Contact Us

Please feel free to reach out to school staff with questions and feedback.

Address: 20 S Stolp Ave, Aurora IL 60506
Phone: 630-896-6810
Email: school@paramountarts.com

Employment Opportunities

CONTACT US

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School Staff

School Administration Staff

Paul-Jordan Jansen

Musical Theatre Administrator

Paul-Jordan Jansen serves as the Musical Theatre Administrator for PSA, as well as Associate Artistic Producer for Paramount Theatre. Jordan has been performing on stages across the world for over a decade. Aside from his career performing, Jordan has spent equal time becoming an educator. When he was 19, Jordan developed a program in North East, Ohio that focused on preparing students for their collegiate theatre auditions. Since then, he has worked at various different universities on Song Analysis while continuing to prepare students for their journey to the collegiate and professional world of theatre.

 

Jessica M. Duplessis

Director of Education and Community Engagement

Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre, Dance, and Film Education (TADF) with a specialization in theater and dance education from Keene State College (Keene NH). Jessica previously served as the education manager upon the opening of PSA and has enjoyed the opportunity to be a hands on participant in the growth and development of the school. Jessica is an accomplished dance and theater educator as well as choreographer. Jessica is committed to the continued growth of Paramount School of the Arts, its programs and the school and theater’s connection to the beautiful Aurora community.

Liz Hilsabeck

School Manager

Liz is so excited to be a part of the Paramount School of the Arts!  She began teaching dance and musical theatre after earning her BA in Theatre from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and has taught and directed at several different schools throughout the Chicagoland area.

Chelsea King

Education Partnerships Manager

Chelsea King is so excited to join the team Paramount School of the Arts. She earned her BM in Musical Education from Millikin University and has worked as a high school choir director at various public schools in the Aurora area for the past seven years. She is excited to bring her classroom experience and love of the arts to her new role!

Josely Hernandez

School Experience Coordinator

Josely is elated to be joining Team Education here at the Paramount School of the Arts! Combining her two greatest loves- the Paramount and kids- she can’t wait to work alongside this amazing team of teachers and staff to continue bringing the arts to Aurora

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Teaching Artists

Teaching Artists

Harriet Plumpp

Harriet Nzinga Plumpp is a Chicago native and has been a working actor for over 2 decades.  Her roots began as a singer in Chicago Children’s Choir and her love for the performing arts grew from there.  She graduated from Depauw University, in Greencastle, IN, with a degree in Vocal Performance. Harriet toured the Middle East and North Africa performing as a cast member of Side by Side by Sondheim with Chicago’s Pegasus Players Theatre.  She has performed various roles in shows at Court Theatre, The Goodman, John F. Kennedy Center, The Lyric Opera and the Paramount Theatre, to name a few. Harriet also enjoys teaching and sharing her knowledge of music and theater. She is honored to be a teaching artist at Paramount School of the Arts.

Azizi Marshall

Panelist

Azizi Marshall is the Founder & CEO of the Center for Creative Arts Therapy, an arts-based psychotherapy practice and training center in Chicago. She also is owner of Creative Clinical Consulting, LLC, which has launched such programs and companies as Arts Playschool, Artful Wellness and the Therapeutic Performance Initiative model.

 

Azizi is delightfully changing the way the world views mental health. She speaks on stages around the world and mentors scores of ambitious people each year to seek and live life on their own terms. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and accomplished entrepreneur, cultivating a lifestyle of freedom and wellness is her religion.

Jamie Kruse

Panelist

Jamie Kruse, CEO and Psychotherapist at JKruse Therapy Services, LLC. She
is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified EMDR Therapist. She has been in the field for
over 14 years. She has worked with a variety of ages of individuals who have faced a variety of
life challenges. From working with families with children with disabilities, an adoption reunion
worker, probation officer, respite worker for adults with disabilities, crisis worker, to therapist, she
has worn many hats. She is also a mother of two beautiful children, a wife, and mother of two
dogs!

Amy Jackson

Visiting Teaching Artist

Amy Jackson is founder and director of The Perch located in Aurora, Illinois. She is the author of Unhurried: A 52-Week Meditative Bible Reading Guide, an RYT-200 yoga teacher, and a certified Wellness and Social-Emotional Learning Facilitator. Jackson also holds an M.A. in Christian Formation and Ministry from Wheaton College. She spends time leading retreats, teaching about soul care, and training church leaders. She has served on staff at several churches and is a former small-group minister. She is passionate about helping people discover their calling and live out that calling in healthy, God-honoring ways.

