Founding Artistic Director
Our Staff is always comprised of the most talented, fun, and value driven teaching artists.
When Jackie was about eight years old, she asked her mom to help her make a piglet hand puppet on the sewing machine for her little sister. Thus began her love of sewing. In addition to her mom's help, she took sewing classes during elementary, middle, and high school. She worked as a teacher's aide in the high school sewing class and enjoyed working at a fabric store. Jackie sewed whenever she had time during college and her nursing career, where she sometimes made pajamas for hard to fit patients or created costumes for her adult and pediatric patients. Coworkers, friends, and family asked her to do alterations, make swimsuits and wedding attire. Jackie retired from nursing to raise and homeschool her two kids, Megan and Will, who are now in college. She taught them to sew at an early age at home and in the 4H sewing classes she taught. Jackie has helped costume six CYT shows and has served as costume co-chair, chair, and costume production team support. By the way, Jackie's wonderful husband, Randy, has been known to help with her sewing projects, including CYT costumes. She looks forward to sharing her love of sewing and costuming with CYT students.
Kristin Schrader-Shawler Kristin is originally from Madison, Wisconsin where she participated in theatre as a child with Children’s Theatre of Madison, Wisconsin Youth Theatre, Broom Street Theatre, and Drama Barn, as well as participating in High School Theatre productions, both in Wisconsin, then in Illinois, and in college, with Ram’s Head Theatrical Society while studying at Stanford University. She was (and is) also very involved in dance and choreography, and danced with Rory Foster and Gus Giordano’s studio in Chicago, and as a founding member of Stanford’s hip hop group, Jam Pac’d. She graduated from Stanford with a degree in Human Biology, under which she designed a concentration in “The Physiologic and Cultural Aspects of Human Movement and Dance.” While in high school and college, Kristin developed her passion for choreography, and has choreographed ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, and musical theatre. While in college, she began choreographing floor and beam routines for competitive gymnasts, which led to a career in gymnastics, as head coach, manager/director, founder, Nationally rated Level 10 judge, clinician, and choreographer, working with gymnasts and coaches around the country. Kristin has two sons, Calvin and Graham who love CYT!
Martha McDowell has been working with kids for over 20 years as a Director of Children's Ministry. Her passion is glorifying God through creative arts particularly in musical theater and choir. She has been a children's choir director and music director since 1983 for local churches and youth theater programs. She has played roles in 35 community theater productions all around the Bay Area. Most recently, Martha directed a production put on by 240 students at Fremont Christian School. This tap dancing, ukelele playing Grandma is looking forward to a brand new adventure with the families of CYT Tri-Valley!
Sophie Rheinheimer is a founding faculty member at Las Positas College, where she has taught Physical Education since 1975. She began teaching fencing classes at the college in the early 1980s, and founded the Fencing Center in 2002. Sophie has fenced competitively at both the national and international levels. As senior coach of the Las Positas Fencing Center, Sophie teaches adults and children. Her competitive youth fencing group travels the state and successfully competes in tournaments. For the last 6 years, they have qualified for Summer Nationals and will be competing in Kentucky this July. Four of her current junior fencers have qualified for the Junior Olympics in Ohio this February.
Steve Glavan returns to CYT to share his enthusiasm and expertise. Steve’s exposure to acting and singing began at an early age, and his personal experiences have given him a passion for seeing young people develop their own abilities as performers. With a background in acting, singing, writing, stage & choral directing, and filmmaking, Steve believes that everyone has a performer hiding inside, just looking for a stage and an audience. When he is not teaching theater Steve works in the theater. He is a development officer for the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center and spends his days (and many evenings) at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. Steve and his wife, Caryl, make their home in Pleasanton.
Talia Fallis has been performing her entire life. She trained in various styles of performance dance including musical theater, jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical, Scottish country dance, and Irish Ceili dance. But her one true passion lies in ballet. In recent years, she has been performing with various professional ballet companies in the greater Bay Area. She has been teaching ballet to children and adults of all ages for the past ten years, and currently co-owns and runs, with her sister, Vineyard Ballet Academy in Pleasanton. She also recently founded her own ballet performance group, Pleasanton's first and only professional ballet company, Ballet Roots Dance Company.