Faculty and Staff

DIRECTOR

Robert John Connor

CCCEPA DIRECTOR

  • MFA, Theatre (Dramatic Media), University of Georgia
  • BA, Communication (Film & Television), Morehouse College

Robert John Connor has enjoyed more than 20 years as an arts educator and over 40 years of working in the professional world of arts and entertainment.  He has worked with some of the best performing arts programs in the country including Tri-Cities High School Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Program, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts and the Fine Arts Magnet Education program at New Manchester High School.

As a professional performer, Robert has appeared in a variety of stage productions including: 110 in the Shade, Once on this Island, Camelot, Crowns, The Club, Urinetown, Queen of the Blues, Higher Ground, Come out of the Rain, Tyler Perry’s I Know I’ve Been Changed and Jezebel.

His directing credits include: In The Heights, Chicago, Cinderella, Hairspray, Jar the Floor, Dreamgirls, The Amen Corner, Romeo & Juliet, Execution of Justice, Black Nativity, Hairspray, Miss Saigon and the world premiere of the amateur production of The Color Purple. Some of his film and television credits include: Star on FOX, Greenleaf (OWN), A Different World, The Cosby Show, the film Glory, and Showtime at the Apollo.

As a musician Robert can be heard on the two-time Stellar award-winning soundtrack to Greenleaf (Season 2) and has recorded and arranged vocals for a variety of artists, jingles for national and international products and has sung with a variety of artists including: Michael Buble, Gladys Knight, Barry Manilow, Byron Cage and Cassi Davis. Robert holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Georgia with an emphasis on Dramatic Media.

robert.connor@cobbk12.org

drama

Jake Dogias

Drama Department Coordinator/Acting

  • MFA, Acting, The University of California – Irvine
  • BA, Drama, The University of Georgia

Jake Dogias joined the CCCEPA faculty in the fall of 2013. An alumnus of the performing arts magnet program at Pebblebrook, Mr. Dogias holds an MFA in Acting from The Claire Trevor School of the Arts at The University of California – Irvine, and he earned a BA in Drama from The University of Georgia.

Following his formal training, Mr. Dogias lived and worked professionally as an actor both in New York City and Los Angeles, where he was cast in guest roles on numerous television series, including recurring roles on ABC’s “Better Off Ted” and “The Forgotten.” He has performed in countless stage productions, with favorite roles including Mozart in “Amadeus” and his graduate thesis role of Iago in Shakespeare’s “Othello.” Mr. Dogias is a proud member of The Screen Actors Guild and continues to work professionally as an actor in addition to his teaching responsibilities.

Mr. Dogias began his teaching career as an instructor of acting and voice classes for drama majors at The University of California – Irvine. He has worked extensively as a private acting coach, was a senior instructor at a conservatory-style program in Los Angeles for students in grades K-12, and has served as a guest instructor of master classes at a multitude of schools and studios throughout the country.

Visit his blog site HERE. 

jacob.dogias@cobbk12.org

Samuel Stricklen

  • M.F.A., Acting – University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • BFA, Acting – University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM)

Mr. Stricklen is a member of the Saratoga International Theatre Institute (SITI Company), and is also a proud alumnus of Pebblebrook High School and the CCCEPA program. As a professional actor, Mr. Stricklen understudied in the Broadway production of Superior Donuts. 

Some of his regional theatre credits include: Six Degrees of Separation, Clybourne Park, Current Nobody, and La Dispute.  Productions with SITI Company and under the direction of Anne Bogart, include: The Bacchae, bobrauschenbergamerica, Under Construction, the theater is a blank page, Radio Macbeth, and Lost in the Stars.  His television and film credits include: Marlon, The Mysteries of Laura, Law & Order, As the World Turns, The Good Wife, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, High Maintenance, Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show, and The Visit. 

