National Board of Trustees

The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) National Board of Trustees is comprised of prominent leaders across a diverse range of industries including entertainment, finance, hospitality, law, education, and nonprofit theatre, all with a common passion for theatre education. Trustees review and prioritize needs and participate in charitable funding.

Matt Conover, Chair

Matt Conover, Chair

Disney Parks Live Entertainment,
Vice President of Disneyland Entertainment

Anaheim, California

Matt Conover, Chair

Matt Conover, Chair

Matt Conover leads all production on the major live entertainment projects for Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line ships around the world. His responsibilities include the music development team, the scenic and art design team, and the talent casting team, which casts all roles in the live entertainment productions at all Disney theme parks and cruise ships. Matt joined Disney in 1989 as a stage technician at Epcot and has served in several executive entertainment roles, including general manager of entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and director of planning and production for Walt Disney Entertainment, before transitioning in 2005 to lead the Disneyland Entertainment team as vice president. In 2012, Matt joined the global team at Walt Disney Imagineering – Creative Entertainment in his current role. Matt is a member of the board of directors for the Educational Theatre Association and the Educational Theatre Foundation. He is a B.F.A. graduate of SUNY College at Purchase, with a degree in theatre design and technology, with a concentration in lighting design.

Hunter Bell, Vice Chair 

Hunter Bell, Vice Chair 

Tony-nominated playwright, Educational Theatre Association board member

New York, New York

Hunter Bell, Vice Chair 

Hunter Bell, Vice Chair 

Hunter Bell is a writer based in New York City. His work has earned an Obie Award, a Drama League nomination, a GLAAD Media nomination, a Drama Desk, and a Tony nomination. Hunter is a graduate and distinguished alumnus of Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts, a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild, a MacDowell Fellow, and a proud Georgia Thespian. He currently serves on the board of the Educational Theatre Association. Follow him at @huntbell.

Debbie Hill, Secretary

Debbie Hill, Secretary

Community Arts Initiatives, Founder and Executive Director

Cincinnati, Ohio

Debbie Hill, Secretary

Debbie Hill, Secretary

Debbie Hill is founder and executive director of Community Arts Initiatives, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 2011, CAI has been providing free after-school arts programming in area schools. Students range in age from six to 19, and classes are tailored to the desires of each school’s students. Current classes include cooking, drama, cheerleading, fine arts sampler, dance fitness, and yoga. CAI built raised-bed gardens at three Cincinnati schools, which also include outdoor classroom space and one garden also has an orchard.

In addition, CAI provides programming during the school day for a self-contained, special needs high school class of 40 students. In addition to the fine arts sampler class and yoga, CAI has partnered with Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and their community outreach program to provide weekly classes in drama. These students run the Dater Depot school store and Bare Necessities, which provide personal care products to those in need. Both services teach skills needed for gainful employment once students graduate. A yoga/meditation class is in development that will be piloted with in-school suspension students beginning in September 2017 in both a high school and an elementary school.

Debbie attended the University of Cincinnati, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and is a graduate of Endicott College. Past board affiliations include The Cross-Boundary Leadership Team and Beyond Healing.

James A. Miller, Treasurer

James A. Miller, Treasurer

Bartlett & Co. investment firm, Principal and Chairman

Cincinnati, Ohio

James A. Miller, Treasurer

James A. Miller, Treasurer

James A. Miller, CFA, is a principal and chairman of Bartlett & Co. He also serves as an investment advisor. He focuses his investment management practice on high net worth individuals and their families, as well as foundations and endowments. Jim is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Jim received his M.B.A from the Harvard Business School and his B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan. He currently serves on the boards of the Contemporary Arts Center as a permanent board member, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cancer Support Community, Xavier University, and on the National Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee. He is also a member of the University of Michigan Economics Department Advisory Council. Jim was named a Five Star Wealth Manager for the past seven years. He joined Bartlett & Co. in 1977 and has 41 years of investment experience.

