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Brighter Connections Theatre, Inc., is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in the State of Ohio and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns for the board, or are interested in volunteering as a board member, please email info@brighterconnectionstheatre.comThe organization files the IRS Form 990-N. Please click on this GuideStar Seal of Transparency for financial and additional Brighter Connections Theatre, Inc. information.

Kathryn (Katie) O'Leary - President and Founder

Katie O'Leary graduated in 2011 from Vandalia-Butler High School and in 2015 from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's degree in Intervention Services for Moderate to Intensive Disabilities and a minor in Theatre. In 2013, Katie created Brighter Connections Theatre  to conduct an Honors research project  focused on the positive effects theatre can have on children with autism.  She has served as the organization's President and Program Director since its inception. Katie is currently a Special Education teacher for Columbus City Schools.

Ruth Love - Board Secretary

Ruth Love is a native of the Miami Valley, growing up in Xenia and now living in Huber Heights.  Ruth has a B.A. in Music Performance from Berea College.  She has worked for MetLife Auto & Home since 1999, where she currently holds a position as a Compliance Analyst.  Her son Will has been a Brighter Connections Theatre cast member since the group was founded in 2013.

Carolyn Krug - Board Treasurer

Carolyn Krug received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University. She has worked in engineering and management roles at AT&T, Procter & Gamble, and General Motors, and in a client support role at the Life Resource Center in Dayton. She is currently a substitute teacher at St. Albert the Great School. Carolyn and her husband John have three adult children and live in Kettering with their fourth child who has participated in Brighter Connections Theatre since it was founded in 2013.

Michelle Hayford - Board Member

Michelle Hayford is the Director of the University of Dayton Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program.  She came to the University of Dayton in Fall 2014 from Florida Gulf Coast University, where she served as Theatre Program Leader and Assistant Director of the Bower School of Music, Theatre & Visual Art.  Michelle holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.  Her original creative scholarship combines her passions of creating live plays with utilizing the craft of theatre as a necessary response to community and civic engagement.  Previous original works include Sustenance (2016) created in collaboration with the Hanley Sustainability Institute, Dog Wish (2013) commissioned by The Humane Society of the United States and Suit My Heart (2011) created in collaboration with Footsteps to the Future, a foster youth non-profit.  Michelle is proud to have worked with her colleagues to realize a new vision for the Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program that aligns with the mission and values of UD.

Meghan Henning - Board Member

Meghan Henning is the Assistant Professor of Christian Origins at the University of Dayton. She specializes in New Testament and Early Christianity, and holds an undergraduate degree in Religion and Economics from Denison University, a Masters degree in Biblical Studies from Yale Divinity School, and a doctorate in New Testament from Emory University.  Meghan’s book (Mohr Siebeck) on the pedagogical function of Hell in antiquity is entitled "Educating Early Christians through the Rhetoric of Hell."  She has written several articles, essays, and invited papers on Hell, the New Testament, apocalyptic literature, apocryphal literature, and Disability Studies.  In addition to the New Testament she is interested in the theme of bodily suffering in antiquity, women in early Christianity, Petrine literature, historiography, contemporary philosophy, the work of Michel Foucault, Disability Studies, feminist hermeneutics, and post-colonial theory.  She is the recipient of grants and awards from the Jacob K. Javits foundation, the Society of Biblical Literature, Yale Divinity School, and Emory University and has appeared in a documentary for the National Geographic Channel and on CNN.

Steven C. Katchman - Board Member

Steven Katchman has served on the board of directors for Brighter Connections Theater since 2017.  Mr. Katchman’s son, Gabe, performed that year and it was this introduction to the production that caused a greater interest in BCT.  Mr. Katchman was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.  He graduated from Centerville High School in 1978.  Mr. Katchman then graduated from the University of Cincinnati obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree.  He then graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law obtaining his Juris Doctor degree.  Mr. Katchman has been practicing law in Dayton, Ohio since 1990.  He is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Dayton Bar Association, and the American Bankruptcy Law Forum.  Mr. Katchman resides in Washington Township with his wife Nika, son Gabriel, and daughter Hillary. 

Amy Handra - Advisory Council Member

Amy Handra is the Assistant Director of Education and Engagement for Victoria Theatre Association (VTA).  As an educational leader, Amy’s mission is to make the arts accessible to all citizens.  At VTA, she worked to help create the first sensory-friendly performance held at the Victoria Theatre.  She also oversees the Teen Usher & Ambassador Program, creates workshops, resource material, and education and engagement programming, and organizes the annual charitable drive.  Amy earned an MS in Teaching from the University of Dayton and has taught theatre courses and workshops for the University of Alabama, Sinclair Community College, Kettering Fairmont High School, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Town Hall Theatre.  Amy is also an award-winning actress who holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Alabama, and a BFA in Acting from Wright State University.  She has performed internationally, regionally, and Off-Broadway. 

Gary Minyard - Advisory Council Member

As an educational leader, Gary believes that participation in the arts is an essential component of every citizen’s well-being. At Victoria Theatre Association, he has created many community-based arts initiatives including Superhero Girls Like Me, Motown in the Gem City, Radio Waves, and Guitars: A Bridge To Broadway. Gary is also an award-winning director and movement choreographer who graduated with an MFA in Theatre for Youth and Directing from Arizona State University. Gary also studied at the University of Houston and trained at the L'Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Gary is currently the Past President of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE). He is a founding member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Arts Alliance (EPAA), an active member of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA-USA), the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and Theatre Communications Group (TCG). He has also toured extensively as an actor, director, and teaching artist through 48 of our 50 states with several professional theatre companies

Michael Krug - Advisory Council Member

Michael Krug is a Certified Public Accountant and works at the University of Dayton as the Director of Budgets and Operations for Academic Affairs.  Mike is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds an MBA from the University of Dayton.  He has past experience in public accounting at Deloitte, as Controller and Treasurer of Lastar, Inc. and has served on the boards of various local non-profit organizations.  Mike was very proud to see a whole new side of his nephew in the 2017 summer theatre program performance at BCT and is pleased to serve the organization with financial, audit and tax advice.

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