Guest Artists

A unique feature of the Envision program is our close relationship with the professional arts community. We have partnerships with many local an National and International Arts leaders . These amazing teaching artists work beside our faculty to provide our students with a current, relevant, and exciting arts education unlike any other.



Destin Cretton-In 2002, Destin co-wrote/directed the award-winning short, Longbranch: A Suburban Parable, which won a number of Best Film awards and was an official selection of over 30 festivals including Tribeca, Austin, and The Chrysler Million Dollar Film Fest. Since then, he has continued to write and direct award winning shorts including Bartholomew’s Song (2004), which was a National Finalist in the 2006 Student Academy Awards, and Deacon’s Mondays (2006), which was a Student Academy Finalist in 2007, won the Fuji Film Audience Impact award at the 2007 Angelus Awards, and HBO Films Best Student Film Award at the 2007 Savannah Film Festival. To date, Destin has written and directed seven short films as well as a feature length documentary entitled, Drakmar: A Vassal’s Journey, which premiered on HBO Family in 2007 and is currently distributed by TVF International. Cretton’s most recent project is a short film about the effects of child abuse starring Brad William Henke (Choke, Sherry Baby, Me & You & Everyone we know). Go to for more info.

Thomas O'Hara- documentary filmmaker



Annie Boyer- graduated cum laude with a BFA in dance from The Boston Conservatory in 2001, before joining the Seán Curran Company in New York the following November in 2002. Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Ms. Boyer trained at the Academy of Maryland Youth Ballet, as well as Houston Ballet, BalletMet, Jacob's Pillow, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has also performed with the Metropolitan Opera ballet and New York City Opera ballet. Ms Boyer moved from New York City to San Diego in August of 2006. She has taught dance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Cynthia King Dance Studio in Brooklyn, New York, The Windsor School in Boston, Massachusetts and has set choreography at many universities and professional companies. She currently teaches ballet and modern and is a guest choreographer for both day classes and Conservatory in Envision Dance.

Erica Buechner-has been performing professionally in San Diego since 1999. She has worked most extensively with Mojalet Dance Collective, under the direction of Faith Jensen-Ismay. Erica has also performed for Eveoke Dance Theatre, Patricia Sandback and Dancers, Malashock Dance, and The PGK Project. She graduated from SDSU in 2006 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Erica has presented work at the Celebrate Dance Festival, various Mojalet events, San Diego Dances, 4x4 and 4x4xFloor at the Bluefoot Bar, The Vine, and many other local performance venues. She is also a resident choreographer for d’shire dance. Erica teaches for various studios and schools, including Malashock Dance School, Georgia’s School of Dance, and Young Audiences of San Diego. She has also been invited to teach improvisation/choreography workshops at Canyon Crest High School; set choreography at Canyon Crest High School, Carlsbad High School and Orange Glen High School; and teach master classes at SDSU and CSUSM.

Ericka Moore-believes in the impact of art (dance) to empower individuals, which therefore empowers community. Since starting to study dance (jazz, ballet, modern, and hip-hop) seriously at the age of 15, Ericka has been driven to perform and to create pieces that speak about the world she lives in. Ericka has been a professional dancer for Eveoke Dance Theatre since 1997, performing in over 17 full-length shows as a principal dancer. Ericka has danced with the Colette Harding Contemporary Dance Company (San Diego), PGK Dance Project (San Diego), and HydroFlo (New York). Currently, Ericka is Director of the Apprentice Company, Master Teacher Artist and Resident Choreographer for Eveoke Dance Theatre and on faculty at Palomar Community College; teaching Jazz, Modern, and Hip Hop. Ericka has worked as a guest choreographer for Envision Dance Conservatory (Romeo and Juliet) and recently has been hire to teach the Dance Lab Class and guest Jazz/Modern teacher for the Envision Dance Conservatory.

Anthony Diaz-started dancing at the age of nineteen. Now 25,   Anthony loves every opportunity he has to express himself through dance. A graduate from University of California, San Diego,   Anthony excelled in his studies of performance and choreography, as he experimented with finding his personal style.  A transplant from the California central coast, he has made San Diego his home.  His training includes Jeans Isaacs, Yolande Snaithe, Patricia Rincon and Liam Clancey, His performances include California Ballet, Patricia Rincon Dance Collective, Trolley Dances. He has also been an apprentice for Fusion Dance and now is a company member with San Diego Dance Theater.   Anthony looks forward to bringing his talents to the ever-evolving San Diego dance scene.



