The Academy Faculty and Staff
Head of School
Jason Patera has been part of the Academy community for nearly 20 years, serving as a faculty member, Chair of the Music Department, Assistant Head of School, Principal, and now Head of School.
Director of Enrollment Management
Kitsana Salyphone brings over 15 years of independent school experience, including teaching, admission, diversity, communications, advancement and marketing.
Chair - Dance
Randy Duncan, a native Chicagoan, has the unique privilege to be a three-time recipient of Chicago’s prestigious Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Choreographer of the year. He teaches worldwide and for the past twenty-two years has been on the Academy faculty.
Chair - Visual Arts
Margy Stover has taught at The Academy since 2003 and has been Visual Arts Department Chair since 2008. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and Master of Fine Arts from SUNY Buffalo.
Chair - Theatre
Ben Dicke holds a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education from Sterling College. He has worked as a professional actor for twenty years in regional markets throughout the country.
Chair - Media Arts
Jessi Meliza has taught animation at The Academy since 2013 and was named Chair of the Department in the summer of 2017. She works in Chicago as an analogue and digital animator and has experience working in 16mm film production including both stop-motion animation and the DOS-controlled Oxberry animation stand for 2D filming.
Chair - Musical Theatre
Andrew Robinson earned his Bachelor of Arts in English and Religion from Rhodes College, his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and his Master of Arts in Educational Theatre from New York University. he has been a creative associate with the Wagon Wheel Theatre for ten years where he has performed in and directed dozens of shows.
Chair - Music Department
Jazz vocalist Rose Colella currently performs regularly at Chicago's top jazz clubs and hotels, including The Jazz Showcase and The Green Mill, alongside the city's finest jazz musicians. Colella received her Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago and owns the entertainment agency, Lola Bard Productions. She has been teaching jazz voice and piano at The Academy since 2006.
Chair - Science, Math, and Technology
Laura Stone earned her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her Master of Science in Teaching Secondary Mathematics from University of Illinois, Chicago.
Chair - English
Nicholas Roux teaches philosophy and creative writing. He attended Kenyon College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, with concentrations in Creative Writing and Humane Studies, and served as a student associate for The Kenyon Review.
Dean of Students and Student Services Coordinator
Elizabeth Cunningham is the Dean of Students as well as the Student Services Coordinator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and a Master of Education in Special Education at Loyola University.
Sarah Langford was a high school teacher for fifteen years and is now College Counselor at The Academy. Sarah attended the University of Missouri and holds a Master of Education from The University of Illinois (Chicago).