Board and Staff Bios
Mark Bennett, Esq. - President, Board Member
Mark, an attorney working for the New York State court system, came to STAGES through his son, Brendon, who has been in a number of STAGES camps and shows, and whose younger sister, Carol, is and will be following in his footsteps. Although his singing and acting days are far in the past, Mark brings to the STAGES Board not-for-profit organization experience from his time as a member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association, where he also chaired several committees, and as a Steering Committee member of the former rule-of-law partnership between Rochester and its Russian sister city, Novgorod. A native of the Thousand Islands and alumnus of St. Lawrence and Georgetown Universities, Mark lives in Brighton with his wife, Barbara Lowe, and his two children. He is proud to be associated with STAGES, a wonderful community resource where theater and students flourish in tandem!
Ellen Broder - Board Member
Ellen began her involvement in theatre in her first grade production of The Ugly Duckling, playing the part of the Goose. She continued to pester her elementary school teachers to do plays every year. During her high school years, she was finally able to participate in musicals annually, playing the role of Minnie Faye in Hello Dolly her senior year. During her four years at SUNY Binghamton, Ellen majored in English and minored in musical theatre. There she performed in both large-scale main stage theatre department shows as well as small student run productions. After receiving a Masters of Education at The George Washington University, Ellen went on to teach elementary school in Fairfax County, Virginia and also at a private school in Miami Florida. She was known at both schools as the teacher who “does plays”. Introducing children to the experience of theatre quickly became a priority as well as a love of the job. Ellen was thrilled when her own daughter began showing interest in musical theatre. He daughter became involved with STAGES in the summer of 2010 and has since performed in many STAGES production. Ellen has volunteered extensively with the Rochester Jewish Community Center and its overnight camp, Camp Seneca Lake. Ellen decided to combine her love of theatre and experience with non-profits by joining the STAGES board in March of 2012. She lives in Brighton with her husband, Jon and twins Mitchell and Elyse.
Sarah Culp - Board Member
Sarah has been serving and advocating for Rochester area youth and families for over twenty years. As an ordained American Baptist clergyperson, she has pastored congregations Rochester, Penfield, Irondequoit and currently in Greece. She has served on many local and national boards including the Irondequoit Youth Bureau , the Irondequoit Community Cupboard, Vick Pathfinder Camp and Conference Ministries and the General Board of the American Baptist Churches USA.
Sarah has been active in creating innovative music groups for youth. Rhythmic Revolution was a group that used music (drums) as a way to engage youth in conversation about healthy behaviors. She is now involved in the development of Alice’s Encore, a program utilizing techniques of music therapy to encourage mindfulness and empathy in participants.
Sarah came to Stages through her youngest son, Elijah, who has been performing with Stages since the summer of 2012.
Sarah is married to David and has two older sons, Joshua and Simon. The Culp family lives in Irondequoit.
Carolyn Curran - Managing Director
Carolyn has loved the magic of theatre ever since she was chosen to slowly raise a glitter encrusted “star on a stick” during her first grade class performance of “Silent Night” in the annual Christmas show. She started playing piano at the age of five and was privileged to study piano performance with Margaret Baxtresser for four wonderful years as a teen. She has diverse experience working in the fields of telecommunications, insurance, construction and education. After earning her Masters of Business Administration degree at Santa Clara University and starting a family, Carolyn re-discovered the marvelous growth that music can bring in children while directing children’s choirs and musicals at her church. She dove into supporting her own children’s forays into theatre, working with talented directors, choreographers and musicians, including those at the Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose, CA. Carolyn relocated to Rochester several years ago to live closer to family and can’t imagine a better place to raise a family than Rochester, NY or a better place to work than “A Magical Journey Thru Stages,” where magic happens all the time!
