The Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) is offering an arts integration gift to MS schools for the 2020-21 year with a no-match-required sponsorship while funds are available.  A MAAE approved Teaching Artist (see below list for bio and contact information) will bring one live or recorded arts integration presentation to your class.

MAAE Teaching Artists 2020-2021
Contact Dr. Penny Wallin, MAAE Executive Director at or teaching artists directly for information. Artists are available to present workshops listed and to develop presentations based on standards and themes selected.

Shanina Carmichael: Creative Movement, West African Dance, Cultural Storytelling, West African Drumming  601.983.9305
Let’s Take a Trip: Stories, Songs, Dances of West Africa
Calm Down: Creative Movement, Meditation, Breathing Techniques, and the Human Body

Shanina is an arts integration specialist and certified yoga instructor who fuses dance instruction with cultural exploration while using arts integration to bring to life core subject material. She has over 20 years of dance experience.  She has trained under Gina Ellis of Alvin Alley and Onyx dance companies and belonged to Renaissance Dance Workshop and Eclectic Dance Company.  She shares the gift of the arts with hundreds of students and teachers throughout rural and urban Mississippi communities by weaving literature, creative movement, and drama to engage and teach.

Julie Hammond:  Dance   601.402.8220

Julie (BFA, MFA) is full professor of dance and a K12 licensure supervisor at the University of Southern Mississippi.  She is a dedicated advocate for the importance of movement in learning and the essential inclusion of artful instruction in education. Julie is co-founder and education director for the Mississippi Dance Festival, co-founder and co-director of Camp Create, and the creator of “Wiggle Genius” ( – a website for K12 classroom teachers that disseminates the many approaches to teaching academics artfully with dance. She has been recognized by Southern Miss College of Arts & Letters “Teacher of the Year Award” and the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education “Excellence in Higher Education Award” for her contributions to, and accomplishments in, dance and education.

Stacy Howell:  Theatre  601.201.9564
Team Building through Arts Integration
The Plot is the Thing…Understanding Dramatic Structure

Stacy serves as executive director of the Mississippi Theatre Association. She is the theatre standards co-chair with the Mississippi Department of Education and is a board member of the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education. She is an advocate for the arts and represents Mississippi at the yearly Americans for the Arts conference in Washington, D.C. Currently she is instructor of oral communications / theatre 1 & 2 at Northwest Rankin High School, and the speech & debate team co-coach at Northwest Rankin High School.  She has successfully coached the national winner of Poetry Out-Loud.

Jerry Jenkins:   Djembe Drumming, Storytelling  601.8942-6931
The Life of the Djembe (can be a one-time workshop or a series)
Baga Gine:  Let’s Create a Story

Jerry is a performance artist of West African djembe drum ensemble, which involves the use of the traditional instruments, rhythms, and stories of the Malinke people of West Africa. As a teaching artist, drumming and musical rhythms are used to teach literacy skills, poetry, and creative writing to students. Jenkins facilitates classroom curriculum learning and teacher workshops that incorporate music, story- telling, visual arts and character education to connect with common core standards and best practices in the classroom environment.  His Curriculum Learning through Music uses music as a catalyst for learning. He uses Rhythms and stories of West Africa to encourage self-awareness, citizenship and character development, while students make math and social studies connection through African drumming. Jenkins facilitates poetry writing/reciting/rhythmic workshops as a form of expression and as a way to evoke storytelling, stimulate communication, engage students and enhance the learning experience with a focus on students as individual learners. 

Joe Johnson: Music, Theatre   601.604.0828
Design Problems: Working to Make the Music Fit
Making your Social Media Pop! A Writing 
Adventures in Songwriting: Strengthening the Writing Process
A Dive into Theatrical Sound Design: Making Meaning with Language and Sound

Joe is a dynamic entertainer and teaching artist who blends American Roots music with a touch of electricity to create a modern, but familiar sound. Classically trained and sharpened in barrooms, churches, and front porches, Joe delivers a powerful and moving performance. Joe has played across the United States. He has received numerous awards for composition and sound design, including the Ostrander Award for theatrical sound design for Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice.  He has composed music for films, plays and commercial presentations. He held music residencies for Elvis’ Graceland and MGM. He is professionally associated with Artist Collect, a national artist collective of entertainment professionals. Joe studied education and music at MSU. He taught music in Mississippi and Arkansas public schools, integrating language arts and mathematics into the music classroom. He received a Masters degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and did post-graduate work at the University of Georgia. He approaches his work as a working musician with the mind of an educator and continues to seeks out opportunities to enrich the lives of other musicians as he shares in numerous collaborative projects. 

Amanda Koonlaba:  Visual Artist  662.322.0476
Using Art Prints to Meet Goals
Let’s Make Some Open-Ended Art
Beyond the Basics of See/Think/Wonder
Funky Fruit and Punky Pooches Art Lessons

Amanda is an arts integration certification coach. She contributes as a writer to Education Week Teacher, ASCD InService and Whole Child, and PBS Teachers Lounge. She is the author of Arts Integration Lessons Featuring Kandinsky eBook. Amanda has won numerous awards that include being named ASCD Emerging Leader, Thad Cochran Distinguished Arts Educator, MS Whole Schools Arts Integration Service Award in 2015, and MS Elementary Arts Educator of the Year in 2016. Amanda is a National Board-certified teacher and owner of Party in the Art Room who brings visual arts to life for students through multi-media, standards-based projects that integrate the arts across curriculum. By nurturing the creativity of young people, she facilitates exciting work from inception to production with every project.

