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Community School of the Arts Instructors

Amalia Wills
Amalia Wills | BFA in Studio Art | Teaches Beginning Ceramics
"I took my first ceramics class at Austin Peay in 2017 and fell in love with it. I enjoy the tactility and responsiveness of clay, and the gratification of watching a form change on the wheel."
Eboné Amos
Eboné Amos | MFA in Dance: Performance and Choreography, Florida State University | Teaches Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz
"As an instructor, I am interested in individuality. My primary goal as an instructor is to cultivate an environment where my students can find validity in their dance abilities through exploration and self-discovery."
Dillon Ward
Dillon Ward | Professional Filmmaker | Teaches The Short Film
"I was first introduced to filmmaking the summer before 5th grade when I took a stop motion animation class. The camera we used took floppy disks, and I can still remember the stacks and stacks of floppy disks everyone had next to their computer while editing."
Karen Orozco
Karen Orozco | BFA | Teaches Digital Photography
"The hardest part of being an artist is learning how to accept mistakes you make and develop from them. Staying motivated and on task is also hard; especially with all the demands of deadlines, school, work, and family."
Mary Biggers
Mary Biggers | Knitting Extraordinaire | Teaches Beginning Knitting
"Knitting in a group has always been a joyful experience, people doing what I love and teaching each other different ways of doing or looking at projects."
Jonathan Wheeler
Jonathan Wheeler | BS | Teaches Photography
"I think I realized that I had the passion of an artist when I would spend extensive hours in the darkroom developing my film or printing photos and it was the only thing I could think about constantly."
Shana Thornton
Shana Thornton | Writer and Owner of Thorncraft Publishing | Teaches Creative Writing Basics, Creative Writing for Military and Families and Fiction Writing
"Both reading and writing have always been a big part of my life and my routines. Writing is a practice, and many parts of it become better with time and effort."
Rachel Qualls
Rachel Qualls | BFA | Teaches Art for Children and Art for Teens
"My mom always encouraged me and my brother to draw and make things, so I think I knew I was an artist from the time I was very young. Middle school is when I knew I wanted to be an art teacher."


Tim Pafford
Tim Pafford | Professional Artist | Teaches Drawing and Mixed Media Painting
"I started drawing cartoons about age 5 and loved it. I especially love to work with mixed media. I specialize in watercolor, oils and pencil."
Mikhaila Ferguson
Mikhaila Ferguson | Current APSU Dance Student | Teaches Creative Movement
"I knew I was a dancer because at one point in my life, I was not dancing and I knew that I was missing something that was really important to me."
Joanna Grisham
Joanna Grisham | MFA | Teaches Creative Writing
"From my earliest memories, I was always creating characters and building worlds, but I didn’t know much about creative writing until I took an intro class in college. The first short story I ever wrote was in that intro class. My professor submitted it for a scholarship, and I won. I was shocked. I didn’t know anyone would care about anything I’d written. I had only ever written for myself."
Ayo Walker
Dr. Ayo Walker | PhD | Teaches Hip Hop Dance
"My older sister was a cheerleader and because I was her shadow and wanted to do everything she did, she would teach me all the latest dance steps and whatever cheers she would learn in practice. And when her team would come to our house and see me doing all their moves perfectly, they decided to make me their mascot/secret weapon at their cheerleading competetions. It worked! I would wait around the entire competition for them to put me on the floor for their final competitve routine and I would steal the show and we would win every time."
Astyr Minic
Astyr Minic | MFA | Teaches Painting
"It became clear to me that being an artist was my only option when I realized I couldn’t stop making things even when I tried."
Jessica Fife
Jessica Fife | MFA | Teaches Youth Pet Portraits
"I have always loved to draw. I would doodle on all my class papers from a very early age. My parents always encouraged it and I would take art classes outside of school. It wasn't until my first undergraduate Painting class that it sparked my passion. "