system. She taught at the elementary and middle school levels and fell in love with “The Booker Schools.” She spent the majority of her teacher career at Emma E. Booker Elementary and Booker Middle Schools. She has been a first grade, reading, and math teacher. At the administrative level she was a team leader, department chair, behavior specialist, assistant principal and principal. She is the principal of Booker High School.  She is a hands-on, personable principal who leads with her heart and is passionate about education and ensuring all students are being prepared to become productive members of society.

Throughout her career, she has received many awards and accolades. Most recently she was recognized as Sarasota County Schools’ 2017 Principal of The Year and is one of three finalists vying for the title of State of Florida 2017 Principal of The Year (to be announced on June 21, 2017).  Furthermore, Dr. Shelley had been chosen as the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s 2013 Woman of The Year and as the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.’s 2016 Citizen of The Year. She was also selected as Twelve People to Watch in 2012 by the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Her most memorable award occurred in December of 2011, when the students at Booker High School honored her with a “Top 10 Great Things That Make Dr. Shelley Great” video.

Dr. Shelley is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church and a member of God’s Army. Her favorite verse is found in Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

SUSAN (SUE) SNYDER, PhD advocates for and facilitates innovative, age-appropriate, arts integrated education. She’s taught from Pre-K through the post-graduate level, and has conducted residencies around the world. She is an author and curriculum developer, has been active in the standards movement, and has consulted with major arts education and arts integration organizations. She is known for synthesizing ideas and bridging research and practice. She holds a BS and MA in music education, a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction, and advanced certifications and study in multiple fields.

Susan is a senior author for McGraw-Hill Education, working with an extraordinary team to create music education texts and digital products.  She has consulted for media companies such as Children’s Television Workshop and Disney, as well as innovation projects at the US Department of Education.  She is the president of arts education IDEAS, LLC, “supporting the art of exceptional teaching and learning.”  Susan’s work reducing the achievement gap through Total Learning resulted in a NAACP Education award.

Susan is delighted to support and contribute to the success of PAInT.

ANGELA VICKERS, PhD currently serves as Supervisor of Leadership Development with Hillsborough County Public Schools.  She has previously served as a middle school principal for 15 years and for nine of those years was as founding principal of Progress Village Visual and Performing Arts Middle Magnet School and principal of Young Middle Magnet Center for the Sciences. Other professional roles include supervisor of technology, adjunct professor, assistant principal and teacher.

Dr. Vickers has a doctorate in organizational leadership, specialization in conflict resolution, Master of Science in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. Dr. Vickers has served as a keynote speaker for commensurate services at a private university, presented at national conferences, is a school district trainer, and has served as a guest speaker to a number of local organizations.

MARY PALMER, PhD, the University of Central Florida Professor Emerita and former College of Education dean, has taught in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve schools, as well as colleges, universities, and community settings throughout the world, including 48 states and 5 continents.  She is the delighted grandma of a brilliant pre-kindergartener who loves to sing, dance, and act and a huggable toddler who is busily exploring sound-making!

As president of Mary Palmer & Associates, LLC, a consulting group in education and the arts, Mary assists schools and community organizations in transforming their practices through the arts.  Dr. Palmer has served as senior author of multiple music textbook series published by Silver Burdett/Scott Foresman/Pearson and used throughout the world.  As founder of the Florida Alliance for Arts Education and a board member for numerous local, state, and national organizations, she is a tireless advocate for arts education in schools and communities.

She is past president of the Florida Music Educators Association, the Music Educators National Conference Southern Division, and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education and is a member of numerous national, state organizations.  In her own community, she is President-Elect of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and a Board member of the Florida Theatrical Association, A Gift for Music, Central Florida Community Arts, and the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.

She also supports numerous other community arts organizations.  Palmer holds bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois.  Her most recent publication, Teaching through the ARTS:  WRITING (Arts Journey Press, 2014) written with Susan Rosoff, provides materials and strategies for making the arts a central avenue for learning across the curriculum. Current professional positions: President, Mary Palmer & Associates, LLC, Consultants in Education and the Arts; Professor Emerita, University of Central Florida; former dean, UCF College of Education Music Education Associate, Rollins College.

