Faculty & Staff Directory

Faculty and Staff Directory

Our team of working artists is here to help you succeed. At DCAD, our faculty and staff demonstrate a tangible passion for art in both their personal lives and their work. Our faculty are working artists who exhibit their work across the globe and constantly seek out the best teaching methods for their students. When you join DCAD, you will benefit from lifelong relationships with established artists and art lovers.

Faculty & Staff Resources

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Melissa Frost

Accessibility and Accommodations Counselor
Academics, Accommodations, Student Services
Melissa Frost is DCAD’s Accessibility and Accommodations Counselor. She has over 25 years experience as a pediatric occupational therapist in the school districts in Delaware. Melissa is a lifelong learner and has attended several regional institutions in her undergraduate and graduate career. She recently completed her M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education with a specialty certification in disability services. She has worked in higher education disability services for the past three years.
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Bob Bickey

Director of Academic and Facility Operations
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Kristen Blanchard

Executive Assistant & Director of Special Projects
Kristen Blanchard is the Executive Assistant & Director of Special Projects; she has worked in the President’s Office since January 2018. As the President’s assistant, Kristen works closely with the Board of Trustees, DCAD donors, and other relevant stakeholders, as well as ensuring excellent communication between the students, faculty, staff, alums, and the President. Kristen has worked in the non-profit sector for 25 years, and loves the vibrant and unique DCAD community.  
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Ron Brignac

Program Chair, Photography
Ron Brignac grew up in Seattle and serves as Area Coordinator of Photography at DCAD. A teacher and a working artist, Ron has received numerous grants, exhibited and lectured across the region. In 2009, Ron received a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts to continue with his project of photographing people in their environment.
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John Brown

Professor, Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts
John M. Brown is a poet, essayist, and freelance ghostwriter from Philadelphia by way of Southern Illinois. They hold a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Rutgers University–Camden and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Eastern Illinois University. Their work has appeared in publications such as Indiana Review, Barrelhouse, DIAGRAM, and Cosmonauts Avenue. John teaches classes in writing and literature at colleges in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and at DCAD they teach Creative Writing, Writing for the Arts, Reading & Composition, and Academic Writing Lab.  
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Sean Carrow

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Heather Castro

Professor, Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts
Heather L. Castro is a historian of European and American art and film of the 20th and 21st centuries, with a specialization in the history of the grotesque and cultural trauma. Her research and teaching cover a wide range of material to address issues of spectatorship, social history, and the intersection of elite and popular forms of expression. She is currently preparing a book-length study on the zombie in art and film, with a specific emphasis on the viewer’s psychological response to the monster during times of social crisis.
PhD, Art History, Temple University, 2021
MA, Art History, University of Louisville, 2009
Headshot of David Czarnecki

David Czarnecki

Registrar and Compliance Coordinator
David Czarnecki is DCAD’s Registrar and Compliance Coordinator. He has over ten years of experience in his field and loves working with students to ensure that their journey from application to graduation goes as smoothly as possible! He is a lifelong Penn State fan and alum, having earned a Master’s Degree and two Bachelor’s Degrees from his alma mater. Dave operates an open door policy, so feel free to stop by if you have any issues and he will do his best to help you!
President Jean Dahlgren Headshot

Jean Dahlgren


Jean Dahlgren became the third and first female president of Delaware College of Art and Design in August of 2018. Previously she served as dean of undergraduate programs at Sage College of Albany in Albany, N.Y.  

During her more than 30 years in higher education instruction and administration, President Dahlgren has developed expertise in growing a student body, creating dynamic curricula, and fostering strategic partnerships. She has spoken nationally and internationally on topics related to achieving excellence in art and design education. 

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Jamila Davey

Professor, Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts
Jamila Davey is an adjunct professor in Liberal Arts and teaches courses such as Writing for the Arts, Academic Writing Lab, and Introduction to Non-Western Art. She also works with DCAD students as a tutor in the Writers Studio. Jamila holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Northwestern University. Her areas of specialization include literary studies, Islamic studies, women’s and gender studies, and cultural production of the MENA region. Jamila is enthusiastic about the art school culture at DCAD and finds inspiration in the imaginative faculty, students, and staff with whom she works. She spends her free time gardening and exploring the Delaware Valley with her husband and dog. She is also active in her community, organizing for the preservation and use of public greenspace.

