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Faculty Bios

Mary Mitchell-Donahue
Mary Mitchell-Donahue
Fine Arts Department Chair, Theatre Teacher
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Mrs. Donahue, Theatre Director at Bishop McNamara, serves as the Fine Arts Department Chairman. She currently teaches Introduction to Theatre and Acting, and offers Great Stages of Theatre and Senior Seminar. Past productions that she has directed for BMHS include: Les Miserables, South Pacific, The Crucible, Guys and Dolls, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sweeney Todd, and Pride and Prejudice. Last year she produced the original musical, Golden Door.

She holds a Master Degree in Directing and Acting from the University of Maryland, College Park, and has 30 years of theatrical experience in the Washington area. She has taught and directed at The Catholic University of America, Georgetown University, University of Maryland, and the College of Southern Maryland.

Mrs. Donahue's theatrical philosophy has been influenced by the works of Constantin Stanislavski, Viola Spolin and Arthur Lessac. Her favorite quotation is: "Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art." Constantin Stanislavski.

Most Memorable Artistic Moment: I directed an original play at Georgetown University, based on the stories of O. Henry. The cast created the script through a series of directed improvisations, with original music scoring the entire play. The experience was that of an ensemble company working together artistically, culminating in a theatrical production.

Most Memorable Teaching Moment: When I witness the BMHS students teaching the Middle School students in Theatre Workshop, using my exercises and vocabulary, I know that I have truly instilled my knowledge and experience in my students.

Anthony Conto
Anthony Conto
Director of Fine Arts, Director of Bands & Orchestra, Fine Arts Teacher
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Mr. Conto is a native of the Washington D.C. area and is an alum of Archdiocese of Washington affiliated schools. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education in 2001 and his Master of Music Degree in Music Education in Conducting in 2009, both from the University of Maryland. Mr. Conto has served the Bishop McNamara Community as Director of Bands since May of 2001. In recent years he has also added the title of Director of Orchestra and Fine Arts Director. Under his baton, Mr. Conto's ensembles perform all around the Washington Metropolitan area as well as out-of-state, consistently receiving numerous honors cultivating a reputation for musical excellence.

The band and orchestra program has grown from approximately 80 members to over 150 students participating in nine different performing ensembles. Mr. Conto is active in the community, Archdiocese, and state. Last year he was elected President-Elect of this Maryland Band Director's Association (MBDA,) which is the office he holds now until his promotion to President for 2012 to 2014. He has served on the board for MBDA as the State Jazz Festival Coordinator and the All State Jazz Manager for the last seven years. Mr. Conto also serves as President of the Washington Archdiocesan Music Teachers Council (WAMTC,) of which he is now finishing his third and final term (6 years.) You will also find Mr. Conto around the DC Metropolitan Area as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, festival administrator, fundraiser and freelance trumpet player.

He accredits much of his professional success to the great teachers and music directors through his educational journey along with a supportive community at Bishop McNamara.

Most Memorable Artistic Moment - I was given the honor to guest conduct the University of Maryland Wind Ensemble in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College park. The performance was in honor of the 100 year celebration of the University of Maryland Band Program.

Most Memorable Teaching Moment - In April of 2008 the Bishop McNamara Wind Ensemble was given the opportunity to perform at Andrew's Air Force Base for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. I have had to opportunity as a musician to perform for a Pope as well as a President; however this was the first time I as able to share this experience with my students. It was so great to expose them to the process of preparing to perform for such elite figures. It was great to see them get so excited about their gifts and talents.

Victor Opong Bah
Victor Opong Bah
Director of African Dance & Music, Director of Sankofa
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Victor Opong Bah is a classically trained Shakespearean actor and dancer. A native of Ghana, West Africa, he was trained from the age of seven as a dancer and drummer in the Ashanti city of Kumasi. He double-majored in dance and theater at the renowned school of the performing arts at the University of Ghana. During his college years he was recruited to be part of an elite National Dance Theatre Company known as the Abibigromma Dance Theatre: which travelled nationally and internationally to perform. He performed for a ceremonial welcoming performance for President Bill Clinton (the first US President to visit Ghana), the Emancipation Day Celebration which brought together people in African diaspora and for the African Heads of State in Tripoli, Libya. After college, Victor Bah travelled for two and a half years in Europe and Australia teaching African Cultures, Music, Dance and Film Studies.

His experiences helped him find his niche teaching the arts to young people all over the world while inculcating the need to understand and respect different cultures through the common humanity of the arts. During those years he also worked as an actor in various community theatres and briefly as a featured "extra" in a couple of Motion Pictures. He also played a season of professional soccer while in Australia. Victor Bah joined the Bishop McNamara High School community as a teacher in 2001, teaching Theater and African Music and Dance.

