Graduate Program DirectorJEFF 401
Carol Wolfe Clay
Director of Graduate PracticumsJEFF 401
Chair: Performing Arts/Arts Leadership
Carol LwaliGraduate Admission Counselor
As an actor, Tracy Hyland has performed in films and on many stages, such as ACT Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Book-It Repertory Theatre. During her stint in Chicago, Tracy worked with The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and also Barrel of Monkeys Productions, an outreach program teaching creative writing and drama in Chicago Public Schools and surrounding areas. Since entering the MFA Arts Leadership program, Tracy has enjoyed rewarding connections to arts organizations around town, especially as the New Guard Program Manager for TeenTix, and the 2014 Auction Coordinator for Music Center of the Northwest. Currently, Tracy is working closely with ACT Theatre staff, spearheading a strategic plan for ACT’s Education and Community Programs, and continues her work at Music Center in development and auction planning.
Verna Everitt was recently named the new Executive Director at Vashon Community Care Foundation. Her job, which involves raising money for Vashon Community Care to cover a budget gap, involves writing grants, putting on fundraising events, starting a recurring gift campaign, and cultivating major donors. While it’s not in the arts, there are arts components in the events she produces, and her MFA Arts Leadership degree has prepared her for the work ahead. In her first week, when she had to create a Development Plan, she took all the skills she learned in the MFA program, especially during the Resource Development class, and created a 15-page plan that was widely hailed as an excellent piece of work. She holds a B.A. from UCLA in Political Science.
Dan Ruiter started the MFA program at Seattle U to focus on growing the arts opportunities for the students at O'Dea High School where he is the Music Director. Through his studies, Dan has picked up new tools and skills to use in building an arts program that will continue to grow, change, and flourish for many years to come. The best part of the MFA program is that he has been able to directly apply the knowledge in his classroom and work environments. The MFA program has given him the tools and skills to professionally communicate and collaborate with the development office, the administration, and the constituents of O'Dea. Dan’s latest project is a feasibility survey that will provide some original research into growing arts programs at inner city, all-boys high schools. This research will provide information for his summary project, which is a strategic plan for growing the arts program at O'Dea High School.
Since entering the MFA Arts Leadership program, Charly McCreary has had the opportunity to intern at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center helping develop and promote the Arts Incubator residency program, and at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) in the development department, helping plan and organize fundraising events. She will be focusing on development challenges small arts organizations face for her summary project this spring. After graduation, she will continue serving as the Managing Director and principal performer for the Cabiri, a Seattle-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization that creates contemporary circus productions based upon stories from folklore and mythology.
Crystal Yingling is the founding executive director for Roxy Revival, a community-based initiative to rescue, restore, and reimagine Bremerton, WA's historic Roxy Theater, with the goal to improve the cultural vitality of Bremerton's downtown core. This effort started as a group project for a course in Seattle University's MFA Arts Leadership Program, and is now blossoming into reality. For her current graduate practicum, Crystal is redesigning and producing Intiman Theatre Festival's 2015 Emerging Artist Program. Previous practicums included working with space acquisition and development for Rain City Rock Camp for Girls. Crystal also continues to teach voice lessons, write for the stage and screen, and perform around Puget Sound. She plans to continue using art as a catalyst for change; and hopes to one day statistically prove that the performing arts can have a lasting positive impact on the world. She earned her BM in Voice from Wheaton College Conservatory, and served as a US Army Officer following her undergraduate studies.
Roland is a Seattle-based playwright and dramaturg currently in pursuit of an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. He has worked in some literature-centric capacity with a variety of theatre companies in the area since moving here in 2013 including Copious Love Productions, STAGEright, Mirum Mirum, and Theatre Battery. Most recently he has accepted a position as the New Play Programs Academic Intern at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, working closely with artistic staff on research and reporting related to new play and playwright development. Roland is also the Associate Managing Director of the Slingshot New Works Series which presents quarterly readings of new plays from around the nation, reflecting a diverse range of storytelling modes and values. His goals following graduation include a position as literary manager of a professional theatre company and the establishment of a new fringe arts company focused on providing underserved artists and audiences a stage from which to speak the whole of their truth.
Hanako O’Leary is here to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to make change with art. Always a sculptor, she earned her BFA in ceramics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After moving to Seattle in 2012, she began working with Seattle Mosaic Arts, where she gained experience in community murals. Working as artistic director for the first time, she most recently completed a mosaic mural with Green Lake Elementary. Through this project and other experiences volunteering with non-profits throughout Seattle, Hanako has realized that what she loves most about art is that it has the ability to empower people and inspire them to move forward in their lives. Her knowledge gained from the MFA Arts Leadership program will be used to facilitate more community art projects. Hanako is currently working with 4Culture as their public art intern. She is also working with Seattle Mosaic Arts, using knowledge gained from her marketing class to help them develop a marketing plan.
Elena Chernock is currently studying to expand her knowledge on best practices to support communities without access to quality education and creative outlets. She has a background in Visual and Media Arts, and worked in film and television production for five years before following her passion for social justice and education. Elena put her life on a path of arts education and youth development after initiating an annual creative arts workshop for a small NGO in Nicaragua in 2009. In 2012, she accepted the position of Creative Expression Coordinator for an educational non-profit in Guatemala City, where she focused on developing programming that gave students a safe place for expression and creative growth. Elena brings her experience in youth and community development as well as her dedication to creating equity through education to her new research position at MEMconsultants, and to her current practicum coordinating the spring cultural event for the Latino community of El Centro de la Raza.
Darragh Kennan is the Artistic Director of New Century Theatre Company and has been an actor, teacher, and director in Seattle since 2000. He is the recipient of the 2012 Actor of the Year Award given by Seattle Magazine, and the 2011 Gregory Falls Award for Outstanding Performance for his portrayal of Hamlet with Seattle Shakespeare Company. Darragh teaches for Freehold Theatre Lab and Billings Middle School. The MFA Arts Leadership program at Seattle University has opened Darragh’s eyes to the nonprofit arts scene. It has taken him from the insular world of the small theatre company he works hard to keep afloat, and introduced him to a larger community all working towards building healthy organizations and learning together. From the guest speakers to the excellent faculty, Darragh finds it to be an important education for any serious arts leader.
Originally from San Diego, Rachel attended Seattle University as an undergraduate, where she discovered her passion for helping artists tell their stories and share their work with the community. With a background in theatre and communications, Rachel began working as the Washington Ensemble Theatre’s Marketing Director, and as a freelance arts marketer and public relations rep. Being able to apply what she learns in the classroom to her work has been very interesting and rewarding, and she has been challenged to think about how she can help The Ensemble grow. Rachel strives to establish herself as a thoughtful arts leader through the MFA Arts Leadership program, particularly in the areas of marketing, overall organizational vision, and strategic planning. She continues to immerse herself in the work she does, letting all of the amazing things the MFA program gives her insight to inform her creative endeavors.
Sharon Williams (MFA ’09)Managing Director, CD Forum
Geri Morris (MFA ‘13)Annual Fund Manager, Pacific Northwest Ballet
David Bander (MFA ‘13)Director of Operations, Kirkland Performance Center
Kellen Braddock (MFA ‘13)Manager, Artist Services, Shunpike
Samantha DeLuna (MFA ‘13)Development Officer for Special Events & Corporate Development, Seattle Symphony
Liz Dawson (MFA ‘14)Communications Manager, Velocity Dance Center
Ben McCarthy (MFA ‘14)Special Events Manager, Seattle International Film Festival
Kayti Barnett (MFA ‘14)Managing Director, New Century Theatre Company