Mr. Stricklen is a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists as well as Actors’ Equity.  Mr. Stricklen has led workshops in both the Viewpoints and Suzuki methods of actor training with the Saratoga International Theatre Institute in conjunction with various colleges and universities. He was also an acting instructor at the University of California, San Diego. 

samuel.stricklen@cobbk12.org

 

TECHNICAL THEATRE

Mr. Zac Thatcher

  • Georgia State University – Bachelor of Arts in English (Literary Studies)/ Theatre 

Mr. Thatcher’s career as a theatre technician began at West Forsyth High School we his love for working behind the scenes was cultivated.   Since then he has served as technical director for Theatrical Outfit, and Synchronicity Theatre Company as well as, scenic designer, scenic artist, stage carpenter, master carpenter, electrician and painter for Georgia State University, Dad’s Garage Theatre and Capital City Opera. Some of his production credits include: A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Trouble in Mind, Stop Kiss, Almost Maine, The Wizard of Oz, The Mikado, Eclipsed, and Strait of Gibraltar.

 

DANCE

Denise Reeves

Dance Department Coordinator – Ballet

  • MEd, Dance Education, Frostburg State University
  • BS, Dance Education, University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Denise Reeves, Dance Coordinator and Ballet Instructor, began teaching at the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts in 1994. She was instrumental in facilitating the Dance Department’s expansion to full-time status in 2002. Ms. Reeves holds a master’s degree in education specializing in dance from Frostburg State University, with additional studies at Stanford University and San Jose State University.  Her bachelor’s degree in dance education is from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ms. Reeves holds certification by the Royal Academy of Dance and the American Ballet Theatre National Curriculum. In addition, her intense training in the Vaganova method, the Russian style of ballet, allows her to help each student achieve his/her ultimate potential.

Ms. Reeves is zealous about staying current in the world of dance education, and she has a passion for sharing her continued training with her students. She has studied with Ekaterina Shchelkanova at Open World Dance Foundation, providing orphans the opportunity to dance. Additionally, her training has included studies at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries (New York University), The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society (with John White and Rose Flachs), The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Vail International Dance Competition Teacher’s Course, the Jackson International Ballet Competition Teacher’s Courses, and training with Lisa Howell from Perfect Form Dance Physiotherapy (Australia). Ms. Reeves is certified in the original method of Pilates by the master teacher, Romana Kryzanowska, of The Pilates Studio in New York City. She holds professional affiliations with the National Dance Education and The Corps de Ballet. While dancing with the Georgia Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Santa Clara Ballet, and San Jose Dance Theatre, Reeves performed in Canada, Poland, Soviet Union, and all the Western and South Western United States.

Locally, Ms. Reeves has served as Cobb County Teacher Leader in Dance and served on the dance board of Kennesaw State University. She has directed the School of the Georgia Ballet and the dance division of the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. With more than 35 years of experience in dance education, she has taught ages 3 through adult at multiple area dance studios, including the Atlanta Ballet. She derives great satisfaction from helping students to discover and to fulfill their dreams.

Visit her blog site HERE.

denise.reeves@cobbk12.org

Eileen Edwards

Dance Department – Jazz Dance & Tap/ Musical Theatre

  • BSEd, Dance Education, The University of Georgia

Eileen Edwards joined the CCCEPA dance faculty in 2012. She teaches jazz technique styles, including classic jazz technique, modern jazz, and musical theater, to all majors and minors in the CCCEPA Dance Department. Dance history, choreography, and tap are also part of her teaching responsibilities.

Ms. Edwards has more than twenty years of teaching and choreographic experience in private studios and regional theaters, and in both private and public school systems. Prior to CCCEPA, she was on the dance faculty of the performing arts magnet program at North Springs Charter School in Fulton County for ten years, where she choreographed musicals and one act productions for the Georgia Theatre Conference. Her choreography has been seen at high school, collegiate, and international festivals including the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Ms. Edwards holds the BSEd degree in Dance Education from the University of Georgia, where she was twice chosen as the student choreographer for the American College Dance Festival.  After UGA, Ms. Edwards moved to Chicago to study with the concert dance companies Joel Hall Dancers, Gus Giordano Dance Chicago, and Hubbard Street. Her training in Chicago included master classes with Fred Benjamin, Milton Myers, Sheila Barker, Luigi and Francis Roach. A lifelong learner, she continues to train by taking master classes and dance teacher workshops in Atlanta and New York City. Ms. Edwards loves challenging all CCCEPA dance students physically and mentally in the studio so that they can become smart, powerful, and well-rounded dancers.