Ellen Durkan

Professor, Fine Arts
Fine Arts
Ellen Durkan grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, as the oldest of nine children. In addition to teaching at her alma mater, she travels around to teach blacksmith workshops. Her business, Iron Maiden Forge, has grown and evolved as she has worked on her “forged fashion” series and presented it through runway shows and performances pieces. Ellen also has a jewelry line to make her work more accessible to the public. After all, not everyone is in need of a metal corset.
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Melissa Fitzgerald

Program Chair, Illustration
Melissa Fitzgerald is an illustrator from Delaware. She got her BFA in painting from a very traditional fine arts program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Then attended grad school at the Savannah College of Art and Design and earned an MFA in illustration. She has been teaching at the college level since 2009. As an illustrator, Melissa has worked for The National Park Service and Delaware State Parks. She has had work in galleries and museums. Designs and illustrations of hers have sold across the country and internationally. With her art, she works both traditionally and digitally with a focus on printmaking.
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Penni Gioffre

Professor, Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts
Penni Gioffre (Adjunct Prof. of Liberal Arts) is a teaching-artist with an extensive background in art history, interior design, mixed-media art, and multiple alternative health & wellness modalities. She holds an MA in Art History, an MED in Instruction: Teaching & Learning, a BS in Interior Design, Professional Certification in Aromatherapy, Practitioner Qualification in Color Therapy, and dozens of CE credits in trauma-informed and focusing-oriented expressive arts. A member of the DCAD community since 1999, Penni has taught courses in Continuing Ed, Interior Design, and Liberal Arts, and served as Chair of the LA department during the 2010’s. In addition to her work at DCAD, Penni has taught studio and lecture courses at the University of Delaware, completed numerous residencies in Delaware’s K-12 public schools, and facilitated the integration of arts and healing for a variety of healthcare facilities, wellness communities, and private practices across the state.
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Meegs Johnson

Library Director
Meegs Johnson is the Director of the Thronson Library. She has a BFA and made art for about ten years before becoming a professional librarian. She earned a Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1993 and a Master of Educational Media at Appalachian State University in 2007. Meegs loves to promote the amazing collection and learns something new about art or the art-making process every day. 
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Angel Kawash

Professor, Animation
Illustrator and Animator, Angel Kawash is an Alumni of DCAD and received her BFA In Animation from the University of the Arts. Angel is the instructor for Digital Concept Creation, utilizing character design and storytelling.
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Rebecca Klug

Associate Director of Communications
Rebecca Klug is a writer, designer, content creator, and digital marketer with 15 years of experience helping Delaware organizations build positive relationships and engaged communities of support. Rebecca holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and English from Luther College in Decorah, IA. She enjoys living and working in the heart of Wilmington and being part of the city’s thriving creative community.
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Josh Kopin

Professor, Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts
Joshua Abraham Kopin received his PhD in American Studies from the University of Texas, Austin in 2020 for a dissertation that explores the cultural and technological contexts surrounding the rise of the comic strip in late 19th century America. He has published in American LiteratureInks, The Journal of Comics and Culture and Keywords for Comics Studies. He has served as the President of the Comics Studies Society’s Graduate Student Caucus and he is presently the Programming Director of the International Comics Art Forum. He teaches at Haverford College, Thomas Jefferson University, and the Delaware College of Art and Design, and sometimes he also works in an office.
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Pamela A. Mann

Director of Development
Pamela has worked for non-profits for over 30 years specializing in Special Event Fundraising, Marketing and Grant Writing.  She was the former Development Officer for YWCA Delaware, Fund Development Director for Girl Scouts of Central California in Bakersfield, CA, and Director of Development for the Easter Seal Society of Philadelphia.  Her fundraising territory covered five counties in Pennsylvania and California. She obtained a business license in Kern County and started Ultimate Service, a consulting company assisting small businesses to obtain their non-profit status, creating a marketing plan and grant writing for special projects. Past work experiences included multiple fundraising events in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and California; Soliciting corporate and foundations; Running events with sports team organizations such as Philadelphia Eagles, 76ers, and Phillies in PA, and the Bakersfield Blaze and Condors Hockey Teams in CA.  Pam’s fundraising career allowed her to collaborate and run events with major television stations like KYW TV3 and WHYY12 in Philadelphia; KGET 17 and KBAK 29 in California along with various radio stations. Pam graduated from Lake Forest High School and attended Delaware State and Widener University in PA. Her community work included Membership Chair of the Rotary International Club in California; Board Member of the Jr. Black Chamber of Commerce; Board Member of Kern County Literacy Program; Board Member of the Women and Girl’s Grant Fund.
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Muriel Mhloyi