He is currently teaching four levels of Traditional African music and dance. He has choreographed and/or directed many Shakespearean plays and original theatrical dance productions including the ever popular Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, and six original theatrical dance productions: Africa, Spirit, Passion, Generations, Hamile and King. Victor Bah teaches dance during the weekends and he is a member of the renowned Kankouran West African Dance Company in Washington DC.

Mr. Bah's Quotation: Love until it hurts and remember to pay it forward.

Thomas DiSalvo '08
Thomas DiSalvo '08
Theater Technology , Tech Crew Moderator
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Mr. DiSalvo is the Fine Arts Technical Director at Bishop McNamara High School. He is a graduate of McNamara, and is happy to have returned to teach in Fine Arts where he was an active participant in the theater, on stage and behind it, and in band. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from The Catholic University of America where he received the award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in Drama. Mr. DiSalvo has done theatrical production work in professional theaters in the DC metro area at Taffety Punk Theater Co., Spooky Action Theater Co., and The Parlor Room Theater. In addition, he has appeared on the stage in productions at CUA, The Parlor Room Theater, The Strathmore Mansion, and The National Ballet Inc. His teaching curriculum includes: Technical Theater I & II. Mr. DiSalvo also is the moderator for the student Tech Crew. He is looking forward to working with the Tech Crew in the many remaining events in the school year.

Francine Hardy
Francine Hardy
Band Teacher
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Francine Amos Hardy is from Cheverly, MD, and she loves being a part of the BMHS family! She teaches Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Pep Band, and Percussion Ensemble.

Mrs. Hardy received her Bachelor's Degree in Oboe and Flute Performance from The Catholic University of America in 2005. Then, in 2008, she received her Master Degree in Oboe Performance from Catholic University along with completing the Teaching Certification program at CUA. For her undergraduate degree, Mrs. Hardy studied oboe with Richard White, former oboist of the NSO, and flute with John Lagerquist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. Currently, Mrs. Hardy studies oboe with Shawn Welk of The President's Own Marine Corps Band, and she is continuing her studies with John Lagerquist on the flute. She also has had the opportunity to study with the renowned British flutists Jonathan Snowden and William Bennett.

Mrs. Hardy has been playing the flute for her parish, St. Ambrose in Cheverly, MD, for 12 years. Furthermore, She is in constant demand as a free lance musician in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia metropolitan areas, and she continues to teach her private music studio of students. In addition, she has subbed with the National Philharmonic, performs with the Atlas Theatre Company, and has been a featured musician on several professional CDs such as For the Love of Ireland by Patrick Mulhern and Silent by Gylchris Sprauve.

Kathryn Heneghan
Kathryn Heneghan
Visual Arts Teacher
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Art Instructor Ms. Kate Heneghan has worked in art education since 1999.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing and printmaking from St. John’s University, NY and an MA in Art Education from the University of MD.  In addition, she has studied mixed media and art history in Rome, Italy. 
 
As an educator, Ms. Heneghan was a member of an advisory group for the Library of Congress, facilitated workshops for the Washington Revels and The Living Stage—both Washington DC theater outreach groups—and provided instruction for the Rockville Arts Place and Gallery One.
 
While a teacher first and foremost, Ms. Heneghan is also a mixed media artist in the Washington DC area.  She creates altered book sculptures available on Etsy.com and has been a member of the Capitol Hill Art League, the Torpedo Factory Art League, and the Wilson Gallery.  Outside her own art, she has dabbled in set construction and painting, theatrical performance, and sings professionally.  
 
She is married with two children of her own—both of whom love her students’ work and hope to draw like her students someday.
 
Fred Hughes
Fred Hughes
Adjunct Jazz Band Director
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Fred Hughes has performed, conducted and presented workshops nationally and internationally for over three decades.  His early training includes keyboards and low brass in community bands and jazz ensembles across his home state of Pennsylvania.  By age 25, Fred had long been recognized as an up and coming conductor and world class jazz pianist for his work with the First Army Band, Fort Meade, Maryland and the Eighth Army Band in Seoul, Korea.

In 1981, Fred formed the jazz group Just Friends and recorded six albums for Oasis/EMI Records in Seoul, Korea. Just Friends performed for sold out houses and to live radio and television broadcasts throughout the Korean Peninsula.  During the same period, Fred served as the rehearsal conductor and jazz coach for the MBC Pops Orchestra in Seoul, Korea.

Fred returned to his native Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1985 and performed throughout the eastern U.S. with his jazz trio, Alternative, before joining the United States Army’s premier touring jazz ensemble, the Jazz Ambassadors.  As pianist and soloist for the Jazz Ambassadors, Hughes performed in all fifty states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Europe and at such prestigious jazz festivals as the Newport, Montreux, Nice and North Sea Jazz Festivals.