Visit her blog HERE.

eileen.edwards@cobbk12.org

Stephan Reynolds

Dance Department – Modern/ Contemporary/ African/ Hip-Hop

  • Lesley University, Master of Arts: Dance/Movement Therapy 
  • Ashford University, Bachelor of Arts: Education

Mr. Reynolds’ dance training includes Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Dance Theater of Harlem, Paul Taylor, and the Martha Graham School. To list but some of his credits: In 1998, he was selected to perform the lead solo in Paul Taylor’s Company B. In 1999, he performed the leading role in Penumbra’s Black Nativity and performed with the show for three consecutive years. As well as Black Nativity, here in Atlanta with Dominion Entertainment for the past 7 years. He has worked with Christina Aguilera, Deborah Cox, Debbie Allen, Deborah Gibson, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson (30th Anniversary Celebration on NBC), Al Jarreau, Monica, Mya, Usher, Jill Scott, Martha Wash, Crystal Waters, Kristine W, RuPaul, Celine Dion in A New Day, and most recently The Braxtons, 2 Chainz, Janelle Monet, Kandi Burruss, D Woods, Angie Stone, Q Parker, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Keke Wyatt, and Tony Terry.

He has choreographed for Knick City Dancers, New York Liberty, Memphis State University, SUNY at Purchase College, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Las Vegas Gladiators, Southern Methodist University, The Polish National Ballet, and has danced and taught Master Classes in over 50 major cities and all throughout Europe, including Paris, Warsaw, Alexandria, Norway, Greece, London, Montreal, Quebec, Dortmund, Africa, Argentina, Singapore, Sidney, and Zurich, to name a few. While doing all this, he has performed full time, since 2003, as a named character Le Travesti (meaning the transvestite) in Cirque du Soleil’s production of “O” at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and assisted Cirque in Choreographing “Love”, at the Mirage hotel also in Las Vegas.

Many may remember him for his work in Married to Medicine, The Braxton Family Values, or Housewives of Atlanta. He is also a Principal Dancer in the HBO movie Bessie starring Queen Latifah, World’s Away Directed by James Cameron, and Bolden starring Gary Carr and Robert Ri’chard. Since attending his first ADTA conference in 2017, a lot has happened. With the purchase of a new dance studio, in 2018, he presented Inauthentic Living: A Black Man’s Struggle at the NEADTA conference and followed that up by co-presenting Moving Blind Spots: Cultural Bias in the Movement Repertoire of Dance/Movement Therapists and Foregrounding Social Justice in DMT Education at ADTA. For the past 2 years, Stephan has served as the Creative Director for ADTA and has co-presented various workshops He is currently completing his Ph.D. in Expressive Therapies at Lesley University, where he will continue to use the arts as a means of healing and understanding while fostering communication for African American males in his communities.

DANCE ADJUNCT FACULTY

Liz Legrande

About Ms. Legrande

Austyn Rich

About Mr. Rich

Cassie Broussard

About Ms. Broussard

Chelcee Geddes

About Ms. Geddes

Ricardo Aponte

About Mr. Aponte

Allison Gupton

About Ms. Gupton

Gary Jeter

About Mr. Jeter

VOCAL MUSIC

Trey Giddens

Director of Choral and Vocal Music

  • Mercer University, Bachelor in Music Education

Mr. Giddens is a graduate of Mercer University, has been a music educator for over 17 years.   At New Manchester High School he served as the Fine Arts Magnet Director and had the pleasure of directing the award winning Fame Choirs, and the nationally recognized and award winning a Capella group InToneNation.  Mr. Giddens is a sought after show choir choreographer and choral clinician who works with choirs of all ages around the state.  He is also the Musical Director for Tinsel Tones Atlanta and Co-founder and Musical Director for the A Cappella group Dressed To Trill.  In his spare time Trey can be seen singing around the Atlanta area and preforming with the Atlanta Freedom Bands Color Guard.

