New at BISFA: Four Instructors + Two Disciplines
By Kelsi Maddock, BISFA Class of 2017 and 2020 Foundation Summer Intern
Barbara Ingram School for the Arts welcomes two new art disciplines and lead instructors from Washington County Technical High School.
Kristen Green, lead digital communications instructor, and Keon Billings, lead computer game design and animation teacher, will be teaching their classes in the newly built Vincent Rauth Groh Academic Center.
Green discovered her passion for photography when she took an art class in high school. After accompanying her sister, who majored in photography, around on excursions and taking a photography class herself, Green bought her own camera.
“I fell in love with the camera and the whole darkroom process,” she said. “I knew photography was something I loved and I wanted to pursue it as a career.”
The Digital Communications department will share her love for photographs, and also transcribe it into cinematography.
“Students study the foundations of art and creativity, the operation of equipment and programs appropriate to the field, artistic message and communication, project and idea development as well as career skills.”
Green hopes to add to the existing culture of “positive, creative and fun energy” at Barbara Ingram.
Billings hopes to bring balance to the school, “which is the technical side of the arts.”
He has always been a student of the arts, having attended a technical high school, but he started professionally in his field during 1999 while working for a company down in Arlington, Va. He has been teaching this curriculum for six years.
“I’m introducing students to high-tech things, and we have no shortage of technology,” said Billings.
Students in the Computer Game Design & Animation major shouldn’t expect to make the Moana sequel, Billings joked, but the students will realize that coding is everywhere in our lives, from CGI in films to the whole of the internet. Billings promises that the class is delivered at the highest possible level but is still obtainable.
Both art teachers hope to collaborate with the existing majors.
When BISFA opened in 2009, there were five majors: Dance, Instrumental Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Vocal Music. Two years later, Creative Writing (known then as “Literary Arts”) was added to the school. The two new arts bring the total number of disciplines to eight, and further advance the growing arts culture in downtown Hagerstown.
BISFA will also welcome two new academic instructors for the 2020-2021 school year: Julia Reed-Young and Steffani Hoffman.
The English Department welcomes Secondary English Teacher Julia Reed-Young to the Barbara Ingram family. Excited to be at her dream teaching job, Julia comes to us from Hancock High School, where she’s been teaching secondary English since 2003. She dabbles in theatre, earned her minor in the art at the University of Pittsburgh, and her daughter, Anna, will be attending the Western Heights magnet program for music. Julia is most looking forward to “being around creative people who appreciate thinking outside of the box when it comes to learning.” She would tell her high school self to, “Keep marching to your own beat.”
The Mathematics Department welcomes their third math teacher, Stephani Hoffman to the Barbara Ingram family. Stephani comes to us from South Hagerstown High School, where she’s been teaching the last six years after four years in Frederick County. In addition to being a High School District Mathematics Lead Teacher for WCPS, she expresses her love for music by playing the flute and attending performances by her students. Stephani hopes to integrate the arts into mathematics to “help students to see the connections that can be made between the two” and “ultimately…give [her] students the tools they need to pursue their passions.” The advice she would give to her high school self would be, “to not be afraid of chasing your passion. It takes hard work and patience, but [it] is so worth it in the end.”