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Ross Anderson, Project Director & Principal Investigator

Ross is Senior Lead Researcher at Inflexion and Ph.D. candidate in Education Leadership at the University of Oregon. Before entering the field of education, Ross studied architecture at Yale University. He designed and built sculptural architectural projects, working with playful innovators, like Tom Luckey. Ross brings nine years of professional experience in education innovation, first serving as the Director of Strategic Initiatives in Norwich, Connecticut. Throughout his work in Connecticut and Oregon, Ross has been responsible for designing and leading over $9 million of grant-funded work to enhance the learning experiences of youth in diverse communities. He works collaboratively to design, implement, and research creative solutions to boost engagement of community members, educators, and students in deeper learning. Ross’s work aims to promote new understanding about the role that skills, like creativity, can play in future conceptions of educational policy and practice. In his free time, Ross enjoys playing the Afro-Brazilian martial art and dance form, Capoeira, and adventuring across Oregon with his family. Check out Ross' current curriculum vitae and contact Ross at ross_anderson@epiconline.org for more information.


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Liora Sponko, Program Manager

Liora Sponko was named Executive Director of Lane Arts Council in March 2011 and comes to the Council with several years experience in nonprofit administration. She is a founding member of ArtCore. Locally, Liora worked for the Community Center for the Performing Arts/WOW Hall, Centro LatinoAmericano, Womenspace, and the University of Oregon. She also lived and worked for community-based organizations in Costa Rica for three years. Liora earned a BA in Sociology and Spanish from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MA in International Peace and Development Studies while living in Spain. Liora is passionate about the arts and strongly believes in its ability to impact us on an individual and community level.


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Whitney McKinley, Program Coordinator

Whitney McKinley has multiple years experience providing quality instruction to students as well as professional development to adults. She joined the Springfield Public School District in August 2010 as the principal for Elizabeth Page Elementary School, and now serves as the K-12 Curriculum Coordinator. She began her career in education in El Paso, TX in 1997 and continued to work in education after she relocated to Oregon. Whitney earned a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at El Paso, and an MEd/IAL from the University of Oregon. Whitney is thrilled to support ArtCore and believes arts integration across all content areas will provide teachers and students the ability to create, imagine and problem solve in ways that will have a powerful impact on student engagement and excitement about learning.


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Rachael Carnes, Project Coordinator

Rachael Carnes has spent 20+ years investing in arts integration. As founder of Sparkplug Dance, an educational arts nonprofit, Rachael synthesized current brain research with methods of concept-based creative movement, and brought her unique program to thousands of school children. In addition to serving as the Program Coordinator for ArtCore, she collaborates with the University of Oregon’s Early Childhood CARES program to providing ongoing therapeutic dance classes to preschoolers living with multiple disabilities. With a B.A. from Reed College, and a certification in Dance Movement Therapy from the New School in New York City, Carnes is recognized as an international leader in the field of inclusive education, teaching workshops in The Hague, Istanbul and across the U.S., including the Kennedy Center’s annual Arts for Learning Institute. As a professional writer and editor, Carnes regularly contributes to publications throughout the Northwest.


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Katie Schuessler, Artist Weaver

Katie Schuessler is passionate about the arts as a vital component of teaching and learning, and is excited to join the ArtCore team for the 2017-2018 school year. As an educator, Katie encourages students to honor their full creative expression while exploring a wide variety of materials, concepts, and content areas. Previously, she taught art at a private school in the West Bank, as well as in American public schools and a local nonprofit arts organization. Katie earned a Master in Teaching with an emphasis in Visual Art from the Evergreen State College, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona. She loves to paint, make photos, and explore new mediums. Outside of teaching and making art, Katie enjoys writing and yoga. 


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Nathan Beard, Artist Weaver

Nate Beard is a writer, maker, & actor who has championed art-based youth empowerment for over a decade in Oregon. As an ArtCore Weaver, he spends his time co-creating possibility, meaning, and curiosity with our youth at Hamlin Middle School in Springfield. He was recently the lead Drama Facilitator for the Courageous Kids grief program at PeaceHealth. He has taught at various performing-arts camps in Oregon including five years at "Imagine That!" summer camp. His approach is multidimensional, often blending improv theater, poetry and visual art into one project, creating links 
between art mediums to foster a dynamic creative mind. When he's not teaching, he's making art, admiring nature, or collaborating with a sketch-comedy team based in Portland.


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Jessica Land, Artist Weaver

As an educator, Jessica Land believes in facilitating students’ learning by supporting their unique learning processes and styles. Jessica’s experience teaching in alternative & traditional public school settings, combined with a background in outdoor and art education, has heightened her sensitivity to the unique needs, interests, and passions of each person. She earned her M.A. in Experiential Education at Prescott College in Prescott, AZ and her B.A., Magna Cum Laude in English/Writing and Fine Arts, St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.


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Mari Livie, Artist Weaver

Mari Livie is wild about creating. Mari received her degree in Ceramics and Environmental Studies at University of Oregon. In 2009 Mari receive the Ina Stentiford Memorial Scholarship for art quilting. Mari exhibits her work regularly in the Eugene, Portland, and Bend. Mari has been teaching in schools and community organizations throughout her career including in school residencies and after school programs through Lane Arts Council and art workshops for youth and adults and directed projects with the Bridgeway House, M.E.C.C.A., Peace Village, Network Charter School, Looking Glass, Imagine That, and others.


Michele Haney, Artist Weaver

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Michele Sinclair is passionate about providing engaging arts opportunities to local youth. With experience teaching in museums, local non-profit organizations, through short residencies in schools, after school classes and summer camps, she enjoys weaving art into many content areas while supporting the individual interests of students. Michele also contributes substantially to the research and evaluation efforts in the project. She earned her M.A in Arts Management with an emphasis in Community Arts and her B.A in Studio Art from the University of Oregon.