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East High Drama
"...it's more than theatre. It's a family!"
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MELISSA BLEDSOE FISCHER - CHOIR - Fine Arts Department Chair
Melissa, aka “The Jazzmom” was born and raised in Anchorage. In 1985 she earned a B.A. in piano performance from Linfield College, and later an M.A.T. from University of Alaska-Anchorage. She has been an Anchorage diva, performing blues, rock and 10115_124134_10.pngjazz in Anchorage since the 80ís.  She's the proud mother of 4 children and has recorded and released 5 CDs.  In 2009 she was voted “Best Solo Performer” by the Anchorage Press. Five years ago, Melissa accepted the position of choir director at East High School, the biggest (and best!) high school in the state of Alaska. “Go Thunderbirds!” There she teaches 5 sections of choir including her small and very elite group, “The East High School Swing/Jazz Choir”.



JILL BESS NEIMEYER - THEATRE
In addition to teaching drama at East since 2007 years, Jill is an actress, director and award-winning playwright. Her stage and film 10115_124754_19.pngwork include drama, comedy, musical theatre, children's theatre, light opera and comedic and dramatic improvisation. She has directed, written, or acted for just about every theatre company in Anchorage and has toured with her Nationally award winning original one-woman show THE MOMMY DANCE throughout Alaska, the lower 48 and Canada. In addition to receiving her BA in Drama from the University of California, Irvine, Jill recently completed her certification for teaching the Meisner method of acting, studying with Master Teacher Larry Silverberg. Jill was recently awarded a grant from the Alaska State Council on the arts to complete a summer playwriting workshop with Young Playwrights Inc, in NYC. Jill is delighted to be a part of East High's Fine Arts Department!
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ARIEL GRAHAM - DANCE
Ariel is an East High alum and a product of the Dance Contempo program. She studied dance as an undergraduate at Dickinson College, and completed her masters in secondary education through the University of Alaska Southeast. In addition to working with students at East High School and directing Dance Contempo, Ariel is a currently one of the directors of Momentum Dance Collective in Anchorage, AK.  She has worked with numerous local performance and dance groups as an instructor and choreographer including Alaska Dance Theatre, Alaska Theatre of Youth, and an Artist in Residence at elementary schools.  She is looking forward to continued artistic adventures with the fine arts team at East High School!


KIEL SCHWEIZER - GUITAR & UKULELE
Kiel Schweizer has BA in Music as well as a MA in Teaching from UAA. Since 2005 he has worked as adjunct instructor for UAA; teaching Fingerstyle Guitar classes, Guitar Chord Theory, Practical Theory, Beginning/Intermediate Ukulele classes, and Private Guitar Instruction. He has also been called upon to adjudicate state and local guitar competitions. Kiel is currently running the East High Guitar Program for the Anchorage School District and recently created and implemented a new high school ukulele curriculum. His high school ukulele ensemble has been featured several times in local news and they continue to spread the aloha spirit wherever they perform. In addition to teaching, Kiel often performs as a solo artist and as part of the Borealis Guitar Quartet.
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SIOBHAN O'HARA
Siobhan is very happy and proud to be a member of the East High Arts Staff and work with the students of East High. She has taught at East for nine years, and looks forward every year to working with new and continued students. Siobhan practices art and is currently showing locally and working with different businesses for her painting. She enjoys traveling and learning. She loves giving students a creative space to explore the arts, practice creativity, and make connections.


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LIZ GAILEY - ART
Liz’s passion for art started as a child with drawing at every opportunity. After graduating from East High School, she majored in Art Education at Rowan University and continued to foster her inner artist through all mediums. Liz’s eclectic interests in all types of mediums have given her the opportunity to teach pottery, drawing, jewelry and painting. As a new member to the East High School’s Fine Arts department, Liz is looking forward to helping her students grow as artists as she refocuses on her passion that started at such a young age.

TEVYA ROBBINS - BAND
Tevya Robbins received his B.A. in Music Education, and in Political Science from Humboldt State University. He earned his M.M. in Instrumental Conducting from Portland State University.  In the state of Oregon Mr. Robbins conducted the Beaverton Community Band, and the Portland State University Wind Ensemble. Mr. Robbins is currently the Band Director at East Anchorage High School where he has brought new energy and participation
from our students in our school band at assemblies and football and basketball games.  He has a deep love of music
and loves being involved in the education of young people here at East High School.
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