Mathew Devine, D.O. - Board Member
Dr. Devine is board certified in Family Medicine. He is the Quality Office for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Devine received his DO/osteopathic degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his Family Medicine residency and fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Devine is also currently a medical director at Accountable Health Partners. He has an active primary care practice in Rochester, NY and has been in practice since 2009. Dr. Devine has a special interests in wellness, preventive health, and the mind-body connections that can affect our health. Once upon a time he participated in theater in adolescence through his church youth group. Although Broadway has not called yet, he is often featured in health segments on various local media television and radio outlets. Matt has always been interested in mentoring young children with a goal of promoting healthy lifestyles at an early age. Matt arrived at STAGES through the great experiences that his oldest daughter has had while participating in STAGES productions. He is married to Anne, and they both grew up and attended schools in the City of Rochester. Their youngest daughter Emma is also participating with the STAGES family as well. The Devine family lives in Brighton.
Kayla Hunter Yeng - Media Manager
Kayla has been involved in the performing arts since 2003, participating in shows under Main Street Players and Roberts Wesleyan Community Theater. In 2009, she began interning under Terry Fyke on the production of ‘Jungle Book’ and continues to work with her today. She has progressively expanding experience in teaching theater in a variety of educational settings and a diverse set of productions. She implements various techniques and encourages teamwork among students where they learn to encourage and support one another. These tenets stem from her strong beliefs and the foundational principles that she applies in all aspects of her life. Currently Kayla is the media manager at A Magical Journey Thru Stages and is the Assistant/Technical Director for Main Street Players Theater Company. She is exhilarated about the opportunity to work with students in the arts, helping them to become more confident and realize their potential.
Brett Kinsler - Board Member
Brett got involved in theater from a young age, both on stage and behind the scenes. Beginning with school productions and later at summer camps, he went on to teach video and radio production, as well as stage lighting and sound design at Buck's Rock Performing & Creative Arts Camp. At University of Rochester, Brett held leadership positions in both the Committee for Performing Arts and WRUR radio station and worked on or acted in dozens of shows and improv troupes. The highlights of his theater career were directing Woody Allen’s Play it Again, Sam, designing special effects for Passion of Dracula and anything that had to do with Pippin.
After practicing as a chiropractor for 20 years, Brett is now a partner at Strategic Interests, a Rochester healthcare technology consulting firm. Brett has served on the boards of several community and national non-profit organizations including Pittsford Ambulance and the West Hartford Group think tank and is presently the healthcare board director of the Rochester technology council, TechRochester. Brett lives with his wife, Michalene, and children, Sasha, Sebastian, and Scarlett. The incredible experiences his kids have had at Stages are his inspiration to support and give back to this amazing organization.
Admiral Lord - Treasurer, Board Member
Admiral has been a member and Treasurer of STAGES Board of Directors since 2010. During his tenure, he has worked to keep STAGES finances up to date and in working order. He has also lent his leadership to many STAGES initiatives including computer bookkeeping, the STAGES 24-hour project, and the annual GALA fundraising event. Admiral's on-stage experience is running campfire stage shows at Scout Camp. He brings a wealth of experience in non-profit administration, having served for over 30 years on the board of the Seneca Waterways Council, BSA, eleven of them as Vice-President, Quality Control. He is a Special Education Teacher at Monroe #1 BOCES, and is the Treasurer of BOCES United Professionals, NYSUT. His wife Gina is the reigning "costume queen" at STAGES and daughter Emily was regularly on our stage, working as student director or student costumer, and is looking forward to coming back to alumni shows. The Lord family is committed to helping STAGES provide education and practical opportunities for kids to perform all aspects of theatre.
Greg Maddock - Program and Communications Manager
Greg Maddock has directed students of all ages in productions of Damn Yankees, Annie Get Your Gun, The Fantasticks, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Sound of Music, No, No, Nanette, and choreographed productions of Annie and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. He most recently directed students at Stages in Newsies and Getting to Know…Oklahoma! Regionally, Greg has assistant directed productions of Medea, Into the Woods, Passion Play, Avenue Q, and, most especially, a production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid featuring performers with developmental disabilities. Greg has assisted and co-directed touring productions of James and the Giant Peach and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks. This past summer, Greg studied directing in Germany with the International Performing Art Institute. He has proudly worked as an instructor with Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre, an adjudicator for Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s Stars of Tomorrow Program, theatre-curriculum writer for the Syracuse City School District, and is currently a board member of the Gatesinger Company, Ltd.
