Staff Members

Academy Administrative Staff

Mary Lechter Mary Lechter, Executive Director, Mason Community Arts Academy

Read Mary's Bio Here
As of August 2022, Mary stepped into the role of Executive Director of Mason Community Arts Academy. She previously served as Associate Director since 2012. She is also the 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 officially became the theater division of the Academy 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.

Morgan Johnson, Staff Morgan Johnson, Coordinator: Registration & Programs

Read Morgan's Bio Here
Morgan serves as Coordinator of Private Music Lessons at Mason Community Arts Academy. She received her Bachelor of Science from Hampton University where she studied Music Engineering and Vocal Performance (Mezzo-Soprano), and she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Arts Management at George Mason University. 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 20 years of experience in live sound reinforcement and has also worked as a Private Music Instructor (Piano and Voice). Before joining the Academy, Morgan served four years as Studio Manager at Listen Vision Studios in Washington, D.C.

Kaity Cookson Kaity Cookson Ormesher, Outreach & Theater Program Manager

Read Kaity's Bio Here
Kaity graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater in 2011 and a Master of Arts in Arts Management in 2019. Kaity has been a part of the Acting for Young People team since 2008, working as a Teaching Artist in after-school, summer camp, and showcase programs, and as the resident stage manager for all of AFYP’s educational and touring productions. She also contributes to the day-to-day operations of AFYP as an Assistant Director of Outreach and Programs.

Kaity has an extensive background in the arts and education. She has taught children ranging from early childhood through high school levels for over eight 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 Washington, D.C. metro Area.

Alaina Santos, Director of Programs

Read Alaina's Bio Here
Alaina graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater in 2012. Having previously worked with Mason Community Arts Academy as Coordinator of Private Music Lessons, Alaina now joins us as Director of Programs supporting MCAA’s year-round classes and summer programming. Alaina has been a part of the Acting For Young People team since 2009 as a Senior Teaching Artist, Administrative Assistant, and Resident Actor. Alaina is also the creator of AFYP’s Adventures educational program track offered during our year-round Saturday Showcase programming.

Alaina has held various positions with non-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C. metro area including Cultural DC as Assistant Producer and corporate roles in program management and event planning. She has always had a passion for the arts and strongly believes in the importance of arts education in the community. Alaina is thrilled to continue to be a part of MCAA’s vibrant future.

Regina Schneider, Coordinator: Marketing & Communications

Read Regina's Bio Here
Regina serves as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the Mason Community Arts Academy. With a higher education background, Regina uses her knowledge and skills to help the Academy to fulfill its mission. Regina graduated with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and a Master’s of Education from Louisiana State University and is specialized in marketing, communications, and graphic design. She previously worked in different university focus areas, including Housing and Enrollment Management.

Regina is passionate about the arts and loves to explore creative outlets. She enjoys painting, interior design, and playing the ukulele and piano.

Matt Geske Staff Member Matt Geske, Operations Manager

Read Matt's Bio Here
With a Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry from Minnesota State University — Moorhead and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Management from George Mason University, Matt has enjoyed a varied and well-rounded career including dancer, choreographer, dance instructor, booking agent, art gallery sales, marketer, program manager, event coordinator, grant writer and more. Now with more than a decade of experience at the Academy, Matt provides administrative and creative support to all areas of the organization.

Ariel Williams, Assistant Coordinator of Programs and Operations

Read Ariel's Bio Here
Ariel serves as the Assistant Coordinator of Programs and Operations at Mason Community Arts Academy. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music Education from George Mason University and a Master’s of Music Performance from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Ariel has served in a variety of roles within MCAA, including as a saxophone instructor, an on-site supervisor for summer music programs, and as a part-time administrative assistant. Ariel specializes in saxophone performance and music education in addition to arts administration and is passionate about supporting the Academy’s mission and outreach in the community.

The Academy will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, from Wednesday 11/23 to Sunday 11/27.