With 20 years experience as a Theatre Educator and Musical Theatre Director, Elissa Marks Marele is thrilled to be a part of the Theatre Faculty at Dekalb School of the Arts. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre Education from The University of South Florida and a Masters of Education in Interdisciplinary Arts from Nova Southeastern University. Elissa is an Award Winning Artistic Director with alumni living and working as professional theatre actors, directors, and composers in New York, Georgia, and Florida. Elissa was most recently the Middle Learning Theatre Teacher and Musical Director at The Galloway School. From 2010 - 2016, she was the Artistic Director of the Musical Theatre Company at Woodland High School’s Performing Arts Program. Elissa grew up in South Florida where she trained at Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre. It was there that she fell in love with directing and knew she wanted to become a drama teacher. Before she moved to Atlanta, Elissa was the Drama Director at Pope John Paul II High School (currently Saint Paul II Academy) in Boca Raton, FL and was actively involved in Florida State Thespians and the South Florida Cappies Program. Elissa was awarded the Teacher's Creative Innovation Award in 2018 and her productions have been recognized with Shuler Hensley nominations, Cappies nominations and awards, as well as Critics Choice honors in both Florida and Georgia. In addition to teaching and directing, Elissa writes Show Study Guides for Stage Agent and Theatre Curriculum & Blogs for Stage Agent for Schools. She is also continuing her work in Arts Education through the South Fulton Institute’s National Leadership Council where she has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of underserved communities.