Nancy Aborn Duffy

Nancy Aborn Duffy

Former Broadway Licensing Company Owner and Educator

New York, New York

Nancy Aborn Duffy

Nancy Aborn Duffy

Nancy Aborn Duffy is a former Broadway Licensing Company Owner and Educator in New York, NY. She is a National Board Member for the Educational Theatre Foundation.

Kevin E. Fortson

Kevin E. Fortson

Warner Horizon Television, Senior Vice President of Production

Burbank, California

Kevin E. Fortson

Kevin E. Fortson

Kevin E. Fortson currently serves as senior vice president of production for Warner Horizon Television (WHTV), having been named to that post at the division’s founding in 2006.

One of the television industry’s fastest-growing companies, WHTV specializes in the creation and production of scripted series for the cable marketplace and primetime reality series for both network and cable. Kevin is responsible for all administrative and operational aspects of the corporate division and oversees all elements of physical production for the Warner Horizon’s series and pilots, including budgeting, scheduling and staffing. WHTV’s current scripted projects include: Netflix’s Fuller House and Longmire; the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) hit Queen Sugar; TNT’s Animal Kingdom; and People of Earth for TBS. Warner Horizon has also produced such past successful series as Pretty Little Liars, Rizzoli & Isles, and Dallas as well as pilots for multiple networks and streaming services, including Lifetime, A&E, TNT and Freeform, Netflix, Hulu, TV Land, and OWN. On WHTV’s non-scripted side, the mega-hit NBC series The Voice, the long-running ABC hit, The Bachelor and its sister properties The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, NBC’s Little Big Shots and an upcoming update of the classic relationship show Love Connection all fall under Kevin’s purview.

Prior to joining WHTV, Kevin served as senior vice president for studio operations at Warner Bros. Studio Facilities, a position to which he was named in 2004. In that capacity, he was charged with directing the operational activities for all in-house and independent television and feature film production on Warner Bros. Studios’ 110-acre lot and adjacent 32-acre ranch facility. This included scheduling for all 34 sound stages and numerous exterior sets as well as audience coordination, stage and back lot maintenance, and special projects.

Before working in operations, Kevin spent 12 years at Telepictures Productions, as senior vice president for production and administration, where he was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day production staffs for one of the industry’s most prolific producers of network, first-run syndicated and cable television series, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Bachelor, and Extra. During his tenure, he supervised the design and construction of the company’s Glendale, California, production and post-production facility. The 45,000-square-foot complex houses two sound stages, 30 digital editing suites, a newsroom, and production office space. This facility serves as the headquarters for the daily entertainment news program Extra, and it has housed numerous other productions during its years of operation.

Prior to joining Telepictures Productions, Kevin was with Investigative News Group for five years, lastly serving as vice president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer and executive in charge of production, overseeing Geraldo, The Geraldo Rivera Specials, and Now It Can Be Told. He left Investigative News Group in May 1992 for a brief stint as vice president of development and production at Genesis Entertainment, overseeing The Whoopi Goldberg Show, among other programs. Prior to that, he held positions at Metromedia, Fox and Group W Productions, where he supervised various productions and served for two years as executive in charge of production on Hour Magazine.

Kevin attended UCLA and is a 1983 graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a degree in specialized mass communication. He and his wife, Rikki, currently live in Calabasas, California, and are the parents of triplets Noah, Avery (Zel), and Khristian, all of whom are freshmen at various universities around the country.

Gai Laing Jones

Gai Laing Jones

Educational Theatre Association, Vice President and veteran theatre educator

Ojai, California

Gai Laing Jones

Gai Laing Jones

Gai Laing Jones is the founder of California Youth in Theatre, Theatre Sage, and Theatre Teachers Bootcamp.

