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.

Tim Kozikov
Teaching Staff

Tim is graduating with a Masters Degree in Classical Guitar from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and will be available at PAA for lessons on the guitar, percussion and ukulele. Tim will also be teaching at the Conservatory in Cincinnati.

Meet The Board

Jon Stiles, Board President, 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

Jim Barnes, Board Vice President, is currently the Building Superintendent for PAA. Jim worked 27 years in the Chemical industry with back ground in chemical operations, electrical, HVAC and plumbing maintenance. Jim and wife, LaVonne moved to Monroe in 2000 as the Administrative Services Manager for Gospel Light Publications. He has been involved in several community groups and a member of the University Baptist Church Middletown. He served on the Monroe School District’s Emergency Financial Planning and Supervision Committee from 2012 to 2014.

John Beagle, Board Treasurer, is the CFO of C.F.R., 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 lives in the Columbus area. He is the grandson of Nina Markle and is excited to work with the Performing Arts Academy.

Mike Trent, Board Secretary, a graduate of Miami University, majoring in Finance. He has worked in the banking and finance sector for the past 30 years. He was active in the Middletown community and volunteered to support St. John XXIII Elementary School PTO, Holy Family Athletics and various charitable organizations when his children were younger. Mike believes that a Fine Arts program is an integral part of a child’s education and is 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.

Shirley Butts, has enjoyed music and drama from a young age and has sung in church choirs for many years. She taught Home Economics in New Mexico and was married to Carl Butts for 57 years until he passed away in 2019. She has 2 daughters, Deanna and Carla and twin granddaughters, Jazmin and Jaleona Jordan. She loves to volunteer and has a ministry of visiting widows and shut-ins and sharing the Lord with them. She has been involved in Christian Women’s Club for 40 years. She was involved with MIDFest International, P.E.O. which is a philanthropic and educational organization and currently serves on the board of “Keep Middletown Beautiful.” She is honored to serve on the PAA Board.

Scott Decker, was born and raised in the Middletown/Monroe Area. After graduating from Middletown High School he pursued a career in education. He and his wife, Stephanie, teach at Monroe Elementary School. Scott has three children and is quite busy being a father and a husband. He and Stephanie are very supportive of PAA and their youngest daughter is quite active in their theatre program. Scott loves to fish, travel and take care of his yard, but family is the most important thing to Scott. He feels very blessed to have them and is occasionally persuaded to join PAA for a production.

Bob Evick, Bob returns to the PAA where he previously appeared as Daddy Warbucks in Annie, Ricky in Trouble at the Tropicabana, and King Agnarr in Frozen. He currently teaches and coaches at Madison High School. Bob and his wife Terri have three children and six grandchildren.

John Ginter, has been active in the creative and performing arts for most of his life. From high school until now he has either helped produce or performed with a variety of organizations. He has been active with Middletown Lyric Theatre, Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre, and the Performing Arts Academy. He has served on the Middletown Summer Youth Theatre Board and is active in his church’s choir. John retired from 30 years of teaching the Digital Media Program at Butler Tech. Currently John performs as Ebenezer Scrooge during King’s Island Winterfest. He is the proud father of 2 and grandfather of 3. He and his wife Roslyn met during Middletown Regional Hospital’s High Fever Follies and will celebrate their 40th Anniversary this fall. John Is pleased to serve on the PAA board and hopes to help with the continuation of a vital part of the community.

Virginia Jenkins, a member of the First United Methodist Church choir. She also serves on the Missions Commission, is chairman of the Salvation Army Program Chairman and Board Member. She is active in Middletown Area Federation of Women’s Clubs, Chairman of Arbor Day Funding, historian, Middletown Symphony Orchestra Board, corresponding secretary, chairman for the Pops Concert, on the board of the Middletown Symphony Orchestra Women’s Association Board and President of Beta Sigma Phi Chapter (Ohio Beta Phi) Virginia has three children, 5 grandchildren and one great grandson.

Angela Phillips, is the CEO of the Phillips Tube Group, Inc. Phillips Tube Group is a supplier of steel tube components to the HVAC, automotive and appliance industries. She moved to the Middletown area when her father purchased the Armco Steel Tube division in 1994 and she took on the role of Division Manager and later, Vice President. She became President/CEO 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 currently completing an MBA program. In January 2021, she appointed a President to the company and now works as its visionary CEO. She and her husband have two children, Sydney and Ralph.

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 President and CEO of MIB Mortgage Corporation with 5 locations throughout the Miami Valley. Dan has served on the Board of Directors 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

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.

Carina Vickers, is employed as a Lead at Pole Zero where they build communication systems for the military. She has been employed with this company for 15 plus years. She started as assembler and has worked her way up to many accomplishments like her current role. She has a great passion and dedication to serving others. She is always looking for a new way to teach her children to serve. She loves fundraising and trying new things. She is excited to see what she can contribute to PAA. She may not have a background in theatre but she is enjoying learning all that she can. She attends Family Life Church, God is the most important relationship in her life. She is excited to see the doors that He will open for PAA. She believes that PAA is a safe harbor for the children that have a love for theatre and she feels privileged to be a part of the board. She is anticipating the work that she can do in fund raising in the next coming years. Like she always says, “You never know what doors you will open with just one conversation about your passion for PAA". One conversation could open so many doors” . Her son attends PAA and this place is a lifesaver. Elias has Autism and could not find a place where he belonged. One encounter in one play has now set a flame in him for this art.

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.

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
Joe Mulligan Steve Ificic Kristina Linberg Donnie Osborne Ben Current Anita Scott Jones

Advisory Board

Nancy Gross Claude Robold Edward Schaeffer Matthew Tyla