Academy & Education Staff

J.T. Backes (Academy Headmaster) Contact J.T. at

Elizabeth Bivens-Logan (Lead Teacher) Contact Liz at

Brittany Boeche-Vossler (Programming Administrator) Contact Brittany at

Matt Daniels (Director of the Young Company/Lead Teacher) is a frequent collaborator at First Stage, as an actor (EDWARD TULANE, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, THE SNOW, ELLA ENCHANTED, SHREK, A MIDNIGHT CRY, and A WRINKLE IN TIME, among many others), director and movement director (ANIMAL FARM, TXT U L8R, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, OUR TOWN, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, NANCY DREW, CYMBELINE), and Director of the Young Company and teacher for the Theater Academy. In addition to First Stage his directing work has been seen at MCT’s New Play Development series, Sunset Playhouse, goats & monkeys, and in New York with his company Tyrannosaurus rep. Matt’s acting credits include appearances at Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, In Tandem Theater, and the late Milwaukee Shakespeare, as well as Forward Theater, Kentucky Rep., Lake Geneva Theater Co., several regional Shakespeare Festivals, and on many independent stages in New York. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School Drama Division. Contact Matt at

Coltyn Giltner (Education Lead Teacher and Next Steps Assistant Director) Contact Coltyn at

Kim Hardtke (Education Manager) Contact Kim at

Brinn Hill (Academy Registrar and Family Partnership Program Coordinator) Contact Brinn at 

Julia Magnasco (Programming Director) Contact Julia at 

Samantha Montgomery (Academy Resident Teacher and Next Steps Directoris a performance artist who is committed to the process of learning. Teaching is her passion. She has taught in both traditional and non-traditional settings. She is a licensed educator and an acting coach. She has worked for Milwaukee Public Schools and parochial/private schools in the Milwaukee County area. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with First Stage Academy.  She believes that theater is a powerful instrument that can be used to educate and change the hearts and minds of people around the world. Samantha has earned a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and a M.A. from Alverno College in Education. Contact Samantha at