Muse Machine director of preschool and elementary programs retires

The Muse Machine has announced that Michael Lippert, director of preschool and elementary programs, plans to retire Dec. 31.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, staff, and our partner teachers and students, I wish to extend our deepest appreciation for Michael’s years of service to Muse Machine. Although he is retiring as a program director, we’re thrilled he will continue as a teaching artist with our programs,” said executive director Ruth Reveal.

Lippert began his career with Muse Machine in 1987 as administrative assistant to founder Suzy Bassani, a position he held until 1991. In 2006, he returned to Muse to transition the Muse Adventure, an arts exposure program, to the arts-integrated preschool and elementary programming that has become a fixture for Muse Machine and the community. In a typical year, Muse’s preschool and elementary residencies reach around 6,000 students in 100 schools across 13 counties.

In the classroom, Lippert collaborates with students and teachers to use theatre to create original performance pieces that communicate the curriculum concepts they are working to master.

“Muse Machine and Michael Lippert bring the arts into the classroom,” said Angie Knick, a third-grade teacher at Covington Elementary School. “It’s awesome to see students come to life, unlike any other time in the classroom. They can learn curriculum in a fun way and then retain the information all year long.”

Lippert is a renowned educator and arts-integration artist. In 2011, Lippert received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio for arts education. The announcement for his Governor’s Award stated, “His program, which is quickly becoming a national model, helped transform the Muse Machine’s struggling elementary program into a hugely successful residency-based program. In this program, Lippert uses his irrepressible energy and love of theater to foster an environment where students are truly put first and even the driest subjects explode with life.”

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Muse Machine dedicated its 2017 musical “Hairspray” to Lippert for his many years of service. He is a founding member of and resident artist with the Human Race Theatre Company and was inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame in 2018.

“During Michael’s years of service to Muse Machine as a teaching artist and program director, he has inspired thousands of students and teachers,” added Reveal. “He has tackled every range of subject matter, from multiplication to plant cells, with his contagious joy and artistic talent. While Michael retires from his role as program director, we are excited for him to continue his work with Muse as an expert teaching artist as we train the next generation of arts-integration specialists. The foundation of our preschool and elementary programs is incredibly strong thanks to Michael.”

Lippert will be succeeded by Beth Wright, who will assume the role of preschool and elementary program manager in January. Wright is a dancer, choreographer, former member of Rhythm in Shoes, and longtime dance teaching artist with Muse Machine.

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