Arts in the Parks Teaching Artists

Kathy Ayers has a MA degree from Ball State University. After spending 20 years teaching elementary art in the Jay School Corporation, she is now the ceramics and painting teacher at Jay County High School. She loves teaching art to kids and looks forward to another summer of Arts in the Parks.

Sonja Brooks is a teaching artist who encourages children and adults to explore both the fun of art making and its power to nourish growth and change. Sonja is also Executive Director of Sisohpromatem Art Foundation Inc., a non-profit in Lexington, Kentucky that helps children develop life skills and community participation through engagement in the arts.

Florine Golden is the family and consumer science teacher at Jay County High School. She has taught cake decorating for over 32 years.

Jocelyn Green is a professional ballet dancer with the Dayton Ballet in Dayton OH. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri Jocelyn found her passion for dance at a young age. Jocelyn has taught ballet and jazz for local studios as well as travelled to perform and teach outreach ballets for students of all ages.

Hailey Gross is a 2016 graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Visual Arts Education. This is her second year teaching for Arts in the Parks. Hailey enjoys ceramics and printmaking, as well as other 2D and 3D media

Rachel King is an artist who works in the media of printmaking, drawing, and painting. She is passionate about both creating and teaching. Rachel has a BS in Art Education from Roberts Wesleyan College and is currently attending the Pennsylvania Academy of  the Fine Arts to obtain her MFA

Carol Knarr-Gebert is the theater instructor for Jay County High School. Carol is a professional storyteller. She re- ceived her BA from Anderson Universi- ty, MS from Indiana University and MFA from Arizona State University. Learn more about storytelling at

Michelle LaPlante is an artist based out of the Chicago area. She works primarily in sequential and narrative arts, creating comics and illustrated stories. She teaches kids comics, illustration, painting and drawing at her alma mater, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, through its continuing studies program.

Leslie Newton is a retired art teacher from the Jay School Corporation. She is a passionate supporter of the arts, especially in education. She encourages children and adults to express themselves through creative activities.

Leah Nixon graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in painting. She lives in Kentucky in a tiny house on wheels that she designed and built over the past two years. She loves teaching kids and looks forward to teaching this summer because she believes kids are fearless when it comes to creativity.

Lydia Rowles is a recent Ball State University graduate with a major in Visual Communication and a minor in German.She loves graphic design, metal smithing, and jewelry making.

Stephanie Schieltz is a first year elementary art teacher in the Jay School Corporation. She graduated from Ball State University in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts Education specializing in ceramics.