Academy Administrative Staff
Libby Curtis, Executive Director, Mason Community Arts Academy
Read Libby's Bio Here
Elizabeth (Libby) Curtis has served as Executive Director of George Mason University’s Mason Community Arts Academy since 2008. During this time Libby has been instrumental in building the Academy’s enrollment from approximately 350 to over 3800 annual participants and increasing the annual budget from $300,000 to $1.6 million. Under her leadership, programs have expanded to include over 40 summer programs for community enrichment and teacher training, private music instruction, year round classes, and vital in-service programs in area public schools and community centers. These programs – in the areas of music, theater, visual arts, film and video studies and dance – have strengthened important links between Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and the surrounding community through arts enrichment and advocacy.
Previous to this appointment, Libby – a lyric soprano – was on faculty at Radford University and Virginia Tech where she maintained an active performing schedule and developed thriving voice studios. She also served as Assistant Director of the Radford University Opera Ensemble and helped establish a successful touring program for the Ensemble into area public schools. Her other responsibilities included serving as Music Director for Radford University’s Main Stage productions of “The Boyfriend”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, and “Some Enchanted Evening”.
As an active soprano soloist, her performance schedule included Festival Miami, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Blacksburg Master Chorale, New Mexico Music Festival at Taos, and Northwestern University where she premiered “Symphony from Ivy Green”. This Symphony was written for her by her husband composer/conductor Mark Camphouse. She also premiered numerous works at College Music Society Conferences and served as adjudicator for Virginia State Honors Choir, Virginia All-State Choir, and District and Regional Choir Festivals.
Recording credits include “Little Girl Blue”, a collection of Rodgers and Hart songs and “Symphony from Ivy Green” with the University of Miami Wind Symphony. Libby and Mark have twin daughters, Briton and Beth, who are currently employed in the Northern Virginia area.
Read Mary's Bio Here
Mary Lechter, Associate Director/ Acting For Young People Theater Director
Mary is the Associate Director of Mason Community Arts Academy, and Founder/Artistic Director of Acting for Young People & Adults, Inc. (AFYP). AFYP was founded in 1997, and provides professional-level acting training for students of all ages. The program has grown to include summer acting camps, year-round classes, after school programs and touring productions, and became the theater division of Potomac in 2012.
A graduate of University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater and Speech Communications, Mary has been working professionally as an actor in the Metropolitan Washington area, Los Angeles, and New York since 1985. She has worked at Washington area theaters including Theater of the First Amendment, Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, and Source Theatre. Television, radio and film credits include ABC’s All My Children, Barry Levinson’s Avalon, Diesel Films’ Dracula’s Mother, the MGM/Lionsgate thriller Hit and Run, and several spots for NPR’s Morning Edition.
Mary is a proud member of George Mason University’s faculty in the School of Theater, and was named a 2013 “Teacher of Distinction”. She is a member of The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actor’s Equity Association, and the Educational Theatre Association.
Candy Neukam, Assistant Director/ Programs & Marketing
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Candy Neukam, Assistant Director (Programs & Marketing), has been with Mason Community Arts Academy since 2008 when it became a year round community arts organization. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing from George Mason University, and most recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Arts Management. Most of her working life has been in the for-profit business sector, beginning in the waste industry and ending in the jewelry business prior to joining the Academy and the non-profit world.
Candy has always had an interest in the arts and has volunteered with Mason’s Friends of Music. She firmly believes in the connection between the arts and stronger communities. Understanding that the arts foster personal development and enhance quality of life, she is excited to combine her business experience with her lifelong love of the arts in order help the Academy reach more people in the area. She pursues piano as a hobby and enjoys all that the Washington D.C. area has to offer in the arts.
Matt Geske, Assistant Director/ Marketing & Communications
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Matt Geske has been with Mason Community Arts Academy since 2008 and currently serves as an Assistant Director. His responsibilities include program website and media management, program supervision and management, promotions and ad artwork, email marketing campaigns, purchasing, registration, and special events. Matt also oversees donations, expense tracking, and grantwriting, and he coordinates the facilities maintenance of the building. Matt holds a diverse background and experience in the arts. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in music, performed and taught as a dancer/ choreographer, managed art gallery sales, and had a small stint in a theater group – accompanied by significant experience in arts and entertainment management.
Born on a farm in North Dakota, Matt received a full scholarship to Minnesota State University – Moorhead, where he earned a B.M. in Music Business and served as Assistant to the Performing Arts Series Director. Moving to Nashville, he completed a marketing internship with EMI Records and received dance training at Vanderbilt University. Afterwards, Matt moved to Michigan to tour with the group NitroPraise as a dancer/ choreographer. He then returned to Nashville, working as a retail manager and dance instructor, performing with local gospel musicians. After an extended trip through Southeast Asia, he moved to the Washington DC area and was hired by the Academy. Matt earned his Graduate Certificate in Arts Management from Mason in the Spring of 2016. He is an avid member of several conservation and arts organizations, and he believes strongly in the connection between the arts and nature.
