Board of Directors
Lejohn is a district manager with Starbucks Coffee Company. His focus is operational responsibilities, including financial management, developing people, providing great customer service, and strategic planning. He is passionate about motivating, leading, and teaching others.
I first engaged with the arts in college. I was exposed to the symphony and theatre by a friend. The work that miARTS does is inspirational and close to my heart. Inspiring future leaders and giving them a “voice” is powerful, and it’s something I want to be a part of. I believe that many people in my life could have benefited from miARTS programs. I am passionate about giving back to the communities I live and work in. I feel it is our duty to help our neighbors. I hope to use my life and career experience to help this organization have a greater impact. Observing a program at an elementary school, I witnessed students gain courage, confidence, and a sense of community through theatre. It was an amazing moment.
Mike Reilly is a VP on the investment team at Platte River, a Denver based private equity firm.Mike holds an M.B.A. from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, an M.S. in Finance from Vanderbilt University and a B.S. from the State University of New York at Cortland.
I joined the MIA board because I have seen, first-hand, the positive effect an invested adult can have on the trajectory and development of our youth. MIA’s social-emotional learning programming gives young people the skills they need, and often do not get elsewhere, to thrive in social, academic, and otherwise stressful environments. The positive impact derived from the skills and support that MIA provides our youth stretches way beyond the individuals in the programming. To me, MIA is an important support system that removes roadblocks preventing young people from reaching their potential.
Amy graduated from law school in 2013 and worked for the Colorado State Public Defender for a few years before moving into Employment Law as a Workplace Investigator.
Theater means being welcomed in a space and being allowed the freedom to express yourself. I joined MIA because I was inspired by the staff and the amazing work they do with the youth in our greater community. One of my favorite moments that I’ve witnessed at MIA is during the annual “I’ve Got Your Back” gala, having the young adults speak in front of a large audience about their own transformations. It is their leadership, courage, and thoughtfulness that inspires me.
Matt Murphy began his career with Denver Public Schools in 2006 as a teacher and director of the Denver East Speech and Debate Program. He is now the director of theater at Denver East High School. In this role, he teaches theater, directs multiple plays, and musicals with a program of over 200 students.
Matt is also the executive director of a 501C3 called Denver East Forensics Team (DEFT). This non-profit organization supports the Denver East’s Theater, Speech and Debate, Instrumental Music, and Creative Writing Programs through fundraising, personal coaching, and budget management.
He taught and coached the speech and debate team for ten years. During that time, the team won multiple national and state titles. Matt Murphy has taught throughout the country as a guest artist for theater and speech and continues to run an annual theater camp where students learn about themselves as artists and people.
To deepen his growth and education Matt is a graduate student in the Harvard Arts in Education Program.
I am Matt Murphy, a husband and a father of three. My passion is serving underserved communities. So over the past 15 years, through various fundraising efforts, we (DEFT) have given over one hundred thousand dollars to students in and around the Denver East community for scholarships inside of speech and debate competitions, travel, theater workshops, summer camps, and private lessons. These efforts have integrated the programs both racially and socioeconomically.
Joe has a BA in Business Administration, with a minor in Psychology, from Pfeiffer College in North Carolina. He currently works for Gates Corporation as Manager of Sales Operations. Joe has trained in Improvisation at local Denver theaters and is currently performing at various venues.
I have seen the power of theater and art transform a community in my hometown of Gulfport, FL, which evolved from a sleepy fishing village to a thriving arts community. In Mirror Image Arts, I see an organization focused on deep transformation, that addresses not just community, but the heart and mind of the individual. The participatory nature of the theater experience in their programs appeals to my improviser heart. And its work with youth very much appeals to my Dad heart. I am excited to help Mirror Image Arts make a difference in the lives of our youth. A favorite moment for me was being there as one of our students, Ali, became our first youth representative on the board.
Julie Rada is a theatremaker, educator, and scholar. She has done theatre for 30 years with a focus on original work and new plays. In addition, Julie has worked in the prison system for over seven years, initiating programs and facilitating new works of theatre with incarcerated artists at 10+ facilities. She is currently working as Lead Affiliate Faculty and Program Manager for the DU Prison Arts Initiative. Julie has worked on faculty at the University of Utah, Community College of Aurora, and Naropa University. She holds an MFA from Arizona State University. She recently founded a multimedia performance collective exploring community-embedded art and performance called Grapefruit Lab.
The more time I spend with the art form of theatre, the more I am convinced that it’s an essential component of human communication. What I love about the name Mirror Image Arts is that it elevates one of the primary functions of theatre and performance: to reflect back to a community what it means to belong to that community. Mirror Image Arts is an organization I believe in and want to support wholeheartedly. I want to steward this organization into its most robust and thriving manifestation! I recall times when young people jump into the play, and how their eyes grew wide or their jaws dropped in shock to see the effects of the actions they initiated. I can think of difficult and loving conversations with students, sitting on the floor in a circle, talking about their lives and making connections to events that had happened in their world and how it was impacting their behavior in the present moment
Dr. Clare Hammoor is a collaborative theatre-maker committed to justice and joy with experience teaching, directing, and devising in universities, public and private schools, professional theaters, and prisons. Clare is the Performance and Pedagogy Consultant for the DU Prison Arts Initiative where he started a series of play-based arts workshops for children and their incarcerated parents. Clare has taught in US prisons for a decade and has given workshops and lectures internationally on play, education, and the carceral state.