 

The Perch helps exhausted people connect with God to rest, find peace, and experience transformation. We offer retreats, workshops, yoga classes, and resources to help with your soul care.

Silvia Montiel

Visiting Teaching Artist

Silvia has practiced yoga for over 11 years

and has taught yoga at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center.

Silvia teaches yoga in Spanish, but can switch to English

depending upon students’ preference.

Emily Spranger

Teaching Artist/Dance

Emily Spranger’s love for dance began at the age of 3, with Classical Ballet in Barrington, Illinois. She continued to explore movement forms such as; Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Pointe and many other genres. She has worked with many amazing teachers and choreographers from around the world. Emily completed a Bachelor of Business Management with a minor in Dance from Western Illinois University in 2007. Emily completed a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Arizona State University in 2011. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from her graduate degree. During her graduate experience she taught Jazz and Ballet to undergraduate students at ASU. She was awarded Special Talent Awards at ASU in 2010 and 2011. Her thesis work was about how the arts can bring awareness to the public about sustainability issues. The work, “Sustainable Place” was nominated to be performed at the American College Dance Festival at California State University. She has worked with countless professionals in the field of dance and takes away knowledge and growth from each of those experiences. Emily taught as an adjunct dance professor at Glendale Community College. At GCC she taught, Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Modern, and Dance Performance. While she was faculty at GCC she was awarded, Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award in 2016. Her choreography was also selected to be performed at the Beta Dance Festival in Phoenix, Arizona. Her most recent position before moving back to the midwest was as the Dance Director for the North Valley Arts Academy, a program offered to 5th-12th grade students in Phoenix, Arizona. During her experience with NVAA she was recognized by the United Parent Council as an outstanding teacher in the Paradise Valley School District. As Dance Director, she doubled the program and helped develop an internship component for the seniors in the program. She is passionate about dance education and is thrilled to come on board to the Paramount School for the Arts!

Jenna Gagliano

Teaching Artist/Dance

Jenna is very excited to continue her adventure with the Paramount School of the Arts! She has been dancing since she was a little girl and her passion continues to grow as she dances through adulthood. A graduate of Illinois State University, Jenna majored in theatre and has had the opportunity to work with students of all ages year after year. While at home, she enjoys bike rides with her 11 year old, baking with her 5 year old, and dancing with her 3 year old.

Michael Thoms

Teaching Artist/Private Voice

Michael Thoms, baritone, holds a MM degree in vocal performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and a BM degree in music education from Northern Illinois University. Michael has maintained a private voice lesson studio since 2003 teaching students from high school age through adult. His students have achieved distinction through placement in collegiate music performance, education, and theater programs across the country. Many of these students, as well as those not pursuing music-related degrees, have been awarded a variety of scholarships based on their musical skills.  High school students have regularly earned placements in the ILMEA district and state level ensembles, have been cast in shows and musicals, participate in solo/ensemble competitions, and participate in studio recitals.

Jessica M. Duplessis

Dance Teacher

Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre, Dance, and Film Education (TADF) with a specialization in theater and dance education from Keene State College (Keene NH). Jessica is an accomplished dance educator and is known for her contemporary lyrical, and musical theater choreography.  She is most proud of her ability to teach all styles of dance to all levels. Jessica truly believes that everyone is a dancer! Jessica also is the Artistic Director of PSA’s official dance company Paramount Dance Project (PDP) and enjoys providing an artistic home for dancers to grow into the young artists of tomorrow.

Will Skrip

Teaching Artist/Acting

Will Skrip (he/him) is a Chicago-based theatre artist and educator. Over the past decade, Will has performed throughout the Chicagoland area and beyond, most notably as Tony in West Side Story (Paramount Theatre), Henri Baurel in An American in Paris and Michael in Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Drury Lane Oakbrook) and Sam Wheat in Ghost (Peninsula Players). Additional credits include Lyric Opera of Chicago, Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writer’s Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Court Theatre and Porchlight. Will holds a Bachelors in Theatre from Northwestern University.

Annie Jo Fischer

Teaching Artist/Dance

Annie Jo is a Chicago-based performer, educator, and choreographer. She holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, has studied on scholarship with the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project of Chicago, and performed professionally at The Marriott, Drury Lane, Paramount, Ordway, and Fireside Theaters. Annie Jo has choreographed 100+ musicals on various Chicagoland stages, as well as taught various styles of dance at studios, schools, and in master class workshops, specializing in all levels of tap and musical theatre. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College teaching in the musical theatre program, as well as on staff at Synergy Dance Academy, and The Lincolnshire Academy of Dance, owned and operated by Brenda Didier.

