Hi, new friends! My name is Shannon Cameron, and I am Paramount Theatre’s Director of Education and Community Engagement. I will also be the Director of the Paramount School of the Arts coming to downtown Aurora next year. More importantly, this is my dog, Theo. He is named after the visionary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. My husband and I adopted him this past August soon after I started my job at the Paramount. Theo was in rough shape when he was found around Logan Square in Chicago. He had a mouth full of infected teeth and a lot of pain to go with it. The shelter decided to extract all of his teeth to prevent residual tooth pain. That left Theo with what I think endears him to others: a big floppy tongue that hangs out of his mouth pretty much 24/7.

Although Theo isn’t much like his genius namesake, he is pretty much the best dog anyone could ever hope for. He’s sweet and completely charming. We have made a safe and comfortable home for him, and he makes our house feel much more like a home. I hope that the school we create at the Paramount will be a home for both Theos and Theloniouses alike.

Ever since becoming a teacher, I have dreamt of one day assembling some of the best humans around and creating a school together. What once seemed like a pipe dream has become a reality as I was honored with the opportunity to become one of many that is creating the Paramount School of the Arts.

Although I joined the process after blueprints were created, I have still had the opportunity to help shape how the school will operate and what courses we offer.

We all know that a school is so much more than the physical space. That being said, the rooms are going to be pretty cool.


Since I arrived last July, I have had the privilege of meeting and interviewing countless community members to find out what Aurora wants this school to be. This process has been truly inspiring. Aurora is filled with incredible people and organizations doing impactful work. What I heard from you is that you want this school to be a place for everyone, a place for creativity and a place for growth.

When the school opens, I want you to walk in and know that it was designed with YOU – our future students – in mind.


Hopefully, this new institution will help you realize the power you already have inside and the importance of sharing your story with others.

The Paramount School of the Arts is a place for exploration, taking risks, challenging yourself and growing your mind, body and heart through the arts.


At this school, we will always see failure as an opportunity for growth and will support you as you discover your resilience. My hope is that within its walls you will always feel valued, respected and celebrated.

Dreaming this all up is the easy part. Today, we work diligently to ensure your experience with the school will be as described above. You are the most important part of our school, and we can’t wait to have you join us! Who knows, it might just inspire a Theo to become a Thelonious!

Make sure you introduce yourself next time you see me at the Paramount or around downtown Aurora. I want to hear how Paramount School of the Arts can benefit YOU.