Carmine Tabone, Executive Director of the Team, has been leading theater and education projects with young people since 1970. He has documented the effectiveness theater arts integration can have on academic and social student outcomes in a series of articles. The first, on "Pop-Up Puppet Theater,” noted that the language arts test scores for over two thousand 4th grade students increased by 36.6% in one year on NJ State standardized testing. Results from three USDOE Arts-in-Education grants (2005-2014) showed that arts integration significantly improved academic outcomes for over fifteen hundred 2nd to 7th grade students. In 2010 Carmine and three researchers from Seton Hall University received the American Alliance for Theater and Education Research Award for their work on these projects. Carmine has also co-authored a book on drama education activities, as well as three handbooks with team teaching artists.
Mary Graham Aiken, also known as Miss Mary, is one of the original members of Educational Arts Team which was founded in 1974. She graduated from Ferris High School in Jersey City and took drama classes at Jersey City State College. She was also the recipient of a scholarship with the Negro Ensemble Acting School in New York City. Miss Mary's career has taken given her opportunities in a variety of fields. Mary formed two organizations, called Dambella Models and one called Arts Drama Club. She was a style columnist for a Jersey City magazine called From Dusk Til Dawn, contributing to a column called "Beauty Tips". She has also taught modeling and grooming at the Jersey City YWCA.Miss Mary has been working with children for over 50 years, giving workshops in schools, day cares, libraries, churches, and many other organizations. She teaches music, art and crafts, storytelling, sign language, and performs in puppet shows. Miss Mary is a Jersey City favorite and beloved member of the team.
Robert "Bob" Albrecht received his masters from the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate from New York University and he has published numerous articles relating to the role of music and the arts in education and culture. As a musician, Bob has written hundreds of songs and has performed with diverse groups, all the way from street corner doo-wop to Camp songs with children in Jersey City to Brazilian jazz. As a teacher, Bob was an early member of the Educational Arts Team and has worked at Camp Liberty since 1982 where he coordinates the music and recreation program. Bob is also a tenured professor of media arts at New Jersey City University where he teaches classes in the history and social impact of media. In 2014, he produced a CD of children’s songs entitled Sing Along with Camp Liberty. Recently, Bob represented the Educational Arts Team at an international conference in Italy where he presented a paper outlining the importance of educational arts in the age of digital technology.
Roxy Arrojo has worked with Educational Arts Team for over fifteen years. She graduated from New Jersey City University with a BA in Musical Theatre. Roxy brings a specialty in dance and movement to our program, helping develop kinesthetic activities for mind-body awareness, as well as activities using visual symbolism and physical representation. Her personal interest in Young Adult Literature has given her a special insight into character motivations and relationships, important elements of our Bringing Literature to Life series as well as our Drug Prevention program in the 6th and 7th grades.
Danny Bacher graduated in 2001 from New Jersey City University with degrees in Theater/English and Music. After graduation, he was hired by the award-winning theater troupe, The Irondale Ensemble Project based in NYC. Danny, along with his brother Josh, was asked to join the EAT in 2007 as writers and performers of an after-school puppet program for CASPER. Danny also began working as a full-time staff member at Camp Liberty, lending his expertise in drama, comedy, improv, and puppetry to the youth of Jersey City each summer. In addition to this, he has been a teaching artist with EAT for over five years, working with grades 2-5 throughout the Jersey City public school system.
Dom Buccafusco has worked with the team, since 1980 as a drama workshop leader. He received an MA in Educational Theatre from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, and a BA in English/Theatre from Jersey City State College. He also attended the New School for Social Research where he studied Television Production and Acting for the stage and screen. For twenty-five years Dom worked as an adjunct instructor in theater at New Jersey City University for the Department of Music, Dance & Theater. His directorial work includes a wide range of theatrical genres including plays, musicals, and opera.
Teresa Calves, Program Administrator, joined the Educational Arts Team in 2016. She graduated from Columbia University with an M.A. in Arts Administration and a B.A. in Theater/Writing from Drew University. She has worked at various theater companies in New Jersey and New York such as George Street Playhouse, Horse Trade Theater, Rising Sun Performance Company, Lark Play Development Center, Primary Stages, and Girl Be Heard. Before graduate school, Teresa was the Business Manager for a performing arts school in New Jersey. Teresa’s theater experience includes playwriting, stage management, patron services, and dramaturgy. She is passionate about making the arts accessible to all children.
Dina Ciborowski has been a teaching artist for over 18 years in both New York and New Jersey, 10 of those years with Educational Arts Team. She also works as an actress in the theatre with an emphasis on Improvisational Performance. Dina’s acting credits include off off-Broadway, cabaret theatre, and a number of independent films. She has also toured with theatre companies performing in NYC, Toronto, and Massachusetts. Her facility with role-play and improv was instrumental in the creation of our Hand Puppet program, which helps 2nd and 3rd graders develop characters and improvise problem-solution plot lines.
Dani Kopoulos joined the Educational Arts Team in 2010. She received an MA in Creative Writing from New School University in New York, and a BA in multi-media performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her hometown. Dani is an award-winning solo performance artist and published writer of poetry and creative non-fiction. She has also been a teaching artist for over 15 years, leading drama, writing, and movement workshops in schools and community centers in Chicago, New York and New Jersey.
Originally from Vermont, Peter Labrusciano has worked with the Educational Arts Team since 2001. He graduated from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education with an MA in Educational Theater, and received a BA in Theater Arts from The University of Iowa. For eleven years Peter appeared in professional theater productions in Vermont and Iowa. Peter is also an accomplished visual artist, creating masks, scenery, and large-scale puppets that are both skillfully rendered and highly imaginative.