Board of Directors



Jacqueline Courteau

Jacqueline Courteau -- President

Jacqueline Courteau has been an Ann Arbor resident for 25 years, and has been active with Ann Arbor Civic Theater since 2005. She has been working in scientific research for 20 years, started a successful personal business in 2017, and is currently working as Ecological Consultant. Proudly, Jacqueline is a leader in her industry and has many accomplishments including working as a science and policy analyst in Washington D.C. and on the development of a successful ecological assessment protocol that is now used widely throughout southeast Michigan. Jacqueline has written over 2,500 pages of reports and articles, including 100 entries for the Smithsonian Institution’s Encyclopedia of Life and is frequently invited to give presentations at local conservation conferences and parks.

Professing her commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and the collaborative process Jacqueline has served on the board for Ann Arbor CoOp Nursery and Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan, is an active member of the Stewardship Network Conference Planning Committee, and a co-founder of the Professional Steward Hike. Jacqueline has a Master’s Degree in Science Writing (1987) from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Ecology (2005) from the University of Michigan.

Daisy Mull

Daisy Mull -- Vice President

Daisy Mull has been an Ann Arbor resident for 30 years, and has been involved in over 15 Ann Arbor Civic Theater productions. For several years, Daisy has been working as a Tax Professional for H&R Block and as a Retail Merchandiser with Hallmark. Daisy is devoted to her family and community; she has worked with her church's music ministry, as a youth group leader, and directed many of their annual Christmas shows. As a board member, Daisy has become a leading voice and advocate for the A2CT Jr. Theater program.

Daisy has been on several boards, including multiple years as PTA President at her children’s schools, and has many hours volunteering for foundations like Family Life Services, The Color Run, Growing Hope, Arts & Scraps, Food Gatherers, Open Door Ministries, Wild Swan, The Croswell, Extraordinary Women Conference. She was an editor of the newsletter for a Celiac Disease support group, and is currently singing in the Spring Choir at Northridge. She has performed in a show with Horizon Performing Arts, PTD Productions and Spotlight Players. Daisy has a Bachelor of Music Therapy (1991) from Eastern Michigan University.

Caitlin Rowe -- Secretary

Fundraising Committee Member; Facilities Committee Member

Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Caitlin moved to Ann Arbor in 2001. Over the past 20 years she has been involved with over 25 productions in roles various roles: actor, producer, director, choreographer, assistant director, stage manager, and customer. Caitlin has an extensive background in education and is currently working at Washtenaw Community College teaching Spanish and as a substitute Teacher with Ann Arbor Public Schools. Early in her teaching career she helped to co-found Students Against Abuse and Violence Everywhere (S.A.A.V.E); an informational and support group for survivors of various types of assault. She is also armed with experience from multiple arts organizations. For several years, worked with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and prior at the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.

Caitlin is a self professed “theatre-kid” and grew up participating in her mother’s theater group: Acting Out! For Kids by Kids. Since her auspicious beginning at the tender age of 5 as a bunny in a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, she has continued her love for theater. As a passion project Caitlin helped revitalize the A2CT Junior Theatre program by changing history-- and casting all 52 children who auditioned for the first A2CT Jr. Theatre Musical to perform at the Arthur Miller Theater: “ Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Jr.” (2015.) The success model producing an annual Jr. Theatre musical has continued to date.

For several years, Caitlin had a successful track record serving on the board of the Allen Parent Council of John Allen Elementary School (Ann Arbor) spending one year as Secretary and three years as board President. She has influenced others with her love of theatre; in her time on the board, she helped to create a brand new theater group for the school that is now entering its third year. She has also been actively-involved with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra; acting as host of the Youth Concerts Link-up series for three years. Caitlin donates to organizations whose missions support education, human rights and animal welfare.

Caitlin has received an Ann Arbor Civic Theatre President’s Award for her volunteer service and has been recognized several times at the annual Civvies awards event for Choreography and Acting. As a WCC instructor, she received a special commendation from the Vice President of Instruction for exemplary student evaluations and for exceeding institutional expectations. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon (1994), Masters of Education from the University of Illinois (2011) and Masters of Arts in Spanish from Eastern Michigan University (2017); and is a proud member of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Hispanic Honor Society.

Melaina Bukowski

Melaina Bukowski -- Treasurer

Finance Committee Chair; Fundraising Committee Member

Melaina Bukowski, originally from Jackson Michigan, was an Ann Arbor resident for over a decade and is currently living in Detroit. Melaina’s current position is the Community Giving Coordinator for Zingerman’s Community Business Network. Melaina's position tasks her with managing all of the community giving initiatives for Zingerman's and facilitating partnerships with nonprofits all over Washtenaw county and beyond. This position allows Melaina to merger of passions: volunteering and community work. Everyday, she is able to make a difference in her community with an organization that feels like home.