Theatre is an opportunity to create worlds through imaginative and joyful play. It is community and it is resistance and it is the compacted experience of being alive. MIA’s commitment to disrupting the school to prison pipeline inspired me to join the organization. For years I have worked with folks who were shoved through that pipeline; this is an opportunity to sever its connections to both children and adults. I came to MIA through multiple folks in the social justice theatre community. The way MIA intertwines social and emotional wellbeing within its inventive and meaningful theatre practices is inspiring to me.
Dir. of Operations & Communications and Non-voting Board Member
Theresa moved to Denver with her family in 2011. She has a deep love for the arts as a vocalist, musician, and songwriter. Through the arts, she has mentored and coached young people experiencing homelessness, abuse, teen pregnancy, juvenile detention, and abandonment. Theresa has 20 years of experience partnering with communities serving at-risk and underserved youth through the nonprofit sector. Before accepting the Director of Operations and Communications role,Theresaserved as the Operations Director at Rocketown Youth Center in Florida, Outreach Director at El Porvenir partnering with rural Nicaraguan communities on sustainable development projects, and as the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator at Hope House Colorado, empowering teen moms.
Theatre is the opportunity to step into each other’s story. For me, it means learning, listening, and being joined by solidarity. I joined miARTS because I was inspired by each staff member’s commitment to serve youth and Disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline through participatory and Restorative theatre. It is truly an honor to witness young people discover their worth and value through the arts and through the transformative relationships that form during any co-creating process.
Executive Director and Non-voting Board Member
Andrea joined Mirror Image Arts in 2009 as an actress, continued to grow with the organization and accepted the role of Executive Director in 2014. She graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre from Sam Houston State University. As an actress, producer, facilitator, and director, Andrea utilizes theatre as a catalyst for social change. She brings over 13 years of experience in organization and program development, operational leadership, project management and coalition building in the non arts for-profit sector. Prior to accepting the Executive Director role, Andrea worked for Starbucks Coffee Company in a variety of leadership positions for 10 years.
By high school I found myself desperately looking for my place of belonging. When I discovered Theatre, I finally found a way to community and to myself. In becoming an actor, I practiced living in someone else’s shoes. There was a freedom in that. I was studying myself as I learned to become someone else. It’s why you will hear me say Theatre is the study of humanity. For me, it was. I wanted to work as an actor for Mirror Image Arts because I wanted to be for young people what I didn’t get as a young person. I wanted to share my life’s story and struggle in a way that lifted me out of my shame and helped others find and express themselves on their journey. What I love about my job now: I have a fierce dedication to making sure young people feel their power and live their value. Also, every day I witness phenomenal people doing extraordinary things for themselves and others. I am part of a collective seeking and living our human potential.
Dir. of Program & Partnerships and Non-voting Board Member
Maya began her work as an applied theatre practitioner over a decade ago. Upon receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Colorado, Maya was the Assistant Director for the Interactive Theatre Project housed on the University of Colorado – Boulder campus. She then created the ACTivism Theatre Ensemble, a company of high school and college students performing an educational outreach/prevention play for The SAVA (Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy) Center throughout Colorado. While living in North Carolina she wrote plays for the Interactive Theatre Carolina at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill exploring race and identity. At that time she also founded Restorative Theatre which is now a program for miARTS. Maya joined the miARTS team in 2015.
Theatre is the study of humanity through storytelling and acting is the vessel that brings those stories to life. Acting is the ultimate form of practicing empathy as you are literally forced to take on someone else’s life and understand their circumstances, make meaning of their choices, and explore the complexities of an individual. When I saw how miARTS was combining Applied Theatre with youth in such an intentional, artistic, and inspiring way, I knew I had to be a part of it! A powerful moment I witnessed was when Cook was having a really hard day. Tears poured down his face he said he didn’t want to go to group. “It’s just two hours, and then I have to come back to this, I always have to come back to this.” Eventually, he joined the line trepidatiously. During the check-in at the top of the session, one of my returning students looked Cook in the eye and shared that he was “kinda forced into the group last time” and that he had many days where he felt like Cook. But everything would change because “You get to be yourself here, you don’t have to be tough. You get to just be you”. With each activity, Cook got more and more comfortable laughing and playing with his peers. As we finished class, Cook, grinning from ear to ear, said, “I think we are going to be great.”
Ali is an artist, creative thinker, and community facilitator having worked across organizations with a focus on youth health. She was a resident Community Facilitator with Project PAVE for 4 years and Director of a youth-oriented documentary, The Relationship You Deserve. Ali has is currently on an immersive journey to experience and fully understand the variety of success and health barriers that many communities face. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of New Orleans studying Urban Anthropology and Political Science working on an intensive research project studying how property ownership impacts storytelling within a community.
