Who We Are
Who We Are
SIG Officers

Joy G. Bertling, Chair

Chair  5/1/2022 - 4/30/2024

Joy G. Bertling is assistant professor of art education at the University of Tennessee and principal investigator on The Data Visualization Project, a project funded by the United States Department of Education. Her research engages with critical place-based art education and other arts-based ecopedagogies including how they can intersect with data visualization practices. She has published articles in various peer-reviewed journals including Studies in Art Education, International Journal of Education through Art, International Journal of Education & the Arts, and Art Education. Her recent research article, “A Portrait of Environmental Integration in United States K-12 Art Education,” was published in Environmental Education Research. In addition to serving as chair of the American Educational Research Association’s Arts and Learning Special Interest Group, she currently serves as founding chair of the National Art Education Association’s Ecology and Environment Interest Group. She also currently serves on the editorial boards of Art Education and Arts Education Policy Review.



Amanda Claudia Wager, Immediate Past Chair

Immediate Past Chair  5/1/2022 - 4/30/2024

Amanda Claudia Wager, PhD, is a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Community-Engaged Research and Professor in the Faculty of Education at Vancouver Island University in Canada. As an interdisciplinary scholar, she practices community-engaged research, pedagogy, and scholarship that encompasses literacies, languages, and the arts with local youth, families, and communities. Her participatory research methodologies and pedagogies are informed by over 20 years of experience as a trilingual/literate/cultural educator. Her research program supports the arc: A Centre for Art, Research and Community, created and run by and for youth. Amanda has published multiple journal articles and co-edited/authored three books using art as a form of advocacy, Engaging youth in critical arts pedagogies and creative research for social justice, Art as a way of talking for emergent bilingual youth and The reading turn-around with emergent bilinguals. https://research.viu.ca/dr-amanda-wager



Matt Omasta, Program Chair

Program Chair  5/1/2022 - 4/30/2024

Matt Omasta is Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre at Miami University of Ohio. The author of many books and articles related to the arts and education, he has been recognized with the Founders Award from the Educational Research Association; the Johnny Saldana Outstanding Professor of Theatre Education Award, Lin Wright Special Recognition Award, and Research Award from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE); as well as Teacher of the Year, Mentor of the Year, and Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Awards from Utah State University. Dr. Omasta teaches courses in drama pedagogy, theatre for young audiences, applied theatre, and theory history, literature, theory, and criticism.  Dr. Omasta is an active leader in national organizations and has served on AATE’s Board of Directors, the American Society for Theatre Research’s Executive Committee, and as Program Chair of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)'s Arts & Learning Special Interest Group.



Sarah Travis, Secretary/Treasurer

Secretary/Treasurer  5/1/2021 - 4/30/2023

Sarah Travis is an Assistant Professor in Art Education in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Travis has a BA in Art Studio and African and African Diaspora Studies from Tulane University, an MA in Art Education from the University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in Art Education from the University of North Texas. She uses qualitative research methods to examine issues around the sociocultural identities and experiences of artists, art students, and art educators. She received the 2019 Elliot Eisner Doctoral Research Award from the National Art Education Association for her dissertation, Portraits of Young Artists: Artworlds, In/Equity, and Dis/Identification in Post-Katrina New Orleans. She is the co-editor of Pedagogies in the Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Differences in Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and has published articles in Art Education, Studies in Art Education, The Urban Review, International Journal of Education & the Arts, and Journal for Cultural Research in Art Education. Dr. Travis serves as an Editorial Review Board member for the journals of Art Education, Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, and the International Journal of Education Through Art.



Mary McAvoy, Awards Chair

Awards Chair 5/1/2021 - 4/30/2023

Mary McAvoy is an associate professor in the School of Music, Dance, and Theatre. Her research and creative practice focus on histories of theatre and drama in educational contexts; performance pedagogy and activism (particularly in US labor movements); educational theatre/drama, theatre teacher preparation, and teaching artistry; radical and experimental performance in youth cultures; and arts education policy.

She is the author of Rehearsing Revolutions: The Labor Drama Experiment and Radical Activism in the Early Twentieth Century (University of Iowa Press - Studies in Theatre History and Culture; 2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title; George Freedley Memorial Award Finalist), the co-author of Drama and Education: Performance Methodologies for Teaching and Learning (Routledge) and co-editor of Youth and Performance: Perceptions of the Contemporary Child (OLMS). She is also co-editor (with Professor Peter O'Connor, University of Auckland) of the forthcoming "Routledge Companion to Drama in Education." Her articles have appeared in Youth Theatre JournalThe Journal of American Drama and TheatreArts Education Policy Review, and various edited collections. She serves on the editorial board for multiple journals and has guest edited Youth Theatre Journal (Special Topic: Intercultural Exchange). She has also presented master classes and professional development in theatre teaching and theatre arts curriculum integration in the US, Russia, and China. 

She teaches courses in theatre history, research methods, and theatre teaching methods preK-16+ in both the undergraduate and graduate theatre programs. In addition, she directs the theatre education teacher certification programs and serves as the faculty coordinator for community engagement programming connected with the Music, Dance and Theatre season. She is also a director and dramaturge.



Maddie N. Zdeblick, Graduate Student Representative, Newsletter Co-Editor

Graduate Student Representative, Newsletter Co-Editor 5/1/2022 - 4/30/2024

Maddie N. Zdeblick (she/her) is a Seattle-based teaching artist, director, and PhD student in education at the University of Washington in Seattle. In research and practice, Maddie is passionate about Disability Justice, educational equity, and innovating new theatrical forms in partnership with students of all ages and abilities. She is also founding Artistic Director of Parachute Players, a multisensory, immersive theatre company, and program manager of Dandylyon Drama’s Creative Adaptive Performance Ensemble (CAPE). Maddie holds a degree in Theatre and Sociology from Northwestern University, with a focus in Theatre for Young Audiences, and is a 2019 graduate of the Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab.



Beatrice Carey, Newsletter Co-Editor

Newsletter Co-Editor 5/1/2022 - 4/30/2024


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