She entered educational theatre by way of a small liberal arts college for women in Oklahoma that offered a specialized bachelor of arts degree in speech and drama. While teaching eighth grade English and theatre in Fullerton, California, she was the first woman to complete a master of arts degree in theatre at California State University, Fullerton. She taught theatre at El Dorado High School for 34 years. Upon her retirement, the black box theatre was named The Gai Jones Theater. She has served on the boards of the California Educational Theatre Association and Drama Teachers Association of Southern California. She is a former chapter director of the California Thespians and is proud to serve on the EdTA Board of Directors as vice president/president and co-chair of the EdTA Development Committee. She is the recipient of the EdTA President’s Award.

She is an adjunct assistant professor at California State University, East Bay. She writes theatre education books, directs and produces educational theatre productions, and serves as an arts provider and guest artist at various conferences. She is a SAG/AFTRA member.

Alvin Katz

Alvin Katz

Katten Muchin Rosenman law firm, Partner

Chicago, Illinois

Alvin Katz

Alvin Katz

Alvin Katz is a partner in the Chicago office of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, a commercial law firm with offices throughout the United States. He specializes in corporate and real estate transactions. He is consistently ranked in the top tier of Chicago lawyers by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and is included in The Legal 500, Guide to the World’s Leading Real Estate Lawyers, Who’s Who in American Law, The Best Lawyers in America, Leading Lawyers in Illinois, and Illinois Super Lawyers.

Alvin has been active in not-for-profit theatre and arts in the Chicago area for the past 40 years. He is currently on the board of directors of TimeLine Theatre and previously served as a director of Victory Gardens Theatre, Body Politic Theatre, Wisdom Bridge Theatre, National Jewish Theatre, and Lawyers for the Creative Arts. In addition, he was a co-founder of the Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago’s first not-for-profit art gallery, and is a trustee of the Chicago Architecture Foundation and a member of the board of overseers of the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture. Alvin received his B.A. from the University of Michigan with high distinction and honors in economics, and his J.D. from Stanford University Law School.

Jack Lane

Jack Lane

STAGES St. Louis, Tony award-winning Producer St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

Jack Lane

Jack Lane

Jack Lane is the multiple award-winning producer of The Humans (2016 Tony Award for Best Play), Fun Home (2015 Tony Award for Best Musical), Peter and the Starcatcher (2012 Tony Award Nominee for Best Play), the Off-Broadway hit comedy Shear Madness, the international hit Broadway comedy The Play That Goes Wrong, and the upcoming Casey Nicolaw musical, The Prom. A native New Yorker, Jack is a founding member of STAGES St. Louis and has proudly served as its executive producer for 31 years. During that time, STAGES has grown to become one of the top regional musical theatres in the nation. A new performing arts center in downtown Kirkwood will be the new home for STAGES, beginning in 2019. Jack currently serves as an artistic advisor to both the Missouri Arts Council and the Arts and Education Council.

Timothy Allen McDonald

Timothy Allen McDonald

iTheatrics, Founder and CEO

New York, New York

Timothy Allen McDonald

Timothy Allen McDonald

Timothy Allen McDonald is an award-winning musical theatre librettist and leading authority on musical theatre education. Librettist credits include: Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, with Academy Award-winning songwriters Pasek and Paul; Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, with Academy Award-winning songwriter Paul Williams and directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli; and Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, with Academy Award-winning songwriter Leslie Bricusse.

Tim is the Founder and CEO of iTheatrics, which creates educational adaptations of musicals for MTI’s Broadway Junior Collection, Tams-Witmark’s Young Performer’s Editions, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Getting to Know Collection, and Samuel French’s 101 Collection. An estimated 36 million people attend performances of these musicals annually. iTheatrics has ongoing educational initiatives with New York City’s Department of Education and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and released the world’s first-ever musical theatre textbook in January 2017 with GIA Publications.

For more information, visit iTheatrics.com.

