Faculty and Staff (2016)

Robert BattleRobert Battle

Faculty - Vocal Instrumental

Robert Battle is glad to be returning for his ninth season with the MFAA. Originally from St. Louis, Battle is the Artistic Director of the Columbia Public Schools 5th Grade Honors Choir and member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the Barbershop Harmony Society. He is also a certified to teach in New York State and is a fitness trainer for Les Mills BodyJam dance classes. Battle is an active voice teacher and advocate for equal arts opportunities in urban areas. He volunteers with the Center for Urban Agriculture and can be found teaching about food justice. Battle spends most of his off-time dancing, gardening, running, sewing, knitting, cooking, or catching up on short stories mostly written by David Sedaris. Aside from teaching, Battle is working on his master's in public affairs with an emphasis in non-profits in educational. He lives in Columbia with his partner and mini-schnauzer, Oscar.

Julie BloodworthJulie Bloodworth

Faculty - Creative Writing

Julie Bloodworth is a former Director of Missouri Fine Arts Academy and has remained involved with the program as an advisor and faculty member. A lifelong educator, Bloodworth has taught speech, theatre, and English in Texas and Missouri to students in middle-school, high school, and college. She's now teaching theatre and English classes per-course at Missouri State University, where she earned both her BA in theatre and her Masters in English Education. She acts in local theatre productions, writes poetry, and has been published in a variety of regional and national publications. In 2011, Bloodworth won the Missouri Citizens for the Arts arts advocacy award and the Missouri Arts Council education award. In her spare time, she helps out at Springfield Hot Glass, the blown glass art studio owned by her husband and son.

Judge BockmanJudge Bockman

Faculty - Visual Arts

Judge Bockman graduated with his bachelors in design from Missouri State University and is a current graduate student, teaching courses in new media. His works have been selected and shown in the Society of Illustrators, 3 x 3, and other publications. Bockman's work is primarily illustrative but also incorporates animation, film, sculpture and new media.

Joey BorovickaJoey Borovicka

Faculty - Visual Arts

Joey Borovicka is an artist and teacher from Springfield, Missouri. He holds a BFA in painting from Missouri State University and an MFA in painting from Indiana University. He has taught at both universities as well as Drury University and MFAA. His work, which has been published in New American Paintings and exhibited in group and solo shows nationwide, invites viewers into interior spaces where evidence of strange goings-on abound. For Borovicka, art is a way of creating and exploring new spaces, an attempt to escape the familiar world. Though his primary medium is painting, he also uses digital media, animation, and writing to explore ideas, and finds inspiration in old sitcoms, radio shows, and department store soundtracks.

Megan FrauenhofferMegan Frauenhoffer

Coordinator, Faculty - Visual Arts

Megan Frauenhoffer is a printmaking artist originating from St. Louis, Mo. Her formal art training began at Missouri State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with an emphasis in printmaking in May 2007. In May 2010, she completed a master's in visual studies, focusing on both drawing and printmaking at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her drawings, prints, and collages explore the ideas of perfection/imperfection, subconscious fears, identity, and trans-formative narratives. As an artist, Frauenhoffer's artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her artwork has been featured in "Beautiful/Decay Magazine," "Minneapolis CityPages 100 Creatives," "Paper Darts Press Get In If You Want To Live," and "Miami Art Basel." As a teacher, she has trained students of all ages at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis's Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Saint Louis ARTworks Summer Program, Missouri State University, and Ozarks Technical Community College.

