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Maddie Penwell will work with MCS on classroom arts integration

Maddie Penwell of the Renaissance Theatre and Phil Mitchell of Mansfield City Schools look over plans for the free arts in education workshop for teachers on Oct. 22.

      Mansfield City Schools, Renaissance Performing Arts and the Mansfield Art Center are in their eighth year of the Partners in Education program of the J. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

      Maddie Penwell is the Renaissance Theatre’s new point person for working with Mansfield City Schools to integrate the arts into the teaching of academic core subjects. She joined the theater staff in July as director of education, community engagement and symphony operations.

      “My husband is a teacher. I have always had a passion for education,” said Penwell, who earned a degree in musical theater at Ashland University. “I believe that the arts can expand the reach of teaching to many students while meeting Ohio’s learning standards. I’m looking to involve and engage more teachers into arts integration.”

      Penwell succeeds Chelsie Thompson, who was promoted to Renaissance president. Like Thompson, she believes that the arts – music, dance, puppetry, drawing, storytelling and other mediums – can successfully supplement classroom instruction.

      Part of Penwell’s duties will be to schedule teaching artists for workshops at the Renaissance. The next workshop will be Oct. 22 when Imani Gonzalez, a renowned professional jazz vocalist from Washington, D.C., will lead a presentation titled “Building Reading Comprehension Through Sound and Rhythm.” The free 4:30 to 7:30 program, which includes dinner, is open to all area teachers. 

      Some teaching artists, like Gonzalez, are scheduled through the Kennedy Center. There are also several certified local teaching artists and more on the way.

      “I have a group of about 12 local artists looking to become teaching artists,” Penwell said.

      Phil Mitchell is Mansfield City Schools’ representative on the Mansfield Partners in Education team.

      “These teaching artist workshops have been presented at the Renaissance for several years. We want to spread the word about their value to teachers,” Mitchell said. “The workshops are free. All teachers have to do is register.”

      Registration for the Oct. 22 workshop is available online at www.SoundReading.eventbrite.com. For more information contact the Renaissance Education Department at 419-522-2726, ext. 251 or email maddie@mansfieldtickets.com.

      Before joining the Renaissance, Penwell worked at Ohio Mutual Insurance Group (OMIG) in Bucyrus, first as help desk support before moving into management. Her final position was manager of mail and document processing, a responsibility, she said, that “required me to be sure that all policies and procedures were in place.”

      “I appreciate the time I spent at OMIG because it gave me a solid foundation in business professionalism that I have brought to my role at the Renaissance,” Penwell said.

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