Business Office, Financial Aid
Muriel is the Bursar at the Delaware College of Art and Design. She helps our designers figure out their tuition payments so they can focus on their schoolwork. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Cheyney University, Muriel utilizes her extensive experience, to work with students and parents, so our students can focus on what is important. Their creativity.
Jason Olney

Jason Olney

Professor, Graphic Design
Graphic Design
Jason is a native Delawarean. He received a BFA in film with a minor in animation from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After college, he found work doing graphic design and honed his skills with Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Jason also received the web design certificate from the DCAD continuing education program. Jason taught Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for DCAD’s continuing education program starting in 2008. In 2015, Jason started teaching graphic design as a regular faculty member. Jason is now a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, artist, and general creative-for-hire.
Headshot of Katelyn Parag

Katelyn Parag

Communications Assistant
Katelyn is a recent graduate of Delaware College of Art and Design (Class of ’23!) who fell in love with the college early on. She has her Associate of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration and is currently working alongside the faculty and staff who helped her grow as a student with the hopes of doing the same for others. Katelyn is also working outside of DCAD, writing and illustrating her own children’s book that she hopes to self-publish one day.
Headshot of Paul Rider

Paul Rider

Professor, Photography
Paul Rider is a fine art photographer exhibiting nationally and internationally. He is a founding member and exhibition curator of Level 3 Gallery, Philadelphia, and has been an educator in higher education since 2003. He is also a commercial photographer who freelances and shoots for corporations and companies such as Strawbridge & Clothier, The Franklin Mint, the ShadowLight Group, and TC Studios. 
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Elizabeth Saldan

Assistant Director of Student Life
Student Services
Elizabeth Saldan is the Assistant Director of Student Life at the Delaware College of Art and Design.  She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Communications and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies with a secondary concentration in Web Application & Design as well as Spanish.  Liz works as the Building Administrator of the 707 Residence Hall.  Her passion is working with students in Higher Education.  She believes that initiatives centered around developing young aspiring artists are a fundamental part of Student Life and should take place both inside and outside the classroom.  She’s held a lifelong appreciation of the visual and performing arts and is an avid supporter of local and regional artists.  She most looks forward to attending the Chester County Studio Tour each year where she meets different artists, learns about their creative processes, listens to their stories, and supports their incredible contributions to the arts community.
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Tad Sare

Program Chair, Animation
Tad Sare is the Program Chair for Animation at Delaware College of Art & Design where he instructs animation and foundation art courses. Tad is an experimental animator who exhibits work regionally and internationally. He also works commercially, creating online content, for businesses and organizations such as Delaware History Museum, The Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, and Camden County Community College. He continues to instruct public programs and workshops at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Kennedy Center. Instagram
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Rich Savona

Richard Savona currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Delaware College of Art and Design.  He is a graduate of Pace University (New York) where he earned his BS in Accounting.  From there, he went on to work for KPMG where he became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).  Rich has worked for Fortune 500 companies such as: Avon Corporate HQ, American Express, and MBNA.  When MBNA was acquired by Bank of America, he embraced an opportunity to do financial consulting work and pursue an MBA in Finance at Wilmington University.  Once Rich completed his MBA, he was recruited by the faculty to start teaching Finance and Accounting classes in the Graduate School – where he did that for almost 10 years.  When Rich is not working with the “numbers” – he can be found promoting his patented, drumming, invention called the Drummers Dream Kit and repairing/restoring his favorite classic car – a 1964 Pontiac GTO Convertible.
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Sydney Schaeffer

Professor, Animation
Syd is a DCAD alumni and storytelling artist currently working out of their own home studio. Four-dimensional design, Writing, Characters, Story Development, and the art of telling a story are all areas of expertise.
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Jalen Shaw