Areas of Current Leadership Service: chair, Community Engagement Council; UCF College of Education and Human Performance; member, UCF Celebrates the Arts Committee; Vice President and Education Chair; Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Board of Directors; chair, A Gift for Music Advisory Council; board member, A Gift for Teaching Treasurer Florida Theatrical Association; advisor, Florida Alliance for Arts Education; board and Executive Committee Member, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre;  member, Osceola School of the Arts Advisory Council; board member and Director of Emerging Leaders Program, Florida Music Educators Association; board member, Central Florida Community Arts; board member, UCF Opera Program;  board member, Florida PAInT, Center for Arts Integrated Teaching at USFSM; chair, ACT II Hot Topics, First United Methodist Church of Winter Park.

Past Leadership Positions: National Association for Music Education, President Southern Division; member, National Board; chair, National Innovations in Music Education; board member, National Arts Schools Network; Provocateur, Interlochen (Michigan) Center for the Arts; President, Florida Music Education Association; president, Florida VSA (Very Special Arts); and President and founder, Florida Alliance for Arts Education.

Professional Writing: senior author, Music Textbooks for PK-Grade 8 students and teachers, Silver Burdett Ginn and Pearson Publishers.  (60 books; author of numerous textbooks including Sound Exploration and Discovery, Heritage Songs for Early Childhood, Children and the Arts, Pre-Kindergarten Music, as well as more than150 articles in professional journals and other publications.

PAInT Teaching Artists

KAREN BELL, Circus Arts Conservatory’s (CAC) Outreach and Education Program and ROBIN EURICH, teaching artist, bring Circus Science to students in a one-of-a-kind education program, which takes learning in the classroom to a new level. CAC teaching artists go into Sarasota and Manatee County schools to engage students in key academic subjects, including science, engineering, language arts, and theater. These inquiry-based lessons were developed to Florida state standards with FSA impact/awareness/results. Designed to include students who have difficulty responding to other traditional forms of instruction, the education program introduces students of all learning levels and styles to this unique curriculum. Measurements to date demonstrate consistent benefits to retention rates and test outcomes. CAC follows the Kennedy Center arts integration protocol because it is known that “when students learn through Arts Integration, they are engaged in experiences in which they actively build and demonstrate their understanding of both the art form and the other curriculum area”. CAC impacts more than 2000 students throughout the community. The CAC education curriculum captures students’ interests and illustrates that learning can be fun. Taking place in local K-8 public schools, the program helps academics come alive! For example, imagine the engaged enthusiasm when students learn and experience physics utilizing the circus art of juggling (Newton’s Law) and wire walking (center of balance and gravity). Students experience a curriculum rich in Florida’s circus history, and they are introduced to other art forms such as theater, music, and dance all of which are closely interwoven with the circus. Beyond the academic base, the importance of discipline, teambuilding, trust, and self-confidence is stressed throughout the lesson plans.

LARRY ENGLER of Poko Puppets moved to Sarasota after over 50 years of doing puppetry in education in the northeast. He taught 6 credit masters of education courses on using puppetry in education for Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. Larry is the co-author of the award winning book Making Puppets Come Alive, now in its 40th year of publication. This is one of the few books on puppetry skills specifically designed for educators. He is also a graduate of the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program and was accepted onto their national roster of teaching artists.

“Puppetry in the Curriculum: More Than Play” is the name of the workshop that he developed with the Kennedy Center and the State Theatre of New Jersey. This is a three–hour workshop developed for educators and has three components; making a simple puppet, bringing the puppet to life, and integrating puppetry into the curriculum.

In addition, Larry has conducted puppetry workshops all over the world, including three tours for the U.S. Information Service (India, Honduras, Israel), in Singapore, The United Kingdom,  at The Kennedy Center, The Wang Center, New York University, for The NY City Board of Education, CT Commission on Culture, Hartford Performs, and at hundreds of other venues in almost every state.

Partner with PAInT

South Florida Museum and Circus Arts Conservatory

PAInT provides the infrastructure for university partnerships in the implementation of evidence-based arts integrated instruction, assessments, programs, and professional development. The 2016 agreements with the South Florida Museum and Circus Arts Conservatory reached more than 91,000 students in both Manatee and Sarasota school districts. In addition, the Circus Arts Conservatory online course focuses on STEAM education to provide access to Sarasota and Manatee County school district wide participation that includes a total of 4,421 students, 748 teachers, 4 middle schools, 26 elementary schools, and 4 private schools. 

PAInT Scholars Program at USFSM

The PAInT Center designed criteria for the PAInT Scholars Program, which will support preservice teachers in the School of Education at USFSM as they increase knowledge and research of arts-integrated instruction, analyze arts-integrated programs and practices, and participate in community service activities with arts organizations.