Kim Rogers

Kim Rogers

Vice President of Amateur Licensing
The Musical Company

New York, New York

Kim Rogers

Kim Rogers

Kim Rogers currently serves as Vice President of Amateur Licensing for The Musical Company in New York, NY. She is a National Board Member for the Educational Theatre Foundation.

Mark Weinstein

Mark Weinstein

Hilton, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Partnerships

McLean, Virginia

Mark Weinstein

Mark Weinstein

Mark Weinstein serves as senior vice president and global head of customer engagement, loyalty, and partnerships at Hilton, the world’s most hospitable company, comprising more than 4,900 hotels across 14 world-class brands in 104 countries and territories.

In this role, Mark inspires customers to explore, experience, and fall in love with Hilton by creating innovative programs, products, and partnerships that drive engagement and accelerate commercial performance. He leads customer experience, strategic partnerships, CRM and personalization, and Hilton Honors, Hilton’s 61-plus million member strong, award-winning guest-loyalty program. Mark oversees Hilton’s global partnership strategy, curating a network of over 140 travel, financial services, music, entertainment, sports, and food and wine strategic partners and managing the Hilton Honors credit card programs.

Under Mark’s leadership, Hilton launched Music Happens Here—featuring once-in-a-lifetime exclusive experiences for Hilton Honors members and content created with partners Live Nation, The Recording Academy (the Grammys), and Spotify. At Hilton, Mark’s previous areas of responsibility included commercial services (marketing, sales, revenue/pricing, digital, and analytics) strategy. He also established and led the Global Marketing Project Management Center of Excellence. Mark joined Hilton Worldwide from MarketBridge, a sales and marketing strategy consulting firm and prior to that consulted for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

He graduated from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith of Business with degrees in finance and marketing.

Preston Whiteway

Preston Whiteway

Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Executive Director

Waterford, Connecticut

Preston Whiteway

Preston Whiteway

Preston Whiteway was appointed executive director in January 2007, after serving the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s general manager since 2004. He is now leading the venerable and vital institution and its many national programs into the future.

Under his leadership, the O’Neill was awarded the 2010 Regional Theater Tony Award. Since 2005, the O’Neill’s budget has grown by 110%, with especially strong earned revenue growth in his time. Significant projects developed at the O’Neill in Preston’s tenure include: In the Heights (2005); [title of show] (2005); The Receptionist (2006); Tales of the City (2009); The Happiest Song Plays Last (2011); The Nether (2013); Ugly Lies The Bone (2014); and others.

While at the O’Neill, Preston has secured a new 60-year lease of the grounds for the organization, gained significant facility investments and repairs to every building, and completed the largest expansion in the organization’s history. Housing 65 new students and faculty across nine new buildings, the new construction includes rehearsal and bed spaces for the O’Neill’s new National Music Theater Institute. A division of the undergraduate National Theater Institute (NTI), the program trains students for one semester in an intensive curriculum across every discipline in musical theatre.

For the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2014, Preston negotiated a major book release from Yale University Press, resulting in The O’Neill: The Transformation of Modern American Theater by Jeffrey Sweet. Preston also acted as photography editor for the edition. He additionally secured a four-month exhibition at the New York Library for the Performing Arts entitled “Launchpad of the American Theater: The O’Neill Since 1964.” Both projects chart the enormous role the O’Neill has played in shaping the American theatre landscape—its artists, the canon of work, and innovating new forms.

Preston joined the O’Neill upon graduating from Duke University, where he received his B.A. in economics. While at Duke, Preston served as the Chair of Broadway at Duke, leading and managing the major arts presenting organization, bringing national touring Broadway shows to the Durham, North Carolina, campus. Since coming to the O’Neill, he has served on panels at Duke University, Babson University, Theater Communications Group, and has been profiled in The New York Times and Hartford Courant and on CBS Sunday Morning. He serves as a chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, and trustee of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, Preston was named to a three-year term to the nominating committee of the Tony Awards. A native of Virginia, Preston lives in New London, Connecticut.