Jamie Mance - Board Member
Jamie is a graduate from Nazareth College, and studied Technical Production in the areas of Stage Management, Light Design, Sound Design, Costume Design, Set Design, and Theatrical Make-up. Jamie has been involved with Stages for several years, and she has been working in Technical Theater for over 21 years.
Tom Pembrook - Board Member
John Palomaki - Board Member
John worked for ten exceptional years in Executive Relations at Microsoft, then began a second career working with nonprofit organizations and independent schools, primarily in development, communications, problem solving, and sustainability. He most recently worked in Advancement and has been serving on the Alternative Revenue, Enrollment, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees at Allendale Columbia School. John, who grew up in East Irondequoit and returned to the area in 2014, holds a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Colgate University supplemented with Master’s level courses in Teaching at Colgate and Public Administration at Seton Hall University and Rutgers University. John and his wife Lois live in Brighton with their two teenagers, they enjoy traveling, theater, and movies, and all love the experiences and friendships they've developed with the Stages Family.
Debra Ross - Vice President, Board Member
Debra Ross is founder and publisher of KidsOutAndAbout.com. KidsOutAndAbout.com is an online resource for parents that Deb started in 2001 to help Rochester-area parents find all of our area's great resources and activities. It has since spread around the country and has 2.5 million readers per year. She is the author of Seasons and Reasons: A Parent's Guide to Cultivating Great Kids.
Deb earned her BA in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. English majors can do everything or nothing, so Deb chose... computers. She started a technology consulting firm for the mail order/direct commerce industry in 1994. In 2001, her second daughter, Ella, was on the way, and Deb realized that the Rochester area had a wealth of activities for kids, but that she'd always hear about them after they had happened. So she created KidsOutAndAbout.com; its ample calendar serves as the backbone of the site. Deb wrote lots of reviews of Stages productions before her kids became involved in 2010. After that, her love of all that Stages did for her kids made her unable to write an unbiased review. But it only grew her fervor for helping the Rochester community realize what a wonderful organization Stages is. She's pleased to be able to contribute as part of the board.
Lisa Shearer - Director of Production Operations/Board Member
Lisa's path to the world of theater has been more meandering than direct. Lisa grew up in the beautiful state of Montana, met and married a gypsy at heart, and has since lived in Oregon, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, and New York. When her family discovered Rochester, it instantly felt like home. They've been happily living here ever since! Earning her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Montana and a certification in Early Childhood Special Education from Western Oregon State College, Lisa began her professional career working in the special education field as a teacher in early intervention programs in Montana and Oregon. She then spent eleven years home educating her own three children. When her oldest daughter, Bethany, found theater as her true passion, the family followed suit. Soon, all three children had been bit by the theatre bug! Since 2010, Lisa's family has been a constant presence at Stages. In 2015, Lisa joined the staff at Stages as Programming Director. She wears many hats including production manager for musicals, the improv troupe and coordinating the education program. Lisa loves witnessing the positive impact that theater has on the lives of children all over the Greater Rochester Area!
Sherry Vile, Esq. - Executive Director, Board Member
Sherry has been the Executive Director managing all aspects of STAGES since 2009 and was the Board President from 2009 to 2016. She has been involved in various capacities since 2003, when her now adult daughter did her first performance with Stages. Believing strongly that a youth community theater offers great benefits to kids who love performing, Sherry led Stages, with assistance from many others, into and through its transition from an inter-generational revue theater to the current full youth community theater. She continues to add creative programs, has increased revenue so as to hire staff, and is always searching for ways to improve Stages.
Sherry, an attorney with the New York State Unified Court System since 1991, worked extensively in the area of commercial litigation involving many types of business transactions. This experience provides a broad spectrum of ideas, options, and direction for the business aspects of Stages.
Sherry recognizes that Stages is a family-oriented, high-quality theater due to many hours of dedication and commitment from staff, volunteers, parents and, most importantly, the kids. The families' positive response to the theater environment and programs Stages offers makes the continuing magical journey at STAGES all the more worthwhile.