Michael FrizellMichael Frizell

Faculty - Creative Writing

Michael Frizell is the Director of Student Learning Services at Missouri State University. His poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction appear in literary journals, on The Good Men Project, and the National Gallery of Writing. He writes comic books for Storm Entertainment, crafting over fifty biographies of the famous and infamous in addition to two ongoing science fiction series and various other stories for the publisher. Recently published comic books include Tribute: Christopher Reeve (with cooperation from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation), Faith Series: The Life of Pope Francis, Fame: Russell Wilson, Orbit: The Cast of Doctor Who, and Fame: Miley Cyrus, and audio adaptations of Beyond: Edward Snowden, Fame: Michael Jackson, Fame: Justin Bieber, among others. Fiction titles include Polka Spot, a comic written in conjunction with the Beekman Brothers, Aether: The Rise of Specter, a prologue to the steampunk film, and the licensed ongoing series The Secret Life of Bettie Page: Bettie Page and the Red Menace, and Timeless: James Dean. He is also the writer of Star Trek: Live in Springfield and Star Trek: The Next Generation Live in Springfield for Harvest Moon Productions. In addition, Frizell is Director of the In-School Players, a small cast of Missouri State University students who travel the local elementary school and Springfield Public Library circuit to bring live theater performances to children. He is also the editor of the peer-reviewed journal, The Learning Assistance Review, the official education journal of the National College Learning Center Association and holds a Level IV Lifetime Certification from the organization for learning center leadership. Additionally, he is the Assistant Publishing Director for Skye Press, the graphic novel imprint of Oghma Creative Media. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Frizell has a son, Tristan, who is a chemist, and a step-daughter, Katherine, a graduate student in the Student Affairs Program at MSU. He and his wife, Julia, a high school English teacher, reside in Springfield, Missouri.

Melissa HarperMelissa Harper

Faculty - Songwriting

Melissa Harper is an artist and who has spent 16 years as a performing musician. She has shared the stage with several national touring acts and has played many empty coffee houses. Harper previously taught theatre and now resides in California and works as a technician while also running a small woodworking shop, creating original and commissioned pieces. As a human being, her goal is to perpetuate the idea that people matter.

Kurt Gerard HeinleinKurt Gerard Heinlein

Faculty - Theatre

Kurt Heinlein is currently the Coordinator of Acting at Missouri State University. He is working member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. He is National Vice-President of ATME (Association of Theatre Movement Educators) and an active member of ATME, SAFD, and Fight Directors Canada (FDC). Heinlein has worked extensively since completing his MFA in Acting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) with union performance credits that include New York/Broadway, national tours, regional theatre, daytime drama, film, commercial print, and over 25 national television spots. His movement, stunt, and combat work/coordination have been seen in feature films, daytime drama, national commercials, and in the professional and educational theatre circuits throughout the nation. A lifelong environmental activist, he has earned several grants and awards for his work in Green Theatre. He published Green Theatre: Promoting Ecological Preservation and Advancing the Sustainability of Humanity and Nature, and maintains a consistent dedication to environmental education. Heinlein recently earned a Governors Service Award for work related to the development of his play Evangeline Drowning, an investigation of wetlands disintegration in Southern Louisiana and the corresponding socio-emotional impact upon teenagers in the region. He is currently developing a stage adaptation of the award-winning Glen Pitre film, Belizaire the Cajun.

Melissa HerrMelissa Herr


Melissa Herr is thrilled to be the director of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy for 2016. Herr has been involved with arts education since 1997. Her work has included dramaturgical and education outreach internships at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, five years of teaching English and Theatre at the high school level, and participation in a Gates Foundation study of pedagogical practices in the elementary and secondary classroom. Herr holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from Butler University, a Master's of Liberal Studies from Indiana University and a Master's of Arts in Theatre from Bowling Green State University. When she is not planning and advocating for the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, she enjoys reading, writing, teaching playwriting, editing and spending time with her family. Her children's poetry and short stories have appeared in Jack and Jill magazine.

Jacob HiserJacob Hiser

Faculty - Instrumental Music

Jacob Hiser has been involved with MFAA since 2010, first as an accompanist and more recently as full-time faculty. He plays both piano and violin, and enjoys playing and studying all kinds of music. With his brother, he has performed professionally around the United States as the Hiser Brothers; and with the band Powder Mill, he has traveled as far as France to perform. Hiser graduated from Missouri State University with a degree in jazz studies, and now lives and works in Boston, studying Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory.

Melanie HumphreyMelanie Humphrey

Residence Assistant

Melanie Humphrey is a 2010 MFAA alumni and this is her third year as a Resident Assistant. Humphrey graduated May of 2015 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at Missouri State University. During her time in school she had the opportunity to study Shakespeare, La Coq mask work, and Classic Theatre literature with the Theatre Academy of London for a semester. Since graduation she has relocated to the Chicago area where she has assistant directed "Jensen and Wit," written and directed by MFAA alum Fee Basanavicius, and performed at the Three Brothers Ensemble Theatre. Humphrey's interests include writing solo narratives and viewpoints. When she is not acting she is reading, writing, and planning her next adventure!

