Jennifer Katona, Ph.D. Open a New Window Weaving Arts Education in Today’s Classrooms

How do I make sure every kid gets that kind of emotional connection to their education? The Arts are how you do that. I am passionate about working with schools and spreading the word on how powerful and impactful learning through the arts can be. I have seen schools transform time and time again, and I want to help all schools find this success.

QUESTION: Comment on how an arts-inclusive education impacted your life?

Dr. Jennifer Katona, President and Founder 3 Looms Creative Education Consulting is currently the Visual and Performing Arts Sr. Manager for the Norwalk Public Schools is the former Director and Founder of the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at the City College of New York (CCNY), where she oversaw the certification of pre and in-service Theatre teachers and training of non-certified theatre educators.

Through her work at CCNY Jennifer created and oversaw the middle school afterschool drama program at PS 161 the neighboring K-8 school in Harlem. Another hallmark of the CCNY Educational Theatre program was the partnership with Roundabout Theatre Company and Teaching Technical Theatre course which was taught in the off-Broadway studios of Roundabout Theatre Education. Additionally, under her leadership CCNY Educational Theatre Program partnered with the Arthur Miller Foundation to create the scholar’s program to help support the preparation of more arts teachers for the New York City public school system. Jennifer has served as mentors for Fulbright scholars through her work at CCNY.

The name 3 Looms is homage to the influential work that started my journey into education over twenty years ago.

My first taste of how to liberate a classroom came from watching Dorothy Heathcote’s documentary, 3 Looms in Waiting. Dorothy famously would walk into a classroom and ask students, “What shall we do a play about today?”

Now while I recognize we cannot walk into a class and ask students what they want to learn, I strive to create environments that take us as close to learner-centered as possible. As close to allowing students to say, “This is what I would like to learn about today…”

Jennifer served as the Arts Education consultant for Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut and has served as a curriculum consultant for Disney Theatrical Education, Broadway’s Come From Away,  created study guides for Broadway’s Once on this Island Revival, and facilitated workshops on curriculum mapping for the Arthur Miller Foundation Fellows,  New York City Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects as well as facilitated webinars on the same topics for teachers nationwide through AATE where she currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors and has previously served as Director of Regional Programming –overseeing Theatre In Our Schools initiatives.  As Board Chair Jennifer serves as representative to National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) which is a partnership of organizations and states leading the development of new core arts standards for the United States.

Prior to coming to CCNY Jennifer taught middle school theatre in Brooklyn and worked as Teaching Artist for numerous cultural organizations throughout the Tri-State area most notably New Victory Theatre, Arts Connection, NorthShore Music Theatre and Starlight Youth Productions.  She has an extensive performance, directing, choreography resume and extensive experience in technical theatre and stage management.

Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education: Arts Policy and her current research explores Factors Which Influence the Decision of a School Leader to Maintain or Eliminate Arts Programming in their School and building sustainable arts programming in urban schools.Jennifer has spoken and presented on this topic at many conferences across the country. As well as worked closely with Americans for the Arts on arts advocacy related matters.

Twitter @profkatona

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