Behind the Scenes

Gretchen Anthony is Arts Administrator/Program Coordinator for Teaching Artists ROC, draws on decades of experience in contract work in events/stage management (including Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and NY City Fashion Week) and experience as a teaching artist in the NY City area. A Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, skills in Curriculum Design, Facilitation, Stage/Production Management, Events Planning and related fields plus the ability to creatively brainstorm are now being used to support the Read Along Road project.

Heidi Schwittek Barnes is a Literacy Specialist with Wayne County Literacy Volunteers. Her areas of focus include Reading Fundamentals, High School Equivalency, English as a New Language, and Job Attainment Skills. English Speaking Practice Groups in 2 locations and sponsorship/support of several public library programs are her initiatives. She brings two decades of business experience in the private sector as a Skill Trainer to this position as well. With degrees in Photography and Television Production additional knowledge and project support are brought to the table for this video series. This newest venture is a natural next step for Heidi in a career motivated by helping people cultivate the skills they need to succeed in life beyond the workplace.

Kelly Cheatle specializes in visual storytelling and is a materials and process maven. She believes that shared wonder encourages curiosity and can build community by sparking connection. Kelly’s creative projects are explorations in scale, fabrication, and production including massive multi-story installations built entirely from balloons, miniature crocheted sculptures small enough to sit comfortably on a penny, fantastically detailed cut paper illustrations, and stop-motion animated oreos. A graphic designer/illustrator by trade, Kelly enjoys any opportunity to enhance learning through experiential, multimedia, and print design.

Larry Moss

Larry Moss uses his Masters in Teaching & Curriculum in a variety of ways as Executive Director of Teaching Artists ROC and as Creative Director of Airigami.  He brings a combined life-long interest in performing arts, visual arts, and technology to the Read Along Road project. Larry fostered the development of Teaching Artists ROC from a grassroots gathering to a thriving and innovative community of teaching artists that serves the Rochester, NY area. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Larry has been guiding TAROC artists through the challenges and opportunities provided by virtual stages and digital learning. Because typical venues and auditoriums have closed, development of new virtual projects and offerings have been his focus. His technical expertise has preserved and transformed works by cherished performers that can now be shared with home audiences and classrooms beyond his home of Western New York.

George Muiruri is a studio artist and recent graduate from the University of Rochester. His skills as a video producer are now being used to assist Teaching Artists ROC in creating new online content. From attending production meetings and setting up shoots, through the final editing process, he is busy in our studio making our artists shine.

Derek Poole

Derek Poole is the Family Literacy Coordinator with Literacy Volunteers of Wayne County. He is a Literacy Specialist who works with children and their families in Wayne County, NY. His reading initiatives include 3 programs that tackle gaps in literacy in high needs communities.  Most notable among these is "Our Community Reads" which teams with local elementary schools to provide weekly reading in classrooms. The second is “Evening Family Fun Literacy Nights” that provides modeling for parents and grandparents along with book giveaways. Celebrating its 13th year is the third program "Wayne County Books from Birth" at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital. This program provides all newborns with an Early Literacy packet including a board copy of Goodnight Moon, by Helen Wise Brown and information in English and Spanish to help read to your infant. Poole has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Goddard College and is a Certified School Counselor.


Almeta Whitis is a storyteller, writer, poet and teaching artist, whose life work involves exploring, presenting and honoring cultural connections between people. She is a published author and a member of Just Poets. Her poems are featured in their anthology: Le Mot Juster 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Jenn Kim

Korean-American flutist, Hyesu (Jenn) Kim, is a current student pursuing a Bachelor's degree in flute performance in Rochester, New York at the Eastman School of Music with Bonita Boyd, an active concert soloist and professor. At Eastman, Ms.Kim holds recitals and regularly performs with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Wind Orchestra, and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. Ms. Kim attributes her musical passion to her family and friends. In her free time, She likes to scrapbook, and vlog with her friends.

Kevin Kinney with harp

Kevin Kinney has been playing the Irish harp and Irish flute since he was 18, specializing in the ancient-style wire-strung harp of Ireland. In addition to performing in the lyrical melodies for which the harp is famous, Dr. Kinney also takes great pleasure in playing lively jigs and reels from Ireland, Scotland and the rest of the British Isles on harp, flute and tinwhistle. Kevin has played at events of all sizes, from small weddings to concert halls of several thousand people, including with the Hendricks Symphonic Society and twice as a guest of The Chieftains.  He has received universal praise for his style, both as a solo performer and in conjunction with other traditional musicians.  In "real life," he is Professor Kinney, teaching biology at DePauw University in Indiana, and conducting research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology- the interaction of the brain with the immune system.