Arts Academy Faculty

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Amanda Santo oversees the Choral Program at Cumberland High School where her teaching responsibilities include the Concert Chorus, Clef Singers, Piano, Music Theory, and Unified Music. She has also served on the faculty of the Community College of Rhode Island and the Music School of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Professionally, she has sung with Opera Providence, Salt Marsh Opera, Connecticut Concert Opera, Hartford Opera Theater, the Ana Livia Opera Festival in Dublin, Ireland. and she is on the soprano roster of Rhode Island's only professional chamber choir, Collegium Ancora.

Ms. Santo holds a B.M. in Music Education from Rhode Island College where she was a recipient of the coveted Riva V. Bicho Memorial Scholarship, and upon graduation was honored as the Outstanding Music Graduate of her class. She earned her M.M. from The Hartt School of Music, and a Certificate in Vocal Performance from The University of Connecticut. She is a frequent adjudicator and choral festival manager, as well as a member of the National Association of Music Educators (NAfME), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), The Rhode Island Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (RINATS), a member of the Rhode Island Music Educators Association (RIMEA) , where she serves as member of their Executive Board and Tri-M Chair.

Ms. Santo strives to create a positive and safe learning community where students can focus on the basic fundamentals ~ music literacy, alignment, the breath, placement, and support to find their voice while achieving a relaxed and healthy sound.

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After a lengthy career as a stay-at-home parent, Cynthia Walsh returned to college earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education with a concentration in Ceramics from Rhode Island College in 2018. That same year she joined the faculty of Cumberland High School. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design ‘81 from the Rhode Island School of Design. Ms. Walsh has two adult children, Emma & Oliver. She lives in West Greenwich with her son and their 3 cats. She has been a trustee and Secretary of the West Greenwich Land Trust since 2001.

Ms. Walsh likes to think of herself as the Swiss Army Knife of art teachers. She teaches a variety of classes at CHS including: Art I, Art III, Graphic Design II & Ceramics I. The three most important things Ms. Walsh aspires to do, as a teacher, are; to make her classroom a safe and welcoming space, to make sure her students know they are accepted for who they are, and to inspire students who think they can’t “do art” to rediscover the joy of creativity that they may have lost along the way. For her students with a further interest in the fine arts, her goal is to encourage self-expression, artistic exploration and refined craftsmanship in their work.

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Theatre Artist, Visual Artist, Arts Advocate - Art, in all of it’s beautiful and complex forms, is the soul of culture and the cornerstone of the human experience. Phylicia Rashad puts it very succinctly, “Before a child talks they sing, before they write they draw. As soon as they stand they dance. Art is fundamental to human expression." Central to my teaching is the concept of educator as lead learner and chief collaborator. As an educator, my passion for the arts informs my teaching and my understanding of what it takes to be an artist in today’s global society. I have come to learn that through the arts, we learn about the human condition in conjunction with others causing us to live more enriched, social, and equitable lives.

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Jessica Rock graduated from Rhode Island College with degrees in Art Education (Photography concentration), English, and a minor in Art History.  With a love for learning it seemed like a natural fit to combine her love for art with teaching and has been working in Cumberland for the past 12 years.  More than anything she wishes for students to find her classroom to be a comfortable environment where they can grow to be thinkers and creators and to also experience the very human aspects of life that art has to offer. 

As far as art making outside of school, Jessica spends much of her time working on large scale charcoal drawings, lost wax metal jewelry castings, and ceramic sculptures. A member of Domus Luti Pottery Cooperative in Pawtucket, RI, she can spend time exploring and pushing the limits of clay.  Much of her work revolves around the ideas of form and surface while playing with the comfort zones of her viewers.  At CHS, she is currently teaching Ceramics 1 and 2, Photography, Unified Art, and is the Arts Academy Chair.

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When Mrs. McFarlane began teaching at Cumberland High School in 2013 she was inspired to create the Clipper Dance Program, where she is now the Dance Team Coach and the Dance Director.  The Dance Team performs annually at school events such at Spirit Week, Respect Week, and the Variety Show.  They also compete in local competitions. In addition to Dance, she is also path of Cumberland High School's Math Faculty. 

A graduate of Rhode  Island College, Mrs. McFarlane earned her Bachelor's Degree in Education.   For fifteen years, she has served on the faculty of the Academy of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, and Hip Hop where she has been head of the hip hop department for 8 years.  She truly loves the art of dance and any chance she has to share it with others.  Her hope is that dance class gives her students an outlet, way to express themselves, and remind  them to live in the moment.

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Lauren Scotto is an artist living and working in Woonsocket, RI. She received her BFA in Illustration in 2005 and her MAT in 2006 from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her paintings include moody landscapes and other works inspired by nature and the buildings and structures she sees around her every day.  Working in a variety of 2-d media, she explores different ways to convey a hopeful solitude in her imagery.

In her teaching practice, it is her philosophy that art can be a learned skill, not just an inherited one.  Her favorite part of her job is when a student feels empowered by making something they didn’t think they could, and she strives to make her classroom a structured and comfortable environment where that can take place.  Lauren feels that the marriage of artist and art teacher works best when she consistently produces art herself, feeding that excitement about creating and passing it on to her students daily.  She currently teaches Art 1, Art 2, AP Studio Art and Sculpture at CHS.

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A teacher of Mathematics at Cumberland High School, Mr. Dansereau's first career was as a working musician.  Mr. Dansereau graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Music Performance, and played professionally in the greater Boston area for several years before beginning a career in education.  Currently, Mr. Dansereau plays in several local bands in the Providence and Newport area.  He has brought this experience with him to the high school and has become the music director for the Variety Show and the faculty advisor for the Tri-M Music Honors Society and the CHS Ukulele Club.  Above all, Mr. Dansereau enjoys working with young musicians to develop their confidence and musicianship.    

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Mr. Feroce earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Rhode Island. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) and the Rhode Island Music Educators Association (RIMEA). Primarily a percussionist, Feroce studied classical percussion with most notable instructor, the late Ronald Stabile.

During his time at the elementary schools in Cumberland, he organized and directed the Fifth Grade Band. As the Clipper Band Director at Cumberland High School, he created the Advanced Symphonic Wind Ensemble. In addition to the band classes, he has also taught Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Electronic Music, and Music Appreciation.

During his tenure, Feroce has brought about a near tripling in size of the Concert Band, as well as provided a robust extra curricular experience in Marching Band & Jazz Ensemble. These ensembles have propelled the Cumberland High School music program forward, and have helped to establish renewing scholarships for Music Education Seniors.  

“We teach Children, not Music!” Is the educational philosophy held by Feroce.  “With a student centered approach, I believe we can educate the whole child. Music is our vehicle to get there.”