Morgan Johnson, Coordinator/ Registration & Programs
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Morgan serves as Coordinator of Private Music Lessons at Mason Community Arts Academy. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in May 2009 from Hampton University where she studied Music Engineering and Vocal Performance (Mezzo-Soprano). She has held many diverse roles within the arts including positions with the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies in Alexandria and Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda, Maryland. She has over 15 years of experience in live sound reinforcement and has also worked as a Private Music Instructor (Piano and Voice), beginning at Laurissa Jane Music Studios in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2013. Before joining the Academy, Morgan served four years as Studio Manager at Listen Vision Studios in Washington, D.C.
Rachel McAleer, Coordinator/ HR & Purchasing
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Rachel has been with Mason Community Arts Academy since 2014 as a Violin Teaching Artist. In 2016, she became more involved at the Academy as a Registration & Programs Administrative Assistant. Most recently, she accepted a new position as Coordinator of HR & Payroll. Rachel continues to maintain a private studio of beginning, intermediate, and advanced violin students. She also teaches group classes for beginning violinists and regularly teaches violin sectionals at various Fairfax County Public Schools, and she is involved in several summer music programs at Mason. In 2012, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Pedagogy from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. In 2016, she completed her Master of Music in Violin Performance at George Mason University. Rachel enjoys performing in the Washington, DC area. She regularly plays with the Arlington Philharmonic, the McLean Orchestra, and the Pan American Symphony Orchestra. Rachel’s various roles as an educator and performer have helped prepare her with the experience and organizational skills needed to provide administrative support to the Academy.
Zachary Wilcox, Coordinator/ Outreach & Programs
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Zach Wilcox is the Coordinator of Outreach & Programs with Mason Community Arts Academy, a role which he intends to fill as efficiently and accessibly as possible. He also works at Acting For Young People as an Assistant Director of Outreach & Programs. He started at AFYP in 2013 as a Teaching Artist in the after school program, and grew to be included as the Logistics Coordinator for showcase, workshop, and summer camp programs, a Resident Actor for professional productions, and an Administrative Assistant. He is thrilled to serve Acting For Young People and the Academy’s many programs and families.
Zach has a passion for the arts, which he loves to express through acting and writing. He is a co-founder and co-artistic director of Who What Where Theater Collective, which had its premier production We Found the Wild Things in July of 2017, and looks forward to creating professional quality performances for years to come. He holds a BA in Theatre from George Mason University with concentrations in performance and playwriting/dramaturgy where he graduated magna cum laude in 2015. Since then, he has continued his acting training at Studio Theatre in D.C. and continues writing as often as possible.
Kaity Cookson, Coordinator/ Data & Programs
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Kaity Cookson is an alumnus of George Mason University and graduated, cum laude, with a Bachelor’s degree in Theater and a minor in Dramatic Literature in 2011. She has been an integral part of the Acting For Young People team since 2008, working as a teaching artist in after school, summer camp, and workshop programs, as well as holding the position of Resident Stage Manager for all of AFYP’s educational and professional productions. She also contributes to the day-to-day operations of AFYP as the Assistant Director of Programs and Outreach. As an Assistant Coordinator with Mason Community Arts Academy, Kaity is thrilled to expand her work to include music and art, and to use her organizational and management skills to help support the Academy’s many programs.
Kaity has an extensive background in the arts and education. She has taught children ranging from early childhood through high school-level for over seven years. In her time as a student at GMU, she participated in many stage productions as an actor, stage manager, and technician. Kaity served on the board for GMU’s producing group, the Mason Players, for three years, and co-founded GMU’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the theater honor fraternity. She received the Chris Parsons Achievement Award for her work with the theater department in 2010. Kaity has also worked professionally as a stage manager in the DC Metro Area.
Claire Allen, Faculty Coordinator
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Claire Allen is the Faculty Coordinator at Mason Community Arts Academy, maintaining communication with the Music faculty, developing faculty-student and faculty-administration relations, coordinating the Academy’s Chamber Ensemble program, and assisting with recital planning. She also acts as faculty representative on the Academy’s board and other external organizations. Ms. Allen also helps coordinate various activities in the string department and has a large role in building and expanding the violin program.
Previous administrative experience includes running her own private violin studio, working as an intern at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and working as a student assistant in the Arthur Friedheim Library at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She is excited to be part of the Academy team and is eager to bring our students the best arts experience possible.