Digital/Fine Arts


Jackie Lo-My art relies on the language used on buildings, storefronts, restaurants, and product labels in Chinatowns, J-towns, and other ethnic enclaves. I document personal names, group names, brand names and place names in my paintings to locate the point at which words are lost in translation and its significance. Signs are a symbolic establishment of one’s identity and the projection of an image or idea. By emphasizing the inconsistencies and ironies within the language, one sees how names are used to authenticate and validate cultural identity and how language is used to construct an image. These paintings chronicle the acculturation and assimilation process of first and later-generation Americans in the U.S. The image undergoes several stages of mediation: photography, photo manipulation, and painting. During this period, the image loses aspects of its visual information but gains complexity in the same way that a hybrid culture abandons parts of their traditions and acquires new customs. By creating my own signs, I reflect on the importance of naming and what it signifies to the namegiver and others.

Elizabeth Washburn - grew up in Kansas where she began painting at the age of thirteen. After high school, she moved to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art College. She received a BFA in Drawing and Painting in 1995. Elizabeth backpacked Europe for several months thereafter and ultimately landed a job as a painter for a mural studio in San Francisco. The studio specialized in large-scale murals for casinos and hotels, primarily in Las Vegas. With two years of work experience, Elizabeth ventured off to New York to pursue her free-lance career. She continued doing commissioned murals and paintings for homes and restaurants. Less than a year went by in New York, when a mural commission lured her overseas. The presumed three month duration of the commission turned into an eighteen month sojourn, living, working and traveling in Egypt. After a year and a half, Elizabeth returned to the U.S. and decided to move back to California, this time to San Diego, where she has resided since October of 2000. She carries on with mural and painting commissions, as well as local exhibitions. A recent addition to her career has been teaching adult painting and drawing classes, as well as art classes for children, at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Elizabeth plans to continue with her painting as well as broaden representation of her work in the U.S. and abroad.

Amber George- is an exhibiting artist and arts instructor. She earned her degree in Fine Art from UCLA where she studied with some of the most prominent artist of contemporary art, including Nancy Rubins, Don Suggs, and Lari Pittman. Her work is exhibited nationally, and her current body of work will be shown in a solo show at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas. She enjoys sharing her passion for the arts and hopes to inspire students to pursue careers in the arts. Jeff Kahn An Art Center College of Design graduate and scholarship student.

Jeff Kahn-His professional experience encompasses twenty-seven years in graphic design, marketing communications and branding. He has worked as an art director and senior designer for national advertising agencies graphic design and publishing firms. He has been the owner of Kahn Design for the past thirteen years. His technical and design expertise has landed website and graphic interface design projects for OKbridge, the Internet's #1 bridge club plus design projects for Hewlett Packard and Revlon. Jeff's created a tremendous amount of work for - designing graphics, CD packaging and promotional materials for George Carlin, Jonathan Winters and Phyllis Diller. Jeff's packaging design for Nana's "Temptations", a high end chocolate bar, was awarded “Best New Vegetarian Product 2006” by VegNews at “Expo West”. Awarded recognition in international logo design competition. Three logos were judged worthy for inclusion in the new books. Currently you will find Jeff teaching part time at Palomar College and Canyon Crest Academy. Jeff is actively painting and has had national best selling fine art prints early in his career.

Kimball Taylor- has been scolded by a leper; robbed in Peru; nearly duped by a Balinese transvestite; riddled by malarial mosquitoes in Ecuador; attacked by baboons in Africa; and mocked, browbeaten and harangued by great and not-so-great surfers around the world. A Senior Editor for Surfer magazine, Taylor holds a bachelors degree in journalism and a masters in creative writing from San Diego State University. Return by Water is his first collection of stories.

Amanda Dahlgren is a former Canyon Crest Academy teacher and was part of the team that founded Envision Conservatory as the first Envision Digital/ Fine Arts Coordinator. She is currently working on a Master of Fine Arts in Photography, running a small portrait photography business, and spending lots of time with her adorable 17 month old daughter. Please visit her website at:

Lisa Paysen-of Clemson, SC. Attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC and received a BFA in Ceramics and Printmaking. Worked for a production potter for 2 years and then given the opportunity to try teaching. Have now gained National Board Certification and 10 years of experience. Work revolves around personal relationships amd experiences and interest in travel and nature very much a “story-telling” style. Love to incorporate mixed media in 2D & 3D format with materials such as charcoal, pastels, collage, and paint on paper/canvas and found objects. Karen Eastman. I have always loved to draw and paint. This interest led me to pursue an education in the arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I graduated in 1987 with a BA in Humanities and a minor in Art History. After graduation, I moved to San Diego, California and enjoyed a career in sales and merchandising over the next ten years. I always felt something was missing though, and came to realize I had gotten away from my passion to create art. I decided to start my own business in 1996 called Paint, Glaze & Fire!, a ceramics studio, located in Encinitas, California. Working with customers to help nurture and advance their own creativity made me realize that art was in my soul and painting was my favorite form of expression and release. I sold my business in 1999, and have been painting full time ever since! 