Melaina is empowered by creating community and inspiring humanity to take care of one another. She is a dedicated philanthropist, putting in over 100 hours of volunteering time annually for dozens of nonprofits; building houses with Habitat for Humanity Huron Valley, mentoring with places like Big Brothers Big Sisters, managing donations/fundraising drives, and environmental work. She is the chair her volunteering workgroup at Zingerman's and was recently honored with the “Abercrombie Award” from Zingerman's for her volunteering efforts.

Although Melaina is a new to A2CT, her love for theatre started at a young age beginning with a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Center Stage Jackson (Clark Lake Players.) This love stuck with her and she recently adapted that love to filmmaking. In the past year, her film group won an “Audience Choice Award” with the 48 Hour Film Project Detroit, for a short film for which she did stage and effects makeup and starred in. Armed with a love of philanthropy, theatre, number crunching and organizing, Melaina is thrilled to become more active with A2CT.

Board Members

Laurie Atwood

90th Gala Committee

Laurie Atwood has lived in Ann Arbor most of her life and is a frequent performer with many theater groups in southeast Michigan-- performing in over 50 Ann Arbor Civic Theater shows. She is the owner and director of The Children’s Creative Center in Ann Arbor, celebrating 25 years in 2018.

Laurie believes in the power of giving back and has served as Board President for The Blackbird Theater, as a member of the board member for Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation, and is the founder of the Friends of Children’s Creative Center Foundation. Her philanthropic pursuits include: Avalon Housing, Child Care Network, Ann Arbor Hospice, and the Alzheimer’s and Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Laurie has been recognized as a leader in the child care community and was selected as the winner of The Women of Distinction Award (2006) from the Girl Scouts of the Huron Valley Council. Laurie has a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Michigan, a Masters in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Development (1977) from Eastern Michigan University, and completed ABD doctoral work for Teaching and Psychological Studies at the university of Michigan.

Wendy Ascione-Juska

Events Committee Chair

Wendy has lived in Ann Arbor for most of her life and has over 15 years of experience with non-profit development, event planning, and volunteer management. With over 12 years of expertise in academics and event planning, Wendy is currently working as an events Manager for the ADVANCE Program at the University of Michigan. In her career she has been a published author, worked on the Wallenberg Medal and Lecture Series, and most recently received the Distinguished Diversity Leadership Award (2015.)

With passion and enthusiasm, Wendy believes strongly in the importance of serving her local community. She currently is an active fundraising committee member for Friends in Deed, a volunteer wish granter with Make-a-Wish Foundation, and a founding member of the grassroots group: Women March On-Washtenaw. Wendy has served as Board President for the Southern Arizona Volunteer Management Association (SAVMA), and was one of the highest grossing fundraisers for the 2017 Mind over Matter Walk. Wendy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Women's Studies (2000) and a Masters of Social Work (2002) from the University of Michigan.

Lisa Gavan

Finance Committee Member; Facilities Committee Member

Lisa Gavan has lived in Ann Arbor for 10 years and a member of Ann Arbor Civic Theater for 8. Lisa has worked on more than 13 A2CT productions, and is a dedicated member bringing skills such as stage management, production management, set design, props design and overall production support. Lisa started a photography business at the age of 17, and is known to take on as much as possible to ensure the success of every production.

Lisa has been working in the non-profit sector and focusing her career on the arts. She is currently wearing many hats, working as a Program Manager for The Arts Alliance and Artrain, Assistant Production Manager at the Blue LLama Jazz Club, and Stage Manager/Assistant Producer for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Before serving with A2CT, she served on the board as secretary for the University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society (UMGASS). Lisa often donates photography services to local organizations like Skyline High School, A2CT, UMGASS, Eastern Michigan University and more. She is excellent at organization, customer service and networking, marketing, and talent recruitment.

In 2017 Lisa was awarded a Graduate Assistantship upon acceptance into the Arts Administration Program at Eastern Michigan University. She earned a Certified Nonprofit Professional credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and was selected as a National Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Ambassador by the home organization and Ann Arbor Summer Festival allowing her to complete her Graduate Project. Upon completion, Lisa was asked back to Stage Manager for the 2019 season. Lisa has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Biomedical and Fine Art Photography from College for Creative Studies (2004) and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Leadership, Certified Nonprofit Professional (2019).

Susan Bloomgarden Gechter

Volunteer Committee Chair ; Education Committee Member

Susan Bloomgarden Gechter moved to Ann Arbor in 2007. She became a member of the Ann Arbor Civic Theater in 2018 and produced the 2018 Spring Jr. Musical Elephant and Piggie's 'We Are In A Play!'.

