teaching ARTISTS

A.I.M.'s teaching artists are professional artists who teach and integrate their art form, perspectives, and skills into Menomonie's elementary schools. A.I.M.'s teaching artists work with teachers in schools and workshops.

A.I.M.'s teaching artists are part of a highly skilled community of arts integration experts. They are professional artists and skilled collaborators with experience in educational settings.

The C.I.T.A. program engages elementary school teachers with teaching artists in residencies.

AIM) Arts Integration Menomonie - "THE TEACHING ARTIST" AIM's teaching artists are professional artists who teach and integrate their art form, perspectives, and skills into the school curriculum.


  • An accomplished artist in his/her field (Music, Theater, Dance, Visual arts, Media Arts, Circus Arts, Storytelling, and other arts-related fields).

  • Experienced in teaching practices that include planning, communicating, instructing, collaborating, and engaging young people in learning.

  • A collaborative instructor, proficient at engaging teachers and young people in learning in and through his/her art form.


Kris Winter
Storytelling / Theater Arts


Kris Winter has been a teacher, writer, and professional storyteller for more than twenty-five years. With a suitcase full of authentic props, Kris performs as her celebrated storytelling characters, Madame Lanita and Sophie Obermueler, while bringing over twenty original stories to life. She shares her passion for the dramatic arts and storytelling while visiting schools, libraries, special gatherings, and in her unique 1916 barn – the PAPER COW THEATER. Kris also leads Paper Cow Theater drama camps/residencies, guiding students to discover, develop, and perform original stories using traditional storytelling techniques.

See Kris's Blog


Beau Janke
Music and Visual Arts


Originally from Trempealeau, Wisconsin, Beau Janke is a 2016 UW-Stout graduate with a degree in Studio Art and an emphasis on printmaking. Starting in 2011, Beau worked at Luther Park Bible Camp. While at Luther Park, he and a bandmate formed the band Them Coulee Boys. What started as two friends playing guitar and banjo and singing harmonies alone in a basement has now grown into a popular music group with four members who travel around the midwest with a large following. Them Coulee Boys’ second album debuted in summer 2016, addressing the ideas and importance of being honest with yourself and the ones you love. Beau integrates music with teachers through song writing and guitelele lessons.

See Beau's Blog →


Kobi Shaw
Circus Arts

As half of the comedy juggling duo In Capable Hands, Kobi Shaw has performed as a professional variety artist since 1997. Trained at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College, Kobi has performed at schools, libraries, fairs, festivals, cruise ships, corporate events and Atlantic City. Her skills have also led to appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Ellen and Live with Regis and Kelly. Fall 2015, Kobi and her husband were featured presenters at UW-Stout TEDx, speaking "In Praise of Whimsy". Kobi teaches circus arts to students of all ages, including clowning, magic, juggling, balancing, plate spinning and more.

See Kobi's Blog

Babatunde Lea.jpg

Drumming, Chanting, and Dance

(2015-16 COHORT)

A professional musician and music educator, Babatunde Lea teaches and plays rhythms from the African Diaspora focusing on playing percussion instruments - teaching their technique, spirit, and application. He teaches from an African perspective, including drumming, chanting, and dance. Babatunde concentrates on the communal feelings that each drumming tradition can produce, emphasizing that just like polyrhythms, we are all connected. “If you walk, you can dance; if you talk, you can sing” (old African proverb).

See Tunde's Blog

Screenwriting and Film

(2015-16 COHORT)

Charis Collins has much experience in screenwriting for stage and film. As a teaching artist, Charis helps students tell stories using images and dialog, tapping into the students' backgrounds, experiences to bring their narratives to life. Charis feels creativity in relation to storytelling is a fantastic opportunity for problem solving. Moreover, writing for stage and screen gives students a broader view of the world while sharpening Language Arts skills, thus shaping the way they see and interact with the world. "It's the power of storytelling in action," says Charis.

See Charis's Blog

Erika Svanoe, Phd
Music and Composition
(2015-16 COHORT)

Erika Svanoe is a conductor, composer, and educator. Erika creates music in a variety of ways as a conductor, instrumentalist, composer, song writer and educator. She serves as Director of Bands at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and she has commissioned and premiered works by Andrew Boysen. An active supporter of new and innovative music, Erika’s educational and performance interests focus on classical and jazz instrumental music while her composition and songwriting often focus on the ideas of accessibility, humor, and storytelling.

See Erika's blog


Steven "Yata" Peinovich Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist
(2015-16 COHORT)

Yata Peinovich is a regular performer on concert stages as well as at outdoor festivals, churches and classrooms. He has produced 10 CDs with music ranging from love ballads, rockin' blues, country swing, spiritual texts, poem-songs, humor and wit, island calypso, ragtime to Americana folk. A recipient of a Minnesota Music Award in Folk Music, Yata has also performed on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion. To Immerse himself in new cultures and expand his views of art and music Yata has traveled afar with wife/artist Jean Accola. Yata also organizes various community music events and serves as a mentor to emerging artists.

See Yata's Blog

Melissa Kneeland
Theater Arts
(2015-16 COHORT)

Having studied at Interlochen Arts Camp and Academy, Melissa was also a member of the inaugural class of the University of Minnesota/ Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training program. She has worked professionally in theater and film in the Twin Cities, not only in full length productions, but with companies that develop performing arts pieces in order to address social issues and foster dialogue around those issues. Melissa’s work at the Minnesota Historical Society has allowed her to combined theater with history,science, and other subjects in order to provide new, innovative, exciting and engaging ways for students (and adults) to access the past.

See Melissa's Blog