Professor, Animation
Jalen is a dedicated professional in 3D Modeling and Animation, passionate about helping individuals realize the limitless potential of 3D as a medium. With extensive experience in computer graphics, He has gained valuable insights as a CG Architectural Visualization Artist. Holding a bachelor’s degree in 3D Animation, Jalen brings a humble and open-minded approach to 3D modeling. Committed to creativity, he strives to make a positive impact and is constantly seeking new ways to inspire and support individuals through his art.
Headshot of Casey Smith

Casey Smith

Program Chair, Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts
Casey Smith is the Program Chair for Liberal Arts at DCAD. He holds a BA in English from Kenyon College and an MA and Ph.D. in English with a minor in Victorian Studies from Indiana University. Before coming to DCAD, he spent 20 years on the faculty of the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at George Washington University, where he was the founder and director of the Corcoran Writers Center. He also has taught at Indiana University and West Chester University. A frequent publisher and presenter of scholarly work on a range of topics, Casey most recently presented “Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market: 150 Years of Art & Illustration” at the Annual Symposium of the Fellowship of American Bibliophile Societies at the Delaware Art Museum. He serves as Vice-President of the Chesapeake Chapter of the American Printing History Association and is an active member of the College Book Art Association; the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals; the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing; and The William Morris Society of North America. His poetry has been published in various journals and chapbooks, and he is the sole proprietor of “Own Goal Press”, an experimental letterpress printing operation based in Wilmington, Delaware.
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Chris St. Cyr

Program Chair, Graphic Design
Graphic Design
Chris St. Cyr is an interaction designer, visual designer, and educator that mentors the next generation of creatives and collaborates with smart people to design digital products that tell stories, educate, and deliver impact. As a designer and director, he has decades of non-profit and private sector experience, in higher ed, publishing, and content marketing.
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Holly Storlie

Professor, Fine Arts
Fine Arts
Holly Storlie is a daily painter based in Philadelphia, PA whose colorful oil paintings feature animals as well as everyday still-life objects. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL, and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Holly is currently teaching foundation classes in the Fine Arts Department at Delaware College of Art and Design.  
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Denise Tanyol

Professor, Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts
Denise Tanyol received her BA in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University and her MA in English and creative writing from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, “The Inconstant Machine: Photography and American Literature,” concerns American writers’ often conflicted encounters with the camera, in particular their responses to changes in technology and practice. She has published papers on Melville, Joyce, and Faulkner and has presented conference papers on various photo-textual topics, including “The Photographic Novel from Wright Morris to 9/11.” Her recent teaching includes modern American literature, the literature of the American South, and the impact of photography on American writing. At DCAD and the University of Pennsylvania, she developed a new creative writing class, “Making Photo-texts,” in which students make hybrid works of fiction and creative nonfiction that incorporate photographs. At DCAD, she teaches the history of film (Moving Pictures), the history of photography (Lenticular Vision), and Modern Lit and Creative Writing
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Aki Torii

Program Chair, Fine Arts
Fine Arts

Aki Torii, a multi-disciplinary artist, explores the transformative concept of “home” through various artistic mediums, including drawing, sculpture, photography, and video. Torii has an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (2008) and a BFA in Painting from Indiana University – Bloomington (2005).

Recently appointed as the Fine Arts Program Chair at DCAD, Torii imparts her expertise in both traditional and digital practices. Torii continues to do public workshops at Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts School and Museum. Recognized as one of the “10 Philadelphia female artists you need to know” by PhillyVoice in April 2015, Torii has also received nominations for Metro Philly’s Best Artist category from 2021 to 2023.

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Bryn Ziegler

Professor, Fine Arts
Fine Arts
Bryn Ziegler is a Philadelphia-based artist and educator specializing in intricate narrative books. She holds an MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from University of the Arts. Bryn’s artistic practice encompasses both contemporary digital techniques and profoundly traditional craft, giving her a unique perspective on the development of books and comics today.
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Žaneta Zubkova

Professor, Fine Arts
Fine Arts
Žaneta Zubkova, a native of Lithuania, is a formerly Brooklyn-based artist and an educator. At DCAD, she specializes in color and design courses. Previous teaching experiences include Pratt Institute and Adelphi University.

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