Evelyn White

Choral & Vocal Music Department – Collaborative Pianist & Piano Laboratory Coordinator

  • MEd, Lesley University
  • BM, Piano Performance, Austin Peay State University

Evelyn White, collaborative pianist and Piano Lab Coordinator, has been a member of the CCCEPA faculty since 2004.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Austin Peay State University and a M.Ed from Lesley University.  She began playing piano at the age of three and soon began accompanying her parents and playing at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Ms. White has worked professionally as a performer and educator in jazz, gospel, musical theater, and country music.  She performed exclusively as a pianist in Atlanta until she met jazz legend, Tony Bennett, who asked her if she ever considered singing. He introduced her to the piano trio style of Nat “King” Cole and helped her develop vocal repertoire. During that time, Ms. White was also under the tutelage of another legendary vocalist, Nancy Wilson. After these two experiences, she was invited to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, where she was a guest artist and clinician for many years.  She performed with jazz greats, including:  Lionel Hampton, Russell Malone, Lewis Nash, Christian McBride, Ray Brown, Mulgrew Miller, Benny Green, Hank Jones, John Clayton, Roy Hargrove and more. As a result of the festival, Ms. White was a guest of the Russian Ministry of Cultural Affairs and toured with international jazz artists, such as Leonid Vinstskevich, Lembit Saarsalu, and Igor Butman.

She’s been the recipient of APSU’s Outstanding Young Alumna Award, Pebblebrook’s Teacher of the Year and The High 5 for Teachers Award, sponsored by Atlanta’s Fox 5 TV. After traveling and performing for fifteen years, Ms. White returned to Austin Peay as a guest artist and was made an honorary citizen of Montgomery County, Tennessee. Ms. White is dedicated to sharing her musical experiences with young artists and is honored to be a performing artist among them.

Visit her blog site HERE.

evelyn.white@cobbk12.org

Musical Theatre

John-Michael d'Haviland

Coordinator of Musical Theatre

  • MA, Music (Choral Conducting), George Mason University
  • BA, Music (Piano), George Mason University

John-Michael d’Haviland is a collaborative pianist and musical theatre specialist on the vocal faculty in CCCEPA at Pebblebrook High School. He serves as a repertoire and audition coach, an associate choral director, and accompanist for the Ballet and Drama classes.  Mr. d’Haviland relocated to Atlanta, in 2014, from Washington, DC, where he served as Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Georgetown Day High School, guest music director at American University, and was an adjunct choral director for the Washington Youth Choir.

An award-winning music director, Mr. d’Haviland has worked at the Keegan Theatre (DC), and at Arena Stage (DC) and Round House Theater (MD) as a musical theater and vocal instructor. Regional music direction credits include:  A Little Night Music, Follies, Dreamgirls, Spring Awakening (VA); Cabaret, (The Keegan Theatre, DC); Caroline, or Change, Ain’t Misbehavin’, (NextStop Theatre, VA); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Rocky Horror Show, Marat/Sade, Rent, (American University, DC); Nero/Pseudo, (WSC Avant Bard, VA); Rocket Boys, (The Legacy Theatre, GA), Violet, (Act3 Productions, GA).

Mr. d’Haviland is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Georgia Music Educators Association, the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Federation of Musicians. He earned a BA in Music (Piano) and an MA in Music (Choral Conducting) from George Mason University.

Visit his blog site HERE.

John-Michael.DHaviland@cobbk12.org

STAFF