Dyanna Daniels

Teaching Artist/Dance

Dyanna has had a wonderful career of performance, choreographing, teaching, and directing. Over the years, her choreography has been featured at World of Dance Chicago, Midwest Wizard World Conventions, Carnival Choreographer’s Ball Chicago, Prelude Midwest, Going Dutch, MotorCity Casino Detroit, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, and The Chicago Auto Show! Dyanna also had a long career of choreographing Flash Mobs where she received the opportunity to choreograph for Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition in 2013. She recently co-directed North Central College’s Spring Dance Show ‘Surrender’ and choreographed ‘Don’t Say Me’ for Aurora University’s Spring Musical ‘Fugitive Songs’.

Paul-Jordan Jansen

Musical Theatre Administrator

Paul-Jordan Jansen serves as the Musical Theatre Administrator for PSA, as well as Associate Artistic Producer for Paramount Theatre. Jordan has been performing on stages across the world for over a decade. Aside from his career performing, Jordan has spent equal time becoming an educator. When he was 19, Jordan developed a program in North East, Ohio that focused on preparing students for their collegiate theatre auditions. Since then, he has worked at various different universities on Song Analysis while continuing to prepare students for their journey to the collegiate and professional world of theatre.

 

Tommy Novak

Teaching Artist/Acting

Tommy Novak (they/them/their) is a non-binary, Chicago-based Equity actor, director, teaching artist and an adjunct professor of music theatre at Carthage College in Kenosha Wisconsin. In addition to being on faculty Tommy holds a Masters in Music and Music Theater Vocal Pedagogy from Carthage. Tommy has worked as an actor and director for both regional and international theater companies.

Sarafina Vecchio

Teaching Artist/Acting

Sarafina is a director, teacher, and Equity actor who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. At PSOA, she has been teaching acting and improv since Fall 2020 and is now the administrator of The Acting Institute. She holds a post graduate award in Teaching Shakespeare from U of Warwick in Coventry England, in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In addition to appearing on numerous area stages, national and regional commercials, TV shows, films, and magazines, she is a member of the faculty at Acting Studio Chicago, and has also been honored to be a guest artist at Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada.

Liz Hilsabeck

School Manager

Liz is so excited to be a part of the Paramount School of the Arts!  She began teaching dance and musical theatre after earning her BA in Theatre from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and has taught and directed at several different schools throughout the Chicagoland area.

Chelsea King

Education Partnerships Manager

Chelsea King is so excited to join the team Paramount School of the Arts. She earned her BM in Musical Education from Millikin University and has worked as a high school choir director at various public schools in the Aurora area for the past seven years. She is excited to bring her classroom experience and love of the arts to her new role!

Jenny Showalter

Teaching Artist/Dance

Jenny Showalter is a dance educator and choreographer whose work has been performed in Sweden, France, and various locations nationwide.  She has served as a full time or adjunct faculty member at 8 universities and been a guest artist for over 15 college and high school programs. She is Artistic Co-Director of Treeline Dance Works, based in NYC, and continues to dance on a project basis with the Bill Evans Dance Company.  Her love for dance pairs with her love of fitness and wellness, specializing in training and injury prevention. Showalter holds an MFA in Dance from The College at Brockport and a BS in Exercise Science from Western Illinois University. She is a certified Pilates instructor, personal trainer and Registered Somatic Movement Therapist.

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ACCA Board & City of Aurora

AURORA CIVIC CENTER AUTHORITY BOARD

Aurora Civic Center Authority is the owner and operator of Paramount School of the Arts.

Chairman
Jonathan Hylton

Vice Chairman
Gina Moga

Treasurer
John Savage

Secretary
Mike Baum

Members
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Hon. R. Peter Grometer, Cynthia Latimer, Christine Goerlich Weber

Legal Counsel
Bruce Goldsmith

CITY OF AURORA

Paramount programming is partially funded by the City of Aurora.

MAYOR
Richard C. Irvin

ALDERMEN
1st Ward Kristina “Tina” Bohman
2nd Ward Juany Garza
3rd Ward Ted Mesiacos
4th Ward Bill Donnell
5th Ward Carl Franco
6th Ward Michael B. Saville
7th Ward Scheketa Hart-Burns
8th Ward Richard B. “Rick” Mervine
9th Ward Edward Bugg
10th Ward Judd Lofchie
At Large Robert J. O’Connor

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