Heather LaCoste:  Dance  601.479.8094
Workshops for Early Childhood Classrooms:
Repetitions in the Cosmos
Cultivating Gardens and Movement 
I’ve Got Sunshine

Heather has been captivated by dance since she was three years old and has become a master arts integration teaching artist. A product of the Meridian Public School District (MPSD), homeschooling, Meridian Community College, and Mississippi State University, she’s always felt a sense of indebtedness to the community that helped shape her. LaCoste has served in the Meridian Public School District (MPSD) and Lauderdale Country School District (LCSD) as a special education teacher, academic interventionist, student services coordinator, and teaching artist in creative movement. She earned a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Mississippi State University, a Education Specialist in Instructional Leadership from William Carey University, and is currently completing a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership at Belhaven University. Heather serves on the Any Given Child Meridian (AGCM) ,Community Arts Team (CAT), Research Committee with the Kennedy Center, and has dedicated herself to initiating equity and access to ballet and all forms of dance in her community.

G. Mark LaFrancis:  Author, Film Maker, Photographer  601.442.0980.
Film Making
Introduction to Creating a Digital Video

Mark has been a writer and photographer for more than thirty years. He has won many writing awards as a reporter, photographer, and columnist. He is past president of the Mississippi Writers Guild. He has been involved with film making, including “The Parchman Ordeal: The Untold Story,” which won the prestigious Most Transformative Film at the 2017 Crossroads Film Festival. Mark is a Mississippi Scholar with the Mississippi Humanities Council, and he received the first Thad Cochran Humanities Achievement Award for his documentaries on Richard Wright and Eudora Welty. He is a retiree of the Armed Forces. Mark has published five books for young readers and has given his speaking program “Storytelling from My Front Porch,” to many elementary schools. Mark has taught groundbreaking Introduction to Film and Photography at Adams County Christian School, Natchez High School and the Fallin Career and Technology Center in Natchez, as an artist in residence. Mark is the founder and president of Home With Heroes Foundation Inc., a private non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans.

Kathryn Lewis: Theatre, Storytelling  228.697-4505

Kathryn spent the first thirty-two years of her career teaching speech and theatre at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston. She now provides professional development workshops for teachers and demonstration lessons in schools throughout Mississippi and the Southeast. She has led numerous arts-focused community projects, including The Telling Trees, a project to research, document and present the history of Stone County, recognized by the MS State Legislature in 2012 as the “Mural Capital of MS.” Her children’s books include The Longleaf and Me…A-Z and The Watershed and Me…A-Z. She is the recipient of the National Storytelling Network Oracle Award for the Southeast, Top 10 MS Business Women of the Year, MS Alliance for Arts Education Distinguished Service Award, and the MS Humanities Council Preservation of MS History award.

Mary Frances MasseyDance  662.871.2825.
Lifecycle of a Sunflower
Lifecycles and More

Mary Frances is a dance instructor and part-owner of North Mississippi Dance Centre in Tupelo, Mississippi. She offers dance classes in ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop and has choreographed for show choirs in Tupelo and surrounding areas since 2008. Massey’s teaching programs include incorporating movement into the narration of favorite children’s books and using movement to teach core classes. She also offers teacher development workshops. She was an artist in residence for King Early Childhood Education Center in 2016 and for Pontotoc Elementary in 2017. Massey is also a professional singer and can be heard on “Thacker Mountain Radio” on MPB and around the North Mississippi area with her band “Massey Tate.” She is also a background vocalist in the recording industry.

Rhye McLeod : STEAM, Robotics, Media   601.580-3916

Rhye is Director of Technology for Central Creativity and Learning TO GO. He is a member of the Mississippi Makers Coalition, a statewide organization whose goal is to fully fund Making in Mississippi Schools. He is a FIRST Robotics World Championship judge and coaches 22 teams in Mississippi. Prior to entering the education sector, Rhye spent 20 years working in technology and multimedia designing media packages for large corporations, sports franchises, and government agencies. His passion for integrating STEAM into all aspects of PreK-12 education has led to his involvement in the design and/or support of over 50 Maker Spaces in the state. Rhye works on Making development with such national partners as the Girl Scouts of America, NASA, the New Orleans Pelicans, and Walt Disney Imagineering, helping to ensure that the very latest in 21st century Maker pedagogy, STEAM content, and engaging, motivating opportunities are introduced in Mississippi classrooms across the state.

Da Terrence Roberts: Storytelling, Theatre  601.480.1244

Da Terrence is a jali/griot, a storyteller who weaves his stories like the web of his favorite character Anansi the Spider. Roberts is a collector of tales worldwide but is most known for his African and African American folktales. Terrence Roberts is known as “Da Story Weaver.” Roberts takes his listeners back to the village square in West Africa waiting for the Anansi story for the day. A master storyteller who draws both children and adults into his web with his animated and interactive style, “Da Story Weaver” causes both to spontaneously burst out with laughter or jump with surprise at a ghost story. Roberts works for schools, libraries, festivals, churches, community groups and special events. He has been on the Mississippi Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster and is a Board member of the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education.

Philip Mba Wright:  STEAM, Coding, Music  706.728.0755
How to Memorize Math Formulas
Introduction to Basic Coding
Introduction to Engineering
How to Count in Japanese
STEAM Everywhere
How to Use Basic Visualization Skills to Learn Better

Philip is a STEM to STEAM teaching artist and Boy Scout Executive.  He has developed an interactive Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math program series to prepare students for tomorrow’s careers and to build leadership skills. His work with educators, community leaders, and students extends throughout Mississippi, Georgia, and Oklahoma.  One of his specialties is using Sphero, a robot ball, to teach programing to all ages.  His lessons are designed to boost and sustain student engagement and interest in math, physics, computer science, engineering, and music using hands-on/minds-on activities to improve learning, problem-solving, memory, and leadership.