Jill KamlerJill Kamler

Lead Residence Assistant

Jill Kamler grew up in Joplin, Mo., and attended Missouri Fine Arts Academy in 2010, where they studied theatre performance. Kamler is a recent graduate of the Acting program at Missouri State University, where they earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Kamler also studied with Florida State University’s Theatre Academy London, where they spent a semester abroad studying theatre and traveling within Europe. This will be Kamler's third year as a resident assistant. Currently located in Los Angeles, Calif., Kamler is enjoying life as a working actor and soaking up those SoCal vibes. Kamler is most interested in using performance as a vehicle of change, specifically in relation to social issues involving gender diversity and visibility. In addition to theatre and film performance, Kamler enjoys exploring self-scripted narrative performance, dabbling in ukulele strumming and songwriting, and sharing those adorable cat videos that plague the internet. Kamler looks at MFAA as a jumping off point for artistic pursuits, where participants gain the confidence and guidance to follow their passions. Kamler can't wait to meet the next class of MFAA students!

Marcy KamlerMarcy Kamler

Artist in Residence

Marcy Kamler is a Los Angeles based musician and educator. Originally from Joplin, Mo., She is a 2002 alumna of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. Kamler holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Missouri State University, and Suzuki Pedagogy Certification from the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute. She has taught both Band and Orchestra in Louisiana, Missouri, and, most recently, California, where she currently conducts Baldwin Park High School Orchestra.

Bethany KellyBethany Kelly

Residence Assistant

Bethany Kelly graduated from Missouri State University with a degree in Art Education. Her passion for art and teaching has led her on an interesting journey through the arts. She started as an aerial performer in the circus before planting both feet firmly on the ground as a visual artist. Her love of art and learning led her to the field of education. Currently, Kelly resides in Springfield, Missouri teaching visual arts to high school students. She is excited about starting MFAA and working with the brilliant minds of Missouri's dedicated students in June!

Kacey KennedyKacey Kennedy

Residence Assistant

Kacey Kennedy is a music educator from O'Fallon, Mo. Kennedy received her bachelor's degree in music education from Culver-Stockton College in 2013. Her musical interests have led her to many parts of the world including Russia and France. Kennedy is an alumna of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy Class of 2007 and is ready for her sixth year as an RA with Missouri's brightest and best students!

Kevin LaniganKevin Lanigan

Residence Assistant

Kevin Lanigan has been busy as of late. After graduating from Webster University, Lanigan has taken his short film "It Didn't Take" to New York City multiple times, written and starred in the romantic comedy web series "Doomed to You," and started a legion of podcasts including "Talking Back ot the Movies" and "The Puffin Publishing Podcast." A MFAA 2010 alum, Lanigan has kept his MFAA connections close and found them invaluable in following his loves of writing, directing, and performing. You can frequently find him doing improv comedy, promoting his "Pokemusical," or taking the stage in character as Jane Austen.

Melinda LeinMelinda Lein

Faculty - Vocal Music

Dr. Melinda Lein (Voice Instructor) is returning for her seventh year at the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. She currently serves as Associate Professor of Music at Wingate University in Wingate, NC, where she teaches applied voice as well as music history. She has also taught courses in music appreciation, diction for singers, vocal literature, as well as an honors course in fine arts. She completed her doctoral degree in voice and her master's degree in musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and she holds a master's degree in vocal performance and bachelor's degrees in vocal performance and music education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Lein is an active recitalist and has appeared as soprano soloist in works such as Fauré's Requiem, Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's St. Paul, Rutter's Magnificat and Vivaldi's Gloria, just to name a few. Opera credits include roles in Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Handel), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Poulenc), Die Fledermaus (Strauss), Gianni Schicchi (Puccini), and Die Zauberflöte (Mozart). Lein is also a church musician and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the College Music Society (CMS), and Sigma Alpha Iota.