Mike Atesalp-is an accomplished Instructor and Performer. Michael’s instructional credits include the Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, the Anaheim Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and the WGI World Champion Clovis West High School Percussion Ensemble. Michael currently instructs the San Diego State Aztec Drum Line and the SDSU Indoor Marching Percussion Ensemble. Michael’s accomplishments include Championships at DCI, WGI, WSMBC/WBA, SCPA, ADLA and the Fiesta Bowl National Pageant of Bands. As a performer, Michael is a former member of the famed Blue Devils “Q-5” Tenor Line and has performed with Reggae/Pop sensations “Big Mountain”. Michael also performs on drum set and percussion with various national and regional acts including his own Afro Cuban-Funk band !PRISA! Michael proudly enjoys relationships with DYNASTY, Vic Firth, SABIAN, Aquarian Drumheads and Rhythm Tech.

Nate Jarrell-can be seen performing at venues throughout the Southern California area in formats ranging from solo guitar to larger jazz ensembles. Although now primarily a jazz guitarist, Nate first gained experience performing and recording with various rock groups and toured extensively throughout the United States. He has since worked in numerous genres including Jazz, Blues, Latin, and Celtic music. Nate can currently be seen with his own jazz groups, as well as with Duo LaRe (featuring mandolinist Chris Acquavella), the Tokeli band, and numerous other performing groups. He holds a Masters degree in jazz studies from San Diego State University where he studied privately with pianist Rick Helzer and guitarist Bob Boss. In addition to his work as a performer, Nate is also an active music educator. He is an adjunct faculty member and guitar instructor at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California. He is also the Assistant Director of the west coast campuses of the National Guitar Workshop and directs jazz ensembles and teaches music theory at Canyon Crest Academy High School.

Seth Malmstrom-Strings/Conservatory

Scott Sayre-Symphonic Band

Pak Djoko Walujo- studied classical Javanese gamelan music from an early age with many of the most highly regarded musicians of Java, including the world renowned K.R.T. Wasitodiningrat (lovingly known as Pak Cokro). Mr. Walujo first earned a law degree from the Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, after which he graduated from the Indonesia Arts Institute where he studied music. He soon became a faculty member there and taught Javanese gamelan, from 1975 until coming to America in 1992 with his wife and three children. He was hand picked by K.R.T. Wasitodiningrat to be his predecessor as the leader, director, and teacher of the Javanese gamelan at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (CalArts). Mr. Walujo has performed throughout Indonesia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. He has composed gamelan music for dance, dance drama, theater, and instrumental music, for which he has received numerous awards from the Indonesian Ministry of Education, the governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, the National Radio of Indonesia (RRI), and the governor of Central Java. He currently serves as a faculty member at CalArts, where he continues to teach classical Javanese gamelan and compose music, both classical and contemporary. He is the musical director of the Javanese music and dance group, Kyai Doro Dasih which is based out of CalArts, and which his lovely wife plays and sings in and his two beautiful daughters are featured dancers for. He has composed gamelan music for dance, dance drama, theater, and instrumental music, for which he has received numerous awards from the Indonesian Ministry of Education, the governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, the National Radio of Indonesia (RRI), and the governor of Central Java. He currently serves as a faculty member at CalArts, where he continues to teach classical Javanese gamelan and compose music, both classical and contemporary. He is the musical director of the Javanese music and dance group, Kyai Doro Dasih which is based out of CalArts, and which his two daughters are featured dancers for.

Renée Mitchell has been the guest artist in Vocal Conservatory and Choir since 2007. In addition to her work at CCA, Ms. Mitchell teaches several Choir and Music classes at the Waldorf School of San Diego, is the Choir Conductor and Cantor at St. Thérèse Parish in Del Cerro, and offers private singing lessons. She can be seen around San Diego as a member of the Musica Vitale choral ensemble, and as soloist at special liturgical services. Though she is often featured as a soloist, her true passion is ensemble singing. Ms. Mitchell holds a BA in Music from The Pennsylvania State University and is currently working toward her Masters in Education. 


Steve Lipinsky holds a B.A. from the USC School of Theatre with an emphasis on performance and education.  An active member of both major performing unions (SAG-AFTRA, AEA) Steve has been working in Southern California theatres as an actor, advisor, and teacher for the past 22 years. In addition to his extensive theatre credits outside of San Diego, Steve has enjoyed coaching and teaching right here in his home town. For six years, Steve sat on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Shakespeare Society and taught classical theatre as an ambassador to that organization throughout the city schools.  He has directed and taught acting and performance for many local theatres and programs including North Coast Repertory Theatre, the American Scholar Academy, and The Old Globe Theatre. His business, Access to Acting, Inc., which he relocated from Santa Monica to Encinitas, offers extensive training in monologue preparation, sense memory exploration, audition technique, improvisation, scene work, and solo performance. 