With an extensive background in education, she recently changed her passions to the Engineering Field and is currently a Program Engineer at Tenneco. Susan is interested in sharing and teaching the love of theater with the community, and has a deep connection with children and education. In the past, Susan has served on several education boards and in multiple positions including: Vice President Fundraising/Book Fair Co-Chair for South Park Elementary School PTO, President/Executive Vice President of King Elementary School PTO, President/Vice President for Clague Middle School PTSO, President Community High School PTSO and Secretary/Fundraising Chairman for Randazzo Dance Company. Susan also has been involved with the Community Ensemble Theatre as the Tech Week Meals Coordinator, and assisted with costumes for several years.

Although Susan is new to A2CT and doesn’t consider herself a “performer,” her board experiences coupled with her professional success, and love of kids brings a different perspective in helping and providing opportunities for everyone interested in theater. She loves going to shows and helping out where needed. Susan is truly passionate about teaching children to love theater-- and sharing that love with the community-- whether on stage or behind the scenes. Susan has a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from the University of Michigan (1988) and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from National-Louis University (1994).

Joshua Kay

Finance Committee Member; Education Committee Member

Joshua Kay has lived in Ann Arbor for 25 years and holds a PhD in clinical psychology and a law degree, both from the University of Michigan. He is a clinical professor of law in the University of Michigan Law School's Child Advocacy Law Clinic and, prior to attending law school, was an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine, where he specialized in pediatric rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology. He now teaches and practices primarily in the area of child protection law. He was the founding director of the U of M's Veteran's Legal Clinic and Domestic Relations Mediation Clinic, and he has also taught in the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic and the Juvenile Justice Clinic. As a litigator, he has appeared in trial courts, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the Michigan Supreme Court. He has also published numerous journal articles and book chapters on various law and psychology topics.

In addition to his A2CT board membership, Josh is president of the Chelsea Figure Skating Club and vice president of Camp Ossipee, a nonprofit family camp in New Hampshire. He has also served as Vice President of the ACLU of Michigan and treasurer and chair of the ACLU's Washtenaw County branch. As an actor, Josh has appeared in numerous productions, including Othello (Senator/Gratiano), Fahrenheit 451 (Holden), and The Play's the Thing with A2CT, Uncle Vanya (Vanya) with Arb Arts, Hamlet (Claudius) at the University of Michigan, The Kids from Amandla Street (The Watchman) with Spinning Dot Theatre), and several Shakespeare in the Arb productions. His children have also appeared in various A2CT Junior Theatre productions, and his son has acted with Spinning Dot Theatre's Youth, Teen, and Repertory Companies.

Victor McDermott

Facilities Committee Chair; Fundraising Committee Member

Victor McDermott, originally from Jackson Michigan, has worked in the Ann Arbor area for several years. Currently Victor is an educator at Ann Arbor Academy, where he teaches performing arts and mathematics, coaches athletic teams, and creates performance opportunities for students. In his early career, Victor was a touring musician who started an independent record label and hosted a television show on cable. With a passion for art and humanity, Victor has used his extensive background and unique experience to facilitate music therapy groups for the Michigan State University Community Music School for over a decade.

Beyond being an educator, Victor is currently a semi-professional musician and actor who is actively involved with dozens of productions with several theater companies in the area, and has been a member with A2CT since 2015. Proudly, Victor has worked in nearly every capacity surrounding the theater. In 2015 he was awarded a “Shining Star” award by Jackson Civic Theater and in 2014 was awarded an Outstanding Volunteerism award by the Eric “Ricstar” Winter Music Therapy Camp. Victor strongly believes that access to theatrical experiences is essential to becoming a well adjusted, socially aware individual and has dedicated his life to making this possible for the surrounding communities.

Bette Shifman

Play Selection Committee ; Studio Committee

Bette has been a Michigander all her life, and currently resides in Northville. Currently working as an Adult Services Librarian and previously practicing international law. Bette is a recent member of A2CT but is a professional A2CT audience participant.

Bette is a professional in her field accomplishing several major feats: established a successful ombuds office for consumer complaints against major Canadian banks, contributed to revival/revitalization of century-old tribunal in The Hague, and has spearheaded the development and maintenance of major online database on international commercial arbitration. Because of her experience Bette has been involved extensively in several publications including books and articles in the field of international dispute resolution.

Bette has served on several editorial boards for multiple legal publications and The Royal Netherlands Society of International Law. She has a Bachelor of Artin (1975) and Master of Science in Information (2008) from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate degree (1981) from George Washington University.