Meet Sammi Stelzl, Fox Cities P.A.C. Education Programs Manager

February 23, 2024

Meet the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s Education Programs Manager, Sammi Stelzl. In her role, Sammi works very closely with students in various Center education programs and initiatives including the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, the Amcor Education Series and the Frank C. Shattuck Performing Arts Touch the Hearts of Students (P.A.T.H.S.) Program. Sammi’s position beautifully merges her love of the arts and education.

Sammi was a part of the Center’s event services team while a college student. She went on to become a high school English and history teacher for three years before returning to your Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. “I loved my previous time at the Center, so when I saw they were hiring for the position of education programs manager, I was excited at the thought of returning in a new capacity,” Sammi shared. “I loved teaching, but I missed theater and knew I wanted to explore different paths.” Sammi has been the Center’s education programs manager since 2019.

The ever-changing nature of the performing arts industry means that for many Fox Cities P.A.C. staff, every day is a new adventure. For Sammi, this holds true. “Some days are full of desk work, creating resource guides, working on musical feedback and planning the next project,” Sammi commented. “Other days it’s working with/welcoming students and educators to the building for education performances or taking arts experiences to their schools; it keeps me on my toes!” Above all, Sammi is proud of the students she has the opportunity to work with, seeing them reach goals and milestones.

I love working with the high school students through workshops and all aspects of the Center Stage Program including the Encore Singers and Student Ambassadors. I get to see the students build a community with each other, which is beyond magical. The program is a huge undertaking, but seeing the students smiling, performing and caring for each other makes every minute worth it.
Sammi Stelzl - Fox Cities P.A.C. Education Programs Manager

When people talk with Sammi, many are surprised to learn about the various educational offerings. “The Fox Cities P.A.C. puts education at the forefront of our mission, and we offer many different experiences for all ages,” Sammi said. In recent weeks, Sammi has been working with a group of students from Neenah High School through the P.A.T.H.S. Program. These students are exploring the world of comedy and improvisation, inspired by the Broadway touring production of Clue. Working closely with a local teaching artist and their teacher, the students are studying the “Who, What, Where and Why” of creating a scene through characterization, setting and more while engaging in improv games.

Fondly remembering studying improv when she was in high school, Sammi came to the theme of “Riddle Me This.” “Improv is all about comedy, thinking on your feet, being mindful of others and storytelling – all great attributes to teach to high school students,” she added. “The magic of live theater is all about being on your toes and ready for whatever comes at you. Teaching students improv is a key tool for actors to react to something on stage that is not planned. They are really coming out of their shells and having a blast!”

I’m excited about the confidence the P.A.T.H.S. Program is bringing. It’s a great learning experience.
Demitrius M. - 2023-24 P.A.T.H.S. Program participant

After engaging in several improv workshops and attending a performance of Clue during its run at the Fox Cities P.A.C. March 19-24, the students will demonstrate their newly strengthened comedy talents on Thursday, March 21 in an improv showcase. Their friends, family and teachers as well as Center staff, will have the opportunity to cheer on and laugh with these new comedians.

The Frank C Shattuck Performing Arts Touch the Hearts of Students (P.A.T.H.S.) Program is an educational initiative of the Fox Cities P.A.C. with support from BMO and Community First Credit Union through the Community First Community Engagement Series.

Written by Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center