Staff Bios

Class Acts Arts Staff

 

James E. Modrick, Executive Director since 2012

Mr. Modrick is an arts administrator who has built a professional career that combines organization management experience, knowledge of public policy processes, and a passion for learning. He has published and presented papers that explore the role of the arts in education through policy and practice focusing on the topics of creativity, leadership, politics, and accessibility of the arts. His research interests include nonprofit arts management, governance, and arts education policy issues. Modrick currently encourages inclusive and strategic practice as principal consultant for JEM Consulting after serving as Vice President of Affiliate and Education Services for VSA arts, an international nonprofit committed to advancing the arts in the lives and learning of people with disabilities. Prior to this, he was Director of Membership for the National Art Education Association, the largest professional association supporting visual art educators in the United States, and Accreditation Specialist for the National Office for Arts Accreditation in each of the four arts disciplines: art and design, music, theatre, and dance (NASAD, NASM, NAST, and NASD). For many years he held a seat on the Steering Committee for the Washington, DC-based Arts Education Partnership, and is a member of the Fine Arts Advisory Panel for the Maryland State Department of Education.

 

 

Paco José Madden, Development Director since 2010

Paco has worked in theater and arts education for over fifteen years.  Previously, Paco was employed as the Director of Development at Washington Shakespeare Company (WSC) in Arlington, VA, where he managed grants, fundraisers, and special events.  He has also worked as the Program Associate at Young Playwrights Theater (YPT) in Washington, DC and as the Program Director at Inside Out Community Arts (IOCA) in Venice, CA.  He managed a six figure grant from the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation while at YPT and wrote grants and reports for the NEA, Meyer, Cafritz and other funders.  In his free time, Paco is a dramatist, theater producer, and speculative fiction writer.  He has had his work presented in venues across the country and received grants and won awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.  His play, Pioneer on the Trail of Tears, is published by Brooklyn Publishers.

 

Claire Schwadron, Project Youth ArtReach since 2003

Claire has been the Director of Project Youth ArtReach since 2003. She is a national leader and innovator in arts-in-corrections, and has been a speaker on various panels regarding arts-in-criminal justice.  Her paper, "Cultural Diversity in Arts in Corrections," was shared at the national "Community Arts Convening" conference in Monterey, CA in 2009.  Claire has received numerous awards for outstanding service and recognition from the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, Montgomery County Council, and the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation; in fall 2012 she received the Education award from the Montgomery County Executive for Excellence in the Arts & Humanities.  She has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and taught art and photography in Chicago and Washington, D.C., area high schools.

Christina Walton, Office Administrator since 2013

Christina is a well-seasoned office administration professional, specializing in focusing on details and creating inspired solutions to everyday issues. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Ecology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and has worked as Business Management Consultant for a Public Charter School in Washington, DC, Office Manager for New York City’s Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and as the Assistant Director of Finance and Administration at Greater Homewood Community Corporation in Baltimore, MD.  She feels her skills are best utilized to help make an impact in the lives of marginalized populations.  While her professional skill set is primarily office administration, bookkeeping, event planning and facilities planning/management, Christina’s artistic side lends itself to creating innovative and imaginative solutions to everyday business challenges.

 

Liz Wheeler, Outreach Director since 2006

Liz joined Class Acts Arts in October, 2006 after she retired from teaching at the Maryland School for the Deaf. She is a past PTA cultural arts chair in Montgomery County, Maryland. Liz has served as a PTA officer and member of the board of directors numerous times at the local level with Richard Montgomery High School PTSA, at the county level with the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, and at the state level with the Maryland PTA. She currently is the Membership Chair for the Maryland PTA and is on their board of directors.  She was active as a leader for the National Capital Area Council of Boy Scouts of America at the local and district level. She holds a BA in English and an M.Ed in Education of the Deaf from Western Maryland College.

 

Diane Schenck, Outreach Coordinator since 2014

Diana is an experienced program and event manager with a passion for the arts and a love of learning. While earning her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and her M.A. in Cognitive Science from The Johns Hopkins University, she focused her studies on developmental psychology, language acquisition, and music, and completed research on the perception and cognition of music and dance. Desire to apply her knowledge and explore her interest in educational programming led her to positions at Port Discovery (Baltimore’s children’s museum) and Junior Achievement of Central Maryland, then to work as an independent event and program manager for a variety of clients in education and the arts. Diana has worked extensively with social dance organizations in the Baltimore-D.C. metropolitan area as an event coordinator, teacher, and DJ – she also enjoys traveling to other cities to teach and DJ for national events. As an instructor, Diana works with both children and adults and brings more than 20 years of teaching experience to her classes and workshops. As a parent, she has always been actively involved in her children’s schools, and currently serves on the PTA Executive Board for her children’s elementary school in Frederick County, Maryland.

 

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