VPA welcomes new teachers


The Catalyst / Mia Muzzi

Thiesen teaches his Art I class.

This fall, NDB gave a warm welcome to new Visual Performing Art staff, Gary Stanford and Mark Thiesen.

Thiesen teaches Art I, Art II/III, Graphic Design I/II, Video Production I/II and Photography I/II for NDB. He got his masters degree in fine arts with a specialty in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. He then taught classes there for almost 20 years, before coming to NDB. After meeting his new students and spending some time with them, Thiesen was very eager to kick things off.

“I am thrilled to be here and it’s very different but this is such a warm, welcoming community, it’s incredible,” Thiesen said. “Everybody’s trying to help out, which is a huge plus.”

Stanford is NDB’s new Musical Theater teacher. Stanford started doing musical theater as a freshman in high school, just like his students. Since then he has been in over 80 productions such as “Les Miserables”, “Oklahoma”, and “Into the Woods” as an actor, director, choreographer, and producer. He hopes to bring his expertise into the classroom and help the students gain more knowledge and experience in musical theater.

“My goals for the students are to be performance ready for musical theater companies or BFA programs that feature musical theater students,” Stanford said. “So just being able to capture and learn all the skills needed to audition, perform, and do stuff behind the scenes.”

“I love all the students, they’re so enthusiastic and we’re learning a lot so far.”

— Gary Stanford

Stanford is excited for the school year and was impressed by his students’ enthusiasm in musical theater.

“Being able to be on campus and have my own classes here is absolutely amazing,” he said. “I love all the students, they’re so enthusiastic and we’re learning a lot so far.”

Thiesen and Stanford encourage their students to work hard and express themselves through their diverse passions. It is clear how much they already care about their students, even in the little time they have known them. NDB is grateful to have both new teachers here and the community is excited to see what they have planned for the 2021-2022 school year.