Blake McCarty is an artist and educator, whose most recent production premiered to critical and popular acclaim in New York City last year. Created and produced by McCarty, Play/Datefeatured new works by seventeen playwrights and was hailed as “broadening the definition of theater” by The New York Times. Blake is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the San Diego Film Festival, and a Teaching Artist with San Diego Junior Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse. His work has been seen in productions at Dixon Place, Theatre Row, Provincetown Playhouse, and La Mama E.T.C. among others. He holds a BFA in Film Production and an MA in Educational Theatre, both from New York University.

Hall Pass is an immersive, site-specific musical event created exclusively for high school performers. The production was commissioned by New York University as part of the Forum on Site-Specific Theater, an April 2015 event showcasing innovative works-in-progress. Following the of McCarty’s Play/Date, NYU asked McCarty to adapt the developmental process and performance model for an under-served population: high schools and their students. Hall Pass will transform schools into theatrical playgrounds as young people perform new, short works throughout their school offering insight and perspective on the lives of teenagersThe project creates a tremendous opportunity for teachers and students to explore immersive, site-specific theater while adding over twenty-five new short plays and musicals to the canon of theatrical works for high school actors.

Jason Maddy

Guest Director Jason Maddy is an accomplished actor, performing with Theatres all over San Diego including productions at The Old Globe, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Cygnet Theatre to name a few. Regional Theatres include Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival and The Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival. As an Educator Jason is a Teaching Artist with The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse and North Coast Repertory Theatre. Independently Jason coaches auditions and individual technique workshops. Other Directing/ Fight Choreography credits include Love's Labour's Lost (Canyon Crest Academy), the Glass Menagerie, You’re a Goodman Charlie Brown, Pirates of Penzance, Macbeth, Rebel Without a Cause and various one acts and youth productions for Festivals, Conservatory Programs and High Schools. Jason received his M.F.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association. 

Mary Reich, MFA has been choreographing, performing, improvising and researching movement for 34 years. Mary is on faculty at La Jolla Playhouse Summer Conservatory Program, Expressive Arts Institute of San Diego, Vancouver Expressive Arts Institute in Canada and maintains a private practice as an Expressive Arts therapist/educator. She has taught and performed at numerous festivals and universities on the West Coast (USA), France, Germany, Mexico and Russia. Her work is informed by experiences in long time practices of improvisation, a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, co-founder of Lower Left, a graduate from the European Graduate School in Switzerland and various studies with artists such as Jerzy Grotowski, Suzanne Lacy, Nina Martin, Deborah Hay, Karen Schaffman,  and dozens of post modern artists dealing with the senses, spontaneity and place. 


Janet Hayatshahi is an actor, director, choreographer, and theatre educator. She served as Associate ArtisticDirector of San Diego’s Sledgehammer Theatre and was an ensemble member of the company. She was also a member of the ensemble of Chicago’s Eclipse Theatre Company.

Directing and Choreography creditsA Vast Hoard(Chalk Rep and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum), A Man, his Wife, and his Hat (Moxie Theatre), 9 Parts of Desire (Mo’olelo Performing Arts Center - KPBS Patté Award for Outstanding Direction),The Turn of the Screw (Cygnet Theatre), Directing Assistant for Robert Woodruff on Notes From Underground (La Jolla Playhouse)

Select Acting creditsA Dream Play, Macbeth, nu, [sic]Berzerkergäng, Richard III, Furious Blood, Phenomenal Acceleration, Chrysalis: Rapechild(Sledgehammer Theatre), Master Class (Poway Center for Performing Arts), Remains (Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company).

Janet has taught in the theatre departments of Pomona College, University of California, San Diego, San Diego State University, Grossmont College, and San Diego City College. She has also worked as teachingartist for the Old Globe Theatre and the La Jolla Playhouse.




Leigh Scarritt 

Miss Leigh Scarritt holds a degree in Voice Performance from Arizona State University, and has performed all over North America for over 30 years. A veteran of TV, film, and the stage, Miss Leigh brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Of the hundreds of students she has taught, many have gone on to perform on television, movies, theater, and commercials. Over 87 of her students have appeared in The Old Globes’ production of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. 

College Preparation should be an integral part of any young actors’ career and Miss Leigh has had students successful at acceptance into such prestigious universities as NYU, Yale, Boston Conservatory, UCLA, Syracuse, Berkeley and Emerson. Leigh Scarritt is San Diego's Premier Voice and Acting Coach.


Max Cadilac

Max is a dance instructor and choreographer at San Diego Junior Theatre, an actor at San Diego Musical Theatre and at Cygnet Theatre Company. He received a BFA in musical theatre from American Musical & Dramatics Academy and graduated from Coronado School of the Arts.

© Amy Villanova 2014