An avid educator, Fred has taught at the middle and high school levels and was Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at Shepherd College.  He has presented workshops and clinics at conferences for the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), Music Educators National Conference (MENC), Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA), Texas Bandmasters Association (TBA) and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.  His book, The Jazz Pianist: Left Hand Voicings and Chord Theory is published by Alfred Publications.

Hughes has performed with the Baltimore and Chicago Symphony Orchestras as well as jazz greats Claudio Roditi, Al Cohn, Arturo Sandoval, Roy Hargrove, Bill Watrous, and Toots Thielemans.  As a conductor, he has directed the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Atlanta and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestras, Washington and Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and was musical director for the Three Mo’ Tenors.

Fred’s compositions appear on numerous recordings including the Fred Hughes Band’s New Day Dawning, the Fred Hughes Trio recordings Out Of The Blue, Live, No Turning Back and In Concert as well as Ricky Loza’s My Dream and the Pete BarenBregge/Frank Russo Quartet recordings PF Flyer and Point Of Grace.  His orchestrations and arrangements can be heard on the Cook, Dixon and Young PBS Great Performances Television Special Cook, Dixon and Young – In Concert as well as a compact disc of the performance distributed by RCA Victor titled Cook, Dixon and Young Volume One.

In addition to maintaining a busy performance schedule, Hughes is the conductor of the Chesapeake Bay Community Band. 

Victoria Keithline LR '90
Victoria Keithline '90
Dance Teacher
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Victoria Keithline is a native of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. She has been dancing for 34 years and teaching the art forms of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and gymnastics for 24 years. She holds an A.A from Prince George's Community College, and a B.A in Dance from the University of Maryland College Park. She is a member of the International Tap Association, Dance Educators of America and the Maryland Council for Dance. She developed and implemented the Dance Program at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md. in 1994. 

Mrs. Keithline was a featured soloist, and an associate choreographer to Karma Camp at the Kennedy Center's 2005 National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Gala with the NSO Pops and On Broadway at the Lincoln Center in New York City with the New York Philharmonic in 2008 under the direction of the world renowned conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Victoria was also an associate choreographer for Hamile, an African Dance interpretation of Hamlet, at the Lincoln Theater in Washington D.C. She performs her work in area concerts and recitals when she is not working.

She has been highly sought after to teach master classes and choreograph for many area dance studios and schools. She also choreographed musicals for several local theater groups and schools. Some of these musicals include, Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Pippen, Oliver, and The Nutcracker. She also directed and choreographed Bye Bye Birdie, 42nd Street, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Mrs. Keithline studied with such dance masters as Gus Giordano, Frank Hatchett, Joe Tremaine, Lester Brown, Henry LeTang, Savion Glover, Barbara Duffy, Brenda Buffalino, and Diane Walker to name a few. She has also worked and studied with Garth Fagan, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bushwomen; and Gil Stroming and Michael "the shuffle man" Minery, both well known tap dancers and choreographers from New York City.

Mrs. Keithline has been the owner and director of Turning Pointe Dance Center based out of Bishop McNamara High School since 2008 with classes are held in the evenings in the dance studio.

Her favorite quotation is "Work like you don't need money, Love like you've never been hurt, And dance like no one's watching" from Crystal Boyd.

Cindy King
Cindy King
Dance Teacher
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Cindy grew up locally and resides in Maryland. She aspired to be a dance instructor at a very young age. She received her training from Linda Natoli-Gaither during childhood. She performed in many local and national competitions as well as professional performances with her dance colleagues. As a young adult she studied extensively for fifteen years with Master Teachers at the Cecchetti Ballet Council of America. She currently holds her Intermediate Professional teacher degree which certifies her to train students and teachers through professional levels of ballet. She is also a certified member of the Cecchetti Council of America, CCA. To date, she has successfully presented over 500 candidates to the CCA for ballet examinations. She has continuously studied for years with many well known dancers from New York and Los Angeles with varying styles and techniques.She was certified through examinations to teach tap and is a member of the Dance Educators of America. She's also a member of International Tap Association.

Her teaching career began at age 15 under the employment of Mrs. Rita Palmer at a local recreation center. She found her passion and took the "calling" to continue teaching area students at various schools. She began her own school in her family's basement in 1977. Her first recital was performed with 35 students in 1979. In 1983 she opened her dance studio doors in Forestville, across the street from BMHS, with over 100 students. It grew to provide teaching positions for aspiring students to teach. From 1994 to the present she relocated to Upper Marlboro to accommodate the growth of the school.

