A+ fellows clapping and smiling during an exercise

A+ Schools of N.C. selects 12 new apprentice fellows

Author: Jennifer Huggins

A+ Schools of North Carolina provides high-quality professional development to A+ educators through skilled facilitators known as A+ Fellows. Every other year, a new cohort of Apprentice Fellows is selected following a comprehensive application and training process. Apprentice Fellows spend at least one year shadowing veteran A+ Fellows, observing professional development sessions, and learning the unique processes of A+ implementation.

This spring, 10 Apprentice Fellows from N.C. were selected to join the work of A+ Schools, and two Apprentice Fellows from Texas began their training to support the three A+ schools located in Arlington, TX. The newest cohort brings a wide range of experience and expertise in the arts and education. Meet our A+ Apprentice Fellows:


Erim Akpan

Erim Akpan is a teaching artist, writer, storyteller, and jester based in Durham, N.C. A prolific writer, Erim has amassed more than 40 publications and currently serves as a staff writer for Chatham Life & Style magazine. Her work has been seen live and virtually by more than 20,000 students. When not performing, Erim enjoys teaching workshops that empower students to share their stories with the world. As a jester, she also enjoys creating safe spaces where others can share ideas, tap into their inner genius, and collaborate as they engage in the creative process.


Jordan Clifton

Jordan Clifton is an actor, director, and arts educator from Raleigh. He is currently theatre director at Broughton Magnet High School in Wake County and works with South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, supporting literacy efforts through drama integration and research in K-5 schools across the state. Jordan also teaches and directs at The North Carolina Theatre Conservatory. His recent performance credits include Sister Act (North Carolina Theatre), 9 to 5, Legally Blonde (Barn Dinner Theatre), Rudolph (Broadway Series South), Hairspray (Temple Theatre), and La Boheme (North Carolina Opera). Jordan is a graduate of Catawba College with post baccalaureate training at The Open Jar Institute of NYC and East Carolina University. He is a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow and will share his love of arts education in India in July 2023.


Ginger Huebner

Ginger Huebner is a visual artist, art educator, and creative facilitator with a Bachelor of Architecture and a master’s degree in teaching visual art. Ginger founded Roots + Wings School of Art and Design in Asheville in 2009 where innovative art and design education programs are offered for all ages across the community. Through her Create + Connect Experiences, she helps people have conversations in new ways by accessing their voices and stories, revealing ideas and emotions that are often beyond words. Ginger is the coordinator and a teaching artist for the Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Area Schools (TAPAAS) program of the Asheville City Schools Foundation. She serves as visual art advisor to PBS for their online learning platform, arts curriculum development, and “Pinkalicious” series. In 2022, Ginger presented a TED Talk about her work cultivating authentic connection through creativity.


Kathy Keber

Kathy Keber is a K-12 theatre and music educator in Winston-Salem, N.C. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Master of Public Administration degree with a graduate certificate in arts management from the College of Charleston. Kathy served in the classroom throughout the Charleston, S.C., area for nearly a decade and worked as a director, designer, and actor across the Lowcountry. Spreading her passion for theatre education in the non-profit sector, Kathy served as director of education for the Steel River Playhouse in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.


Lindsey Lloyd

Lindsey Lloyd grew up in North Texas and graduated from Texas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies. In 2017, Lindsey earned her master’s in advanced literacy from Concordia University. Lindsey currently teaches English at Gunn Junior High, an A+ school in Arlington, Texas. She has spent the last nine years working in schools focused on fine arts and dual language education. Lindsey serves as a team lead and coordinates professional developments in classroom management and technological innovations.


Ashley Suttlar Martin

Ashley Suttlar Martin, a Charlotte-based teaching artist, holds an MFA in dance from Temple University and a BFA in dance performance and choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been involved in arts-integration programs for various school systems and community outreach organizations. Ashley developed and implemented the dance minor curriculum at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, and was a contributing author of the 2020 Dance Curriculum Guide for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She has served on the faculty of several colleges, universities, and performing arts schools in N.C. and S.C. Ashley has also danced professionally for companies based in Philadelphia and New York City, and her work has been presented nationwide. She is currently a faculty member at Charlotte Ballet.


Darlene J. McClinton

Darlene J. McClinton is a muralist, a creative community consultant, and an arts educator at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Darlene received her undergraduate degree in visual arts and design from N.C. A&T University and a Master of Fine Arts from Howard University. As a former arts integration facilitator for Guilford County Schools, Darlene championed inclusivity, encouraging a creative work environment that empowers students, teachers, and communities. Darlene's public artwork and community engagement initiatives are designed to bridge gaps through education, reminding and influencing generations to understand the past, present, and future. 


Laura Mitchell

Laura Mitchell is the arts education specialist for Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, N.C. A former middle school visual arts educator, Laura is a National Board-certified teacher in early adolescence through young adult art. She earned her master’s in art education from Western Carolina University and her BFA in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia. Laura was recently awarded the 2023 National Art Education Association Southeastern Region Supervision and Administration Art Educator of the Year award, and she was previously named the 2018 North Carolina Art Education Association Middle Level Art Educator of the Year. She holds her Global Educator Digital Badge and has participated in educator programs to Kenya, South Africa, and Japan. Laura loves creating community partnerships in the arts and making curriculum connections for educators across disciplines and grade levels.


Conni Burke Mulligan

Conni Burke Mulligan earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master's degree in instructional technology. She has worked for Transylvania County Schools, Buncombe County Schools, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and is currently teaching in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a technology facilitator. Conni is the owner, performer, and builder for Dancing Hand Puppets. Conni has presented at various state, national, and international festivals, conferences, and workshops focusing on seamless technology integration as well as puppetry for all types of audiences (puppeteers, K-12 administrators, teachers, students) across all curricular areas. As a technology integration specialist and a professional puppeteer, Conni focuses on blending various uses of technology with traditional puppetry storytelling techniques.


Kyle Garrison Shawell

Kyle Garrison Shawell is a choreographer, performer, and dance educator in the Charlotte area. He received his training at the University of Arts, Theatre West Virginia, and the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts (Philadanco). He holds a bachelor’s degree in performance, choreography, and theory from The University of North Carolina Charlotte. Kyle uses his knowledge and experience in diverse movement styles to engage various communities with dance. He has been a guest dance educator for Charlotte Ballet, North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, and several schools and universities throughout North and South Carolina. In 2022, Kyle was accepted into the University of North Carolina Greensboro Master of Arts Dance Education (MADE) program.


Samantha Uribe

After earning her bachelor's degree in arts education from Texas Tech University in 2013, Samantha Uribe began her career as a visual arts teacher in Arlington, Texas. After a short break to work on a cruise ship, she worked for seven years as the 2D visual arts teacher at Corey Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language, an A+ school. In 2023, Samantha began working as the arts integration facilitator for all three A+ schools in Arlington, Texas, promoting, coaching, and coordinating arts integration efforts for two elementary schools and a middle school. When Samantha is not working, she enjoys painting and spending quality time with her husband and two daughters.


William vonReichbauer

William vonReichbauer is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer who performs throughout the United States. He frequently partners with artists from other disciplines to create works for dance, theater, and film and he was a two-time cast member and teaching artist with the Open Dream Ensemble. For the past seven years, William taught mathematics, music, and science to middle and high school students at Xavier Academy, Gateway Academy, and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Houston, TX. He is excited to return to Durham, N.C., after a decade in Texas.

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