Partners in Education 2019/2020

Midland Center for the Arts is proud to partner with Midland Public Schools to bring The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – Partners in Education Program to the Great Lakes Bay Region!

This program utilizes professional teaching artists to promote Arts Integration in the classroom. Arts Integration uses art forms to help teach, reinforce or evaluate the understanding of core curricular subjects and concepts, and expands educators’ toolkits for reaching students of all learning styles.

Educators from all districts welcome. SCECHs available!
Registration fee is $25 per workshop; limited spaces available with pre-registration required. Limited classroom demonstration lesson opportunities available, as well.

New! Teacher Referral Program
Teachers who have previously attended Partners in Education workshops will receive a voucher for one ticket to select shows at the Midland Center for the Arts when they refer a new teacher to a workshop during the 19-20 school year. New attendees will also receive a ticket voucher at the workshop they attend.


Shared Understandings: Arts Integration in Teaching and Learning
SEPT 28, 2019 / 9 – 10:30 AM

Instructor: Joni Starr, Arts Integration Teaching Specialist
Teachers of all grade levels / 1.5 HOUR WORKSHOP

This workshop is part of Teacher Preview Day at the Center and is free; no registration required
Participants are introduced to labels that define how the arts are currently presented in our schools. Examine models of teaching and learning that center on creativity in the classroom. Share personal insight and experience to translate ideas into example. This workshop is a blending of active strategies and discussion.

FREE; no registration required.

Going Global: Building Understanding Through Dramatic Monologues
OCT 29, 2019 / 8:30 AM – 12 PM

Instructor: Mary Hall Surface, professional theater director

How can we help students engage with global issues, such as gender equity, access to education and technology, and the international refugee crisis? Inspired by sources from international journalism, learn to guide students to imagine, improvise, and share dramatic monologues that give voice to diverse perspectives. This dynamic, interactive workshop helps students uncover and expand their own point of view on complex global issues.

Sing Me a Story!
JAN 21, 2020 / 4:30 – 8 PM

Instructor: Suzanne Fassett Wright, Director of Arts Education for Chutauqua Institution

This upbeat workshop focuses on finding the song in a story. Participants will be led through several lesson plans that explore elements of music within the text of a book such as steady beat and pitch, and musical forms such as echo, call & response, and verse-chorus. Teaching teams that include classroom teachers, reading specialists, and music specialists are encouraged to attend. No previous musical experience is needed to participate.

Junk Art and Creative Science Connections
MAR 3, 2020 / 4:30 – 8 PM

Instructor: Liz Wylegala, Arts Integration Teaching Specialist

Using found materials, this workshop will look at the ways that students can use “junk” to build creative connections to science curriculum. Educators will have the chance to create an art project around the body systems, but will learn ways to connect to other science areas such as animals and geology. Classroom teachers and art specialists are encouraged to attend; no visual arts background necessary.

For further information, please contact Katie Miller or enroll via phone with the Ticket Office at 989.631.8250.

Generously sponsored by

Presenter Biographies

Joni Starr explores the intersections between the arts and creativity and teaching and learning.

She currently serves as Administrative Coordinator for Arts Integrated Learning at Ingham ISD and as a Teaching Artist in the disciplines of Dance and Theatre. Before this Joni taught in Michigan State University’s Teacher Education and Theatre Departments focusing on arts in the elementary classrooms. She obtained her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Joni has contributed her expertise to the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment (MAEIA) program – contributing to development of resources and tools designed to ensure the quality of arts education programming.

Mary Hall Surface is an award winning playwright, theatre director and teaching artist who specializes in theatre for family audiences and multidisciplinary collaborations. She is on the faculty of Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom and presents workshops for teachers and students nationwide as a Kennedy Center teaching artist. She uses theatre, on stage and in the classroom, to expand perspective, uncover complexity, and deepen understanding across the curriculum.  As the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall has also adapted those techniques to teach workshops for teachers and students that integrate visual art and creative writing.  Her many plays have been produced at major professional theatres, museums, and festivals throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Canada, including 17 productions at the Kennedy Center. She has twelve published plays, three award-winning cast albums of her musicals, and two books of scenes and monologues for middle school students.  She was the founding artistic director of DC’s Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival from 2009 – 2015, a festival that connects across boundaries of age, perspective and community by building bridges through the arts.

Suzanne Fassett Wright, arts educator, percussionist and conductor, has focused her professional work on empowering people of all ages to nurture a love of performing, creating and enjoying the arts. Currently, Wright serves as the Director of Arts Education at Chautauqua Institution (CI), developing and implementing the Institution’s arts education programs throughout Western New York and Western Pennsylvania. Wright is a lead teaching artist in CI’s “I Can Drum” School Residency, reaching over 300 students with disabilities. Prior to her position at CI, Wright enjoyed a 20-year career as a music educator in higher education and K-12 public schools with experience in general music classrooms and instrumental music. While living in Southern Illinois, Wright was in high demand as conductor, clinician and adjudicator of concert and jazz ensembles throughout the region. Wright also is an orchestral percussionist, having performed with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and for 21 years as member of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, and a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois.

Liz Wylegala is a practicing visual artist and arts integration educator working with students grade pre-K-12 from Williamston, MI. Holding a BA in Studio Art from Wells College and an MFA from Pratt Institute, Liz engages teachers and students through visual arts in every medium imaginable for the purpose of exploring students’ interests and capabilities and deepening their understanding of the arts and other core subject areas. She has had multiple art shows in the mid-Michigan area, and has worked with the Wharton Center in East Lansing as a teaching artist for the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program for the past seven years.