She has taught for over 30 years and has shared the love of dance with thousands of students. Her students have performed in numerous community shows, and received awards at local and national talent competitions. For the past 31 years she has produced and choreographed annual dance recitals that have made many fond memories. Her students build friendships that last a lifetime. Many of her students have been successful in professional careers in dance. For the past ten years, Cindy has been a proud member of the Fine Arts Department teaching faculty at Bishop McNamara High School. She is a mother to three children who teach and inspire her daily.

Favorite Quotation "To dance is to live....to live is to dance." Heidi Groskreutz

Kelly Kostelnik '08
Kelly Kostelnik '08
Photography Teacher
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Class of 2008 alumna, Kelly Kostelnik, currently teaches Digital Photography and AP Studio Art 2D: Photography, joining the staff in 2012. She also oversees the Photography and Equestrian Clubs. Ms. Kostelnik holds a in B.A. in Integrative Arts, and Minor in Equine Studies from Penn State University.

Ms. Kostelnik has studied photography for the past 5 years with a concentration in Sports/Action and Equine photography.  She had the opportunity to study Photography and Architecture in Rome, Italy where she focused on the Horses of Rome, specifically the carriage horses and how they were incorporated into the Architecture of various buildings, statues, and monuments.

As the Equestrian Club moderator she shares her passion for horses to include riding, competing, training and teaching lessons.  She currently trains rescue horses for the potential to be adopted into permanent homes.

Rhoda Sutton
Music Teacher
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Ms. Sutton is a singer/songwriter from Washington, D.C. Ms. Sutton was educated in the Washington, D.C. public schools and graduated with honors from McKinley Technical High School. She received a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis on voice from Howard University in 1981. She later received a Master of Education degree from Bowie State University.

Ms. Sutton studied voice with famed sopranos Jeanette Walters and Matawilda Dobbs. Ms. Sutton had served as Minister of Music at the Park Road Community Church from 1988 - 2008. She was twice appointed Music Director for the International Council of Community Churches Annual Conference in 1999 and 2000. Ms. Sutton was a featured vocalist for Alvin Ailey's Revelations presented at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1982. She was also a featured performer in the off-Broadway production, Rhapsody in Black in 1986.

Ms. Sutton has garnered eighteen years of teaching to her credit. She has been a part of the Bishop McNamara faculty for the past fifteen years. She is a member of the National Association of Music Education. Ms. Sutton penned hundreds of compositions mostly for choir. Some of her compositions have been recorded by local Christian musical artists. In 2002, she composed Mass of McNamara to commemorate the completion of the Fine Arts and Athletic Center. She also wrote the school song, To Think With Christ.

Her Favorite Quotation: "What you think about, you bring about." Rhonda Byrne

Most Memorable Artistic Moment: In 1981, I was a featured vocalist in jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams' Mary Lou's Mass at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Williams accompanied at the piano along with her quartet. The performance took place two months before Ms. Williams' death.

Most Memorable Teaching Moment: My most memorable teaching moment was watching the MG Magic Show Choir render a stellar performance at the Fiesta-Val Band and Choral Festival held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Darlisa Wajid-Ali
Darlisa Wajid-Ali '06
Fine Arts Teacher
BIO:
 
Ms. Darlisa Wajid-Ali is from Washington, D.C. and a BMHS alum '06. She started her training in Bollywood, performing for her family in the living room.  While at BMHS, Ms. Wajid-Ali was highly involved with the Fine Arts programs, performing in the Fall Musicals and Sankofa Nights, as well as being a member of Dance Team.
 
Ms. Wajid-Ali received her B.A. in Dance/Theater and minor in History from Manhattanville College.  While there, she studied abroad for six months in India learning Classical Kuchipudi dance.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude, receiving Honors from the Dance Department.
 
During her time living in New York City, Ms. Wajid-Ali worked with Rocha Dance Theater and went on tour in India with Parijat Desai Dance Company.  She taught Creative Dance at the Mark Morris Dance Group and East Harlem Tutorial Program.
 
Ms. Wajid-Ali has trained in many styles including Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Bollywood, Contemporary Indian, Contemporary and West African, House, Hip-Hop, Salsa, Merengue, Soca and Dancehall.  She has premiered her own original choreography at Dance New Amsterdam, participated in the Jazz/Musical Theater Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow, and has worked under renowned choreographers Earl Mosley of the Ailey School, Keith Saunders of Dance Theater of Harlem, Andrea Miller of Gallim Dance, Doug Elkins, Bill Hastings, and was mentored by the wise Nia Love.  
 
Ms. Wajid-Ali will be pursuing her Masters in Dance Science and Medicine next Fall.