Matthew McAllisterMatthew McAllister

Residence Assistant

Matthew McAllister is a Drummer/Composer/Bandleader from St. Louis, Mo. McAllister attended the Missouri Fine Arts Academy in 2007 and went on to study at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music earning his Bachelors in Music, Jazz Studies. At CCM, he studied percussion under John Von Ohlen, Art Gore, and Rusty Burge. While in college, McAllister had the tremendous opportunity to study abroad in Brasilia, Brazil. While there he studied music at the Universidade de Brasilia and learned Brazilian percussion with Leander Motta. Since graduating in 2013, McAllister now lives in Cincinnati and is a professional drummer/drum instructor. He keeps busy playing a wide variety of music including Jazz, Avant-Garde, Rock, and Brazilian music. Besides playing drums, McAllister is also an active composer writing music for jazz ensembles as well as chamber music. An ensemble that he primarily writes for is his band Animal Mother, a tenor saxophone, electric bass, and drum set trio. Animal Mother has recorded two albums and has performed in over 15 cities.

Kyle McKenzieKyle McKenzie

Faculty - Visual Arts

Kyle McKenzie is a painter and art professor from Joplin, Mo. As an artist, he explores the meaningful stillness that surrounds him. McKenzie's paintings have been exhibited throughout the country.

Rachel MenscherRachel Menscher

Residence Assistant

Rachel Menscher is from Wentzville, Mo., and holds a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University (2016). She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Music degree in May 2014. At SMU, she was a performance student of Alfred Mouledous, and presented her degree recital, including works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy, and Carl Vine in November 2015. While at Vanderbilt, she studied piano and pedagogy with Karen Ann Krieger, and previously studied with Annette Burkhart at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently Menscher has taught at Southern Methodist University, Pianos for People Music School, Missouri Fine Arts Academy, W.O. Smith Community Music School, and Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. Founder of the non-profit music program, "Soundscape St. Louis," she presented a session entitled "Bridging the Gap: Connecting Collegiate Music and Underprivileged Areas" at the 2016 Music Teachers National Association Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Menscher is thrilled to be returning to MFAA for her third season, and will be pursuing a doctoral degree in music education at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the fall of 2016.

Ian MerriganIan Merrigan

Artist in Residence

Ian Merrigan was born in Kansas City and now lives in Los Angeles, California where he writes, acts, and composes music for film and television. He is co-creator of "The Unfortunates", a musical that had its world premiere production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Merrigan was a MFAA student in 1999, an RA in 2003, and has served several years as a faculty member.

Shannon MettsShannon Metts

Residence Assistant

Shannon Metts is thrilled to be spending her first summer at MFAA! Metts is a recent graduate of Missouri State University's BFA Acting program. There she enjoyed learning about the arts, performing in multiple shows, and directing a few as well. Currently Metts is living in the outer St. Louis area and looks forward to a move to Chicago in the fall to pursue her career as an artist. When she is not being an artist, Metts enjoys being an awesome server, a cat mama, and a friend to folks across the country.

Chris MostynChris Mostyn

Faculty - Visual Arts

Chris Mostyn is a full time art teacher and an illustrator, cartoonist, and character designer for the award winning app "Plug and the Paddywacks" on the iOS platform. He has currently rediscovered the joy of making comics and is currently working on several graphic story telling projects.

David OllingtonDavid Ollington

Faculty - Theatre

David Ollington is honored to return for his eleventh summer serving on the faculty of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from Kansas State University and a Master of Fine Arts in dance from Texas Christian University. Last year Ollington directed Leap of Faith at Tent Theatre where he directed Forever Plaid (2014), choreographed Fiddler on the Roof (2014), and choreographed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2010). His choreography has been called “witty” by The Kansas City Pitch Weekly, “brilliantly choreographed” by the Kansas City Star, and Dance Magazine said “Theatre dance doesn’t get any better.” An Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at Kansas State University, he has received three commendations from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in recognition of his choreography for the K-State productions of Pippin (2005), Urinetown (2006), and The Music Man (2012). In 2003, The Kansas City Press Club presented him with two awards, Best Entertainment Writing and the President’s Award for Outstanding Work, for his Theatre/Dance review column in EKC Magazine. Ollington choreographed the world premiere of the Theatre for Young America version of Seussical at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City (2004), returning to the Coterie to direct it in 2011. In 2013, he directed The Fantasticks at the Great Plains Theatre. Ollington has set dances for The Seattle Children’s Theatre, ARC Dance Productions of Seattle, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The American Heartland Theatre, the Heartland Men's Chorus, the City in Motion Dance Company, and the Disney Institute in Orlando, Fla.

