Meet Our Team

Staff Members

Kelli Maldonado

Ms. Maldonado is the Director of Education & Community Engagement at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. She holds an MA in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York and BFA in Theatre from Pace University and has previously worked in the Education Departments of Asolo Repertory and Manhattan Theatre Club. Kelli was the 2018 Nancy Roucher Arts Education Leadership award winner through the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, and has presented on arts integration on both locally and nationally. She is currently serving on the advisory committees for the John F. Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program and the Sarasota Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

Margaret Lindsey

Margaret Lindsey is currently working as an Education Associate at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  Margaret has been involved in the education field for 25+ years.  Throughout her career, she has worked as an accounting clerk for Velma Butler Accounting Firm, administrative assistant for six Deans as well as the registrar at Taylor Business Institute, and an assistant to the Director of Student Services at Everglades University. After relocating from Chicago to Sarasota, Margaret decided to continue her education and received a BA in Management and an MA in Business Administration from Everglades University.

Mia Strickland

Mia Strickland is the Arts Integration and Education Associate at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. She is a UCF graduate with experience working in a variety of capacities at organizations such as the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando Repertory Theatre, and Ruth Eckerd Hall. She is currently working towards her MA in Arts Administration and is serving as a Student Representative on the Advisory Council for the Arts Education Partnership.

Teaching Artists

Laura Courter

Laura Courter has been involved in Educational Children’s Theater for over 25 years.  Her degrees in Theatre Arts and English Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have led her to develop innovative educational programming and design arts-based curricula throughout her career.  Laura has received professional development training and has worked as a Teaching Artist over multiple years and across several states, including working at: the Kennedy Center, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte, North Carolina’s ArtStart Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Fulton County Arts Council in Atlanta, GA, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Children’s First in Sarasota, the Venice Theatre, and the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County.  Laura has enjoyed time as the Managing Director of StageWorks Theatre, an educational touring theatre that traveled in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia and has been the Education Coordinator for the Players Theatre.  She currently is a Teaching Artist for multiple Sarasota area arts and cultural venues, including the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.   

Connie Cuadrado

Connie Cuadrado is a Visual Artist and bilingual Museum Educator.  She is currently working in Sarasota, FL as a Teaching Artist for the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  She has created arts-based educational content and taught in Boston, MA – at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Harvard Art Museums; in Spain – at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum; and in Columbia – at the Museum of Modern Art and National Museum.



Stevey Jones

Stevey Jones is a Sarasota-based teaching artist who meditates daily and is certified in Mindfulness. A former award-winning journalist and local substitute teacher, Stevey hosts “Mr. Stevey Meditates,” an educational channel on YouTube that explores mindfulness techniques and technology.  



Deb Lombard

Deb Lombard holds a Bachelor’s in Dance Education from the State University of New York and recently obtained a Master’s in Arts Management.  She has trained with the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts, is certified in K-12 Dance, Physical Education, Health, and Creative Dramatics/Creative Learning (2008).  Her career began at Syracuse University, where she taught dance and movement for actors at the College of Visual and Performing Arts.  After several years in New York, Deb relocated to Sarasota, FL and has been bringing arts integration and dance programs into Sarasota County Schools ever since.  On the Suncoast, she spent eight years at Gocio Elementary teaching dance, and helped develop their comprehensive art program that was awarded National School of Distinction in Arts Education and Arts Achieve Model School recognition in 2008.  Deb is currently the Arts Education Director for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and works as a Teaching Artist and arts Integration specialist for the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, The Sarasota Ballet, and many other Sarasota area arts and cultural organizations.

Katelyn McKelley

Katelyn McKelley is an Idaho native, and honors graduate of Idaho State University’s Theatre program, with her emphasis in acting and directing.  Katelyn spent several years performing in a variety of different school tours through numerous regional theatres and completed two years as an acting apprentice at the Florida Studio Theatre, where she discovered her love of teaching within the arts.  Her teaching career has included working in the Tampa Bay Area as an independent contractor for a variety of theatres, foundations, and schools.  Her classes are based in acting skills including movement and voice, emotional intelligence, and visual arts for children, teens, and adults. 


Maria Schaedler-Luera

Maria Schaedler-Luera is a Brazilian-born educator and artist with extensive work experience and knowledge in theater, music, arts and literacy, and cross-cultural engagement.  Maria studied with theater director Augusto Boal and taught classes and workshops that focus on Theatre of the Oppressed techniques for the American Repertory Theater, Harvard Extension School, Lesley University, and several other non-profits in Boston, MA and Sarasota, FL.  She worked at the Harvard Art Museums developing, coordinating, and teaching gallery classes to immigrants in English, Portuguese, and Spanish and at the Community Art Center in Cambridge, MA leading the Community Programs and Public Art Initiatives.  Maria has served as the Manager for Arts Integration for Any Given Child Sarasota at Sarasota County Schools.  She is a Chopra Center Certified Primordial Sound Meditation teacher, a Reiki Master, and an Ayurveda Health Counselor.


Kathryn Sjogren

Kat Sjogren is a Visual Artist, community-based Teaching Artist, Project Manager, and mixed media Expressive Artist.  She has designed and implemented numerous arts-based programs for children and adults.  Kat specializes her focus on those who have disabilities, life threatening illness, and are homeless or in transition.  She’s also adept at coaching professional development in the arts and training staff and educators in arts integration skills and various arts-based learning techniques.  She has an extensive background of collaboration with federal, state, county, and non-profit organizations to plan, fund, and implement art programs.

Freda Williams

Freda Williams is a Teaching Artist with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall specializing in arts integration for the past five years. She is a Ringling College Alumni in the area of Fine Arts and Interior Space Planning. Freda utilizes her training to practice, design lessons, and lead workshops for elementary aged gifted students throughout the local school districts. This includes leading a well-known after-school Elementary Drama gifted program. Freda also teaches arts integrated activities to Summer Learning Academy students in Sarasota and helps lead Family Literacy Nights at Title 1 schools focused on drama and visual arts. She has previously won the Florida Reading Association Teacher of the Year for the State of Florida.