Contact Us

The new Paramount School of the Arts will open June 1, 2019. In the meantime, 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.

Andrea Pikscher

Programs Manager

Andrea Pikscher is thrilled to be a part of Paramount School of the Arts. As Programs Manager for Paramount Theatre and Paramount School of the Arts, Andrea truly enjoys getting to combine her love of the arts and community.

A graduate of Millikin University, Andrea’s career started with her as a performer in Chicago and throughout the United States. She then entered the start-up world with her own company focused on artists and brining more people to the arts. She has also had the pleasure of teaching the arts to students of many different ages, and is now excited to transition to focusing on how to bring the arts to the community with which she lives in.

 

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!

Penelope Torres

School Experience Coordinator

Penelope is joyful to join the team at the Paramount School of the Arts!  Most recently she was at Broadway in Chicago and The Comedy Shrine, and is experienced in theater operations. She is a working artist with her roots in photojournalism, fine art photography and portrait photography. Additionally, with a passion for performance she is a graduate from “the Acting Lab” at Second City’s Training Center.

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Teaching Artists

Teaching Artists

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 be starting this new 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 arts & crafts with her 10 year old, baking with her 4 year old, and dancing with her 2 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.

Missy Wise

Masterclass Guest Instructor

Missy Wise is a Louisiana native singer/songwriter/actor/educator. In recent years, she has won two esteemed Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work on stage in Kokandy’s Bonnie & Clyde and Boho Theatre’s Bright Star. Missy has also won national voice awards such as First Place in the National Musical Theater Competition and a Bronze Medalist of the American Traditions Competition. Missy has two self-written albums available for streaming, one of which topped out at number 12 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts.​

Missy holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance & has been teaching voice for over 10 years. She was mentored by Davin Youngs and has her certification in Level 1 Somatic Voice Work LoVetri Method.​  When not on stage, you can find Missy teaching voice in her own Chicago-based voice studio, Sunburst Vocal Studio.​

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.

 

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.

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.

Kali Libby

Teaching Artist/Dance

Kali is a Chicago based dancer who is so excited to join Paramount School of the Arts family! Kali has performed in over 30 productions in the Chicagoland area as well as several dance films. She studied at  Columbia College in Chicago, and Northern Illinois University where she majored in Dance Production and Performance. She has had extensive training in Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Partnering, Ballroom, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Musical Theater. Kali’s also had the privilege to choreograph several productions with Christian Youth Theater, and College of DuPage.  Her works included Beauty and the Beast, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Aside from choreographing, Kali has been involved in award-winning choreographic works with Szabo Productions, College Theater Productions Grease, the Musical (Marty, Dance Cap.) and Addams Family (Dance Cap.), and was company member in The Kate Jablonski Statement.

 

Jason Pikscher

Teaching Artist /Technical Theater

Jason Pikscher is the Technical Director for Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series. Jason’s fabrications have been seen across the country including work for Houston Grand Opera, The Kennedy Center, Florida Grand Opera, Ford’s Theatre and Michigan Opera Theatre.  Corporate displays: TLC, Animal Planet, Walgreens and Microsoft.

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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