Tom PolettTom Polett

Faculty - Instrumental Music

Dr. Thomas C. Polett is currently a Professor of Music at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., where he is the Director of Low Brass/Jazz Studies. He has held similar positions at Georgia College, Limestone College (S.C.), and North Greenville College (S.C.).
Polett earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, a master's degree in music performance from Arizona State University, and a doctorate in musical arts in trombone performance from The University of Georgia. He has studied trombone with Philip Jameson, Gail Wilson, Stephen McEuen, Scott Hartman, and Joeseph Alessi.
Polett has performed with numerous professional and regional symphony orchestras, including the Charleston (S.C.) Symphony, Greenville (S.C.) Symphony, Asheville (N.C.) Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, and the Arizona Ballet Orchestra. He is a former member of the South Carolina based Aurora Brass Quintet, which toured Italy twice, was the 1995 American representative to the Verona (Italy) International Brass Festival, and served as the Resident Brass Quintet for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. Polett has made solo appearances at the Eastern Trombone Workshop, College Music Society, and Missouri Music Educator's Association Conference. Polett was a member of the Cramer Trombone Choir at the 1999 International Trombone Festival in Potsdam, N.Y., and performed for the 2000 New York Brass Conference as a member of the Missouri Brass Consortium.  

Polett cannot wait to begin yet another MFAA journey – the most rewarding and challenging time of his artistic and academic year.

Emma ProvinEmma Provin

Residence Assistant

Emma Provin is a native of the Midwest; she is a filmmaker and artist working out of Kansas City, Mo. Provin recently graduated from Kansas City Art Institute with a BFA and a focus in filmmaking. Provin's studio practice focuses on experimental narrative within classic horror archetypes, 70s pop songs, Westerns, experimental cinematography. Her favorite films range from Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" to Sergio Leone's "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" to Toshiya Fujita's "Lady Snowblood," and also enjoys TV shows such as "Twin Peaks," "X-Files," and "Breaking Bad." In her free time Provin is an avid gardener, coffee-drinker, movie-goer, reader, and lover of good weather. She is an alumni of the Academy from Creative Writing in 2011 and is very eager to return!

Eric SchultzEric Schultz

Faculty - Instrumental Music

Dr. Eric Schultz enjoys an active and diverse musical life as a composer and performer of contemporary and experimental music, a recording engineer, a record producer, a saxophonist, an occasional percussionist, a conductor, a live sound engineer, an opera librettist, a Foley artist for heavy metal rock opera, a bunny-suit-wearing experimental dancer, and extremely over-educated and highly underwhelming karaoke singer. Schultz presently makes his living as the Director of Music Technology at Chabot College in Hayward, California, where he teaches recording, audio production, and rock music history. Schultz and his wife Melissa (who met at the MFAA) live in the San Francisco Bay area with their dogs Miles and Theo.

Emily (Ems) SquiresEmily (Ems) Squires

Artist in Residence

Emily Squires is an artist and educator currently living in Portland, Oregon. She has facilitated arts programming for youth with Philadelphia-based organizations such as Fleisher Art Memorial and the Mural Arts Program, in addition to the Missouri Fine Arts Academy of Springfield, Mo., and the Missouri Gay Straight Alliance Network in St. Louis. Squires' multidisciplinary practice investigates themes such as voice, participation, and love. She received her MFA at Washington University in St. Louis and a BFA in Printmaking and a BA in Education through the Arts from the University of Michigan. Information about her work can be found at www.emilysquires.com.

Nicholas WardNicholas Ward

Faculty - Visual Arts

Nicholas Ward’s artistic practices include that of filmmaker, animator, poet and visual artist. Since the spring of 2007 he has worked on numerous public and community-based mural projects throughout the US. In response to the unique quality of community engagement inherent in these collaborative mural projects, he and artist Amber Hansen began working in 2010 to produce the feature length documentary film: Called to Walls (release Jan 2014). In 2009 Ward studied at the acclaimed KID (Puppet for Film Animation) program in Prague CZ. He is a Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, 2011 Artist in Residence. He has also instructed courses in drawing at the University of Kansas and has led youth courses in drawing and animation at the Lawrence Arts Center. Ward received a BFA degree from the University of South Dakota in 2007 and a MFA degree from the University of Kansas in 2010. He currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas.