Our History

The story began in a local church in the year 2000. Under the helm of the interim music director, Nina Markle, and the children’s director, Dawn Cooke, a small summer theatre program for children was developed. The program grew to include youth from the community and was renamed the Children’s Community Theatre. Word spread of the great achievements of the children, and increasing demand drove the program to constantly outgrow its space. As a result, the Performing Arts Academy, as we are known today, has moved ten times over the past 15 years. Each move was prompted by the need to find a home that would accommodate our ever-increasing number of students, programs and performances. Today, the Performing Arts Academy has grown from a handful of children to a program that now produces 12 annual theatre productions, dance classes for all ages and offers private music lessons year-round to more than 290 young people and adults. We have evolved from two renowned music specialists offering instruction in theatre, voice and piano to 18 outstanding instructors in voice, piano, woodwinds, percussion, brass, strings, and theatre. We have blossomed from serving students from only the Middletown area to include students from 13 surrounding communities.

Our Staff

Nina Markle
Executive Director

A retired music specialist, Nina taught 31 years in the public schools and one year at Miami University, Middletown. Nina graduated with a BS in Music with a major in voice and has her Masters in voice performance. She studied at Asbury College, Morris Harvey College, Miami University and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Nina has performed leading roles in musical theatre as well as opera.


Dawn Cooke
Assistant Director

Dawn is an accomplished pianist, accompanist and clarinetist. She served eight years as a Children’s Ministry Director at the University Baptist Church, and has been a Reading First tutor and substitute teacher in the Middletown City Schools. She has her BS in Elementary Education from Miami University.


Meet The Board

Angela Phillips, President, is the President and CEO of Middletown Tube Works, Inc., and Shelby Welded Tube. She moved to Middletown when her father purchased the Armco Steel Tube division in 1994 and she took on the role of Division Manager and later, Vice President. Both companies manufacture welded steel tube for Automotive, heating and other applications. She became President of the group of manufacturers after the unexpected death of her father, Ralph Phillips in September 2009. Angela is a graduate of Hiram College, with dual degrees in Political Science and Economics. She is a member of the Cincinnati chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization. She and her husband have two children, Sydney, who has performed in several plays, and Ralph.



Joe Mulligan, Vice President, is an attorney with the law firm of Singer & McCausland Co., LPA in Middletown. Prior to joining Singer & McCausland Co., LPA, he was an associate in the Dayton office of Faruki, Ireland & Cox, P.L.L., a law firm specializing in complex business litigation. He worked for corporate clients in matters related to antitrust, breach of noncompetition covenants, employment law, trade secret violations, immunity of political subdivision employees, insurance disputes, and legal malpractice. Joe graduated magna cum laude from the University of Dayton School of Law. During law school, Joe served as a law clerk extern in United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for the Honorable Thomas M. Rose.

In November 2011, Joe was elected to a four-year term for an at-large seat on Middletown City Council and he also served as Vice Mayor. Joe has been active with many non-profit organizations: Downtown Middletown, Inc., Hospice Care of Middletown, Inc., Middletown Area Neediest Youth (MANY), Middletown Visitors Bureau, Middletown Area YMCA Advisory Board, Middletown Symphony Orchestra, and Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (S.E.L.F.), a community action agency in Butler County. He is a 2012 graduate of the Leadership class of The Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe, and Trenton.

Joe earned his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Business Administration, cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame. Before pursuing a law degree, he enjoyed a successful career in advertising sales and sales management at television and cable operations in Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Dayton.



Steve Ifcic, Treasurer



Mike Trent, Secretary, a graduate of Miami University, majoring in Finance. He has worked in the banking and finance sector for the past 26 years. He takes an active role in the Middletown community by volunteering to support St. John XXIII Elementary School PTO, Holy Family Athletics and various charitable organizations. Mike believes that a Fine Arts program is an integral part of a child’s education and is now an active board member of the Performing Arts Academy. Mike is married to Vicki Trent and has a son, David and a daughter, Catie who has performed in numerous PAA productions.



Virginia Haus Jenkins married to Chester McCullough Jenkins (60 years.) She sings in the choir First United Methodist where she serves on Missions Commission, The Salvation Army Program Chairman and Board Member. She is also active in Middletown Area Federation of Women’s Clubs, Chairman of Arbor day Funding, Historian, Middletown Symphony Orchestra Board , Corresponding Secretary, Pops Concert Chair person, Middletown Symphony Orchestra Women’s Association Board and President of Beta Sigma Phi Chapter (Ohio Beta Phi) Virginia and Chester have three children, 5 grandchildren and one great grandson.



Casi Stewart has been a nurse for 23 years and is currently employed as a flight nurse with University Hospital Air Care. She lives in Monroe with her daughter Ryleigh. Ryleigh has done multiple plays, show choir and voice lessons with Performing Arts Academy. Casi loves the arts and theater. She has been active in Children’s Ministry over the years, and also volunteers at the school regularly.



Ben Current is currently employed as a Senior Piping Designer for Process Plus, an engineering firm based in Springdale. He is a 1998 graduate of Miami University, where he received his Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Ben was born and raised in Middletown, graduating from MHS in 1993. He currently resides in Trenton with his wife Melony and their three children Gabe, Meagan and Nora.



Jon Stiles is currently on the Board of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and is President of the Board of the Kentucky Alcohol Beverage Retailers. He is President and CEO of The Party Source and has been employed there since 1992.



Kristina Linberg is an Innovation Specialist with Lakota Local Schools. Prior to working with teachers and students to integrate technology into lessons, she was a 7th and 8th grade math teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Middle Childhood Education (math and science) and her Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Marygrove College. Throughout her childhood she was active in swim team, choir, and dabbled in acting as well. She volunteers at Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary where her sons Keegan, Landen, and Nolan attend. She has enjoyed helping out behind the scenes at PAA and is excited about joining the board!



Kelly White is a wife, mother, grandmother and self-employed business owner for over 20 years. She has been affiliated with the PAA since 2016. Her first performance at the PAA was in 2017 and has been in seven productions. She recently played “Jill” in “Christmas in Review” which she co-wrote. She and her husband attend church at Abundant Life Tabernacle where both are involved in various ministries. She is thankful for the support of her husband, three grown children, son and daughter in law, grandchildren and close friends.



Donnie Osborne, I have been in business for myself for the past 15 years. I have owned logistic companies, contruction companies, apparel companies, and now restraunts. I have learned a lot about myself and business through all of my ventures. My passion has always been serving others. Mentoring both adults and youth to be able to achieve their goals. I am a life long Middletonian. I had the opportunity to purchase two of my favorite restraunts here in Middletown a few years ago. It has been a blessing being able to be apart of Middletown in a professional setting as well as being able to make an impact on our community. I would love to be able to serve the PAA board and continue to grow in our community to help our youth with options for their future. I look foward to hearing from you.



Dan Schaub, Dan Schaub is a Real Estate Pro with Berkshire Hathaway Professional Realty in Middletown. He also serves as Pastor of Worship Arts at Yankee Rd Church of God. Prior to that Dan was Music Director and Worship Pastor at Breiel Blvd Church of God where he retired after 20 years of service. Dan has also owned and operated businesses in the Cincinnati, Middletown and Dayton areas. He was the President and CEO of MIB Mortgage Corporation with 5 locations throughout the Miami Valley. Dan has served on the Board of Diectors for the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group for the past 6 years during which major strides were made to restore the theatre and to bring music back to its stage. He and his wife Kathy reside in Lebanon, OH, where they also own and operate the Gift Shop at The Golden Lamb.



Johnny Beagle is the CFO of CFR.Inc., a technology services firm based in Middletown. He grew up in the Middletown area and graduated from Monroe High School in 2008. After graduation, he went to the Ohio State University to major in Finance and still lives in the Columbus area. He is the grandson of Nina Markle and is excited to work with the Performing Arts Academy.



Dawn Cooke, Assistant Director Dawn is an accomplished pianist, accompanist and clarinetist. She served eight years as a Children's Ministry Director at the University Baptist Church, and has been a Reading First tutor and substitute teacher in the Middletown City Schools. She has her BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Miami University. She and her husband reside in Middletown and have 6 adult children and 14 grandchildren, many of whom are involved in PAA.



Former Board Members

Scott Beeson Sarah Cunningham Elaine Garver Libbie Lollie Linday Sanchez
Charlie Beorn Larry Daniel Norman Hayes Steve Minor Eric Sotzing
Judy Bober Peggy Davish Debbie Helton June Owens Helen Stevens-Gleason
Bill Brinkley Carly Dee Patty Keith Don Pelfrey Leslie Stone
Tinma Cornette Matt Eisenbraun Jim Langendorf Michelle Poland Joan Stoutenborough

Advisory Board

Nancy Gross Claude Robold Edward Schaeffer Anita Scott-Jones Matthew Tyla