Laura holds a BFA in Theatre from MSU and has spent the past decade performing, directing, coaching and teaching in Denver, Chicago and abroad. She was an integral part of Mirror Image Arts’ program development, implementation, as well as cultivating and maintaining community relationships. Laura is also a working voice-over artist and Mom to a kid that makes every effort worth it.
Laura feels very strongly that all people deserve the opportunity to express themselves in a safe, creative environment. Because she has a personal conviction to create positive change through applied theatre, she is very proud to be a part of the work that has led to Mirror Image Arts’ to bullying prevention programming.
Brittnee is a Community Engagement Specialist at Fairview Elementary with the Office of Family and Community Engagement in Denver Public Schools. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in English and Spanish. She has seen the impact of Mirror Image Arts’ programming with the students she works with and understands the importance of cultivating self-esteem and self-expression in a creative space.
She has helped with the expansion of the Mirror Image Arts program throughout Denver Public Schools. Brittnee is excited to continue to support the development and growth of Mirror Image Arts through her role on the Advisory Board.
Allyx graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2012. While there, she worked with an applied theatre ensemble called Interactive Theatre Project.
She has performed at various venues in and around Denver including the work|space at The Laundry (LIDA Project) and Red Rocks Community College. She is very excited to be involved in this programming as her combined passions of theatre, psychology, and working with youth are present in Mirror Image Arts.
Patrick facilitates communication skills practice within a broad range of settings and clientele. The power of inquiry and curiosity informs his work in bridging the relationships between effective communication and creative response. A frequent provider of professional development within the medical, law enforcement, university/educational, and non-profit sectors, Patrick also works with theatre and literary professionals as a dramaturg. Patrick is based in Denver, CO serves as Curriculum Manager for DCPA Education and is National Faculty for Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education.
Kari Knutson is an educational professional with over 20 years of experience in K-12, higher education, community organizations, and state and local governments. She is a professional speaker, trainer, consultant, and counselor. Her company, Knutson Consulting, is focused on helping people transform their organizations through developing interpersonal skills and bridging cultural and communication divides. Kari received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy from Cornell College in Iowa. She earned her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Her second Master’s degree is in Counseling from Gallaudet University in Washington DC. Kar received a Certificate in Special Needs Education at the University of Oslo in Norway.
Kari is currently the school counselor at Crown Pointe Academy, a fantastic charter school in Westminster, Colorado. In addition, she serves as the anti-bully consultant to the City of Westminster Park and Recreation Department where she gives presentations to parents, conducts workshops with staff, and serves as the intervention specialist.
Mark Ramont is Associate Professor and Head of Directing at California State University, Fullerton. Most recently, he, along with Richard Hellesen, adapted Frank Wildhorn’s The Civil War into Freedom’s Song for Ford’s Theatre where it received widespread acclaim in a production directed by Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun. Mark served as Ford’s Theatre’s Director of Theatre Programming for seven years. He was the Associate Artistic Director of Circle Repertory Company in New York City, and Artistic Director of both the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY and Capitol City Playhouse in Austin, TX. At Circle Rep, he directed the world premieres of Walking the Dead, Dalton’s Back (both by Keith Curran) and The Colorado Catechism by Vincent Cardinal. For Ford’s Theatre, he directed The Rivalry and Horton Foote’s The Carpetbagger’s Children and is scheduled to direct The Glass Menagerie in January 2016. He is the recipient of the Princess Grace Statuette Award for Sustained Excellence, the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Region VIII Excellence in Theatre Education Award, and holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Texas, Austin.
Kenny Storms is a freelance sound designer, DJ, director, and actor working at multiple theatres and performance venues around the Denver metro area. He has been a teaching artist and Children’s Coordinator for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and served as the Artistic Director for the Denver Repertory Theatre Company and resident Director for Mirror Image Arts. He has directed and self-produced productions both regionally in Denver, CO and abroad in Baltimore, Ireland. Most recently he was worked as the sound designer for The LIDA Project and the Edge Theatre Company and is a co-founder of Grapefruit Labs. He received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Northern Colorado with an emphasis in Acting, Directing, and Theatre Education.
For 5 yearsDavidMolnar has been working with the Mirror Image Arts leadership on program evaluation. Initially,David had no exposure to theatre, but the rigorous, evidence-based evaluation of our theatre as a Relational Health methodology has made him a “believer.” He loves being part of something that “actually works” as he likes to say. After receiving his Ph.D. in economics, he taught at women’s colleges for a decade before becoming Director of Institutional Research at Barry University in Miami. In that job, he honed his program evaluation skills. Since coming to Colorado Davidcontinues to work with doctoral students needing help with the analysis and interpretation of their data
Vittoria has worked in education for the past 19 years. After 10 years she left the kindergarten classroom to help kids learn how to be great little people! She currently works with elementary students on social-emotional skills, such as problem-solving and coping skills.