Our sincere thanks to all of those who have so generously given of their time and expertise.  They are the knowledgeable ones.

KyrlShootsHarkinSMcroptWSenator Tom Harkin, IA  served as a United States Senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1985.

HarkinGrabSM2WSenator Harkin served five senate terms and at the end of his time in the senate, at the time of the interview in the film, he was serving as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

RobtRootBernsteinGrabSmWDr. Robert Root Bernstein (Ph.D., Princeton University) is a professor of physiology at Michigan State University. In 1981, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a “genius grant.”

He has also researched and consulted on creativity for more than fifteen years. Among other books, he has authored Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, and Discovering: Inventing and Solving Problems at the Frontiers of Scientific Knowledge.


MichelleRootBernsteinGRABsmWDr. Michelle Root-Bernstein  studies creative imagination across the arts and sciences, with particular attention to the thinking skills common to all disciplines. She is co-author with Robert Root-Bernstein of Sparks of Genius, The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People (Houghton Mifflin, 1999). Together, Bob and Michele lecture and consult widely on thinking tools, creative process, polymathy, and arts as the 4th “R” in education.



Dr. Kyung-Hee Kim, an Associate Professor of Creativity & Innovation at The College of William & Mary, in Virginia, USA. She previously taught at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Georgia, after teaching English in Korea for 10 years. Dr. Kim has published more than 70 journal articles, chapters, books, and other scholarly writings. She trains parents and teachers around the world, helping foster students’ creativity. In 2010, her study “the Creativity Crisis (Kim, 2011),” featured in Newsweek opened a national and international dialogue on the importance of creativity in education and business.


DunbarGRABsmWDr. Kevin Niall Dunbar is a faculty member at the University of Maryland, in the Department of Human Development & Quantitative Methodology  Working in the Laboratory for Complex Thinking, Reasoning & Educational Neuroscience, he conducts research that spans the domains of  Education, Cognitive Psychology, and Cognitive Neuroscience. The overall focus of their research is to discover and foster the psychologically and educationally important processes underlying Conceptual change and Creativity in the Arts and STEM fields.



Dr. Merryl Goldberg is a Professor in the School of Arts at California State University San Marcos and Executive Director of Center ARTES. She teaches classes related to music, and learning through the arts. Her publications include the books, Arts Integration: teaching subject matter through the arts in multicultural settings (4th edition, Pearson); Teaching English Language Learners through the Arts: A SUAVE Experience (2004, Allyn and Bacon); and Arts as Education (1992, Harvard Educational Review). She is the recipient of a number of Federal grants.  Dr. Goldberg is co-principal investigator on the DREAM (Developing Reading Education through Arts Methods) Project < Dream Institute >  and regularly speaks at national, statewide, and local conferences on the need and benefits of arts in education.

BrendaHallGRABsmWBrenda Hall, Co-Director, the D.R.E.A.M. Project.  The program’s goal is to train teachers to use visual arts and theater activities in-class to improve students’ reading and writing skills. Beginning in June 2009, and for four total years, the program offers one week Summer Institutes coupled with some coaching by professional artists throughout the year.  Here are more links to the D.R.E.A.M. Project:

Dream Institute Blog
School Leadership Test Scores Article


SudhofGRABsmWThomas C. Südhof, M.D.
Professor, Molecular & Cellular Physiology
Professor (By courtesy), Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Professor (By courtesy), Psychiatry & Behavioral Science
Thomas Christian Südhof was born in Göttingen, Germany, on Dec. 22 in 1955, and obtained his M.D. and doctoral degrees from the University of Göttingen in 1982.

In 2008, Südhof moved to Stanford, and became the Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. In addition, Südhof has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1986.

His awards for innovation include:

  • The Nobel Prize
    Along with two other researchers, Dr Südhof identified integral protein components critical to the membrane-fusion process underlying synaptic communication.
  • The Lasker Award
    The Lasker was awarded to Dr Südhof in recognition to his contributions in advances the understanding, cure, and prevention of human diseases of the CNS.
  • The Kavli Prize
    Dr Südhof, alongside two additional researchers, receieved the prize for discovering the molecular basis of neurotransmitter release.

    OlenchakGRABsmWF. Richard Olenchak, Ph.D. is a professor, psychologist, and Director of the Urban Talent Research Institute at the University of Houston in Texas, where he has been since 1998. He graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan and earned his Ph.D. in Gifted Education and Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut. For 11 years prior to going to Houston, he was Director of Teacher Education and Chair of Special Education at the University of Alabama.

    Dr. Olenchak was elected President of the National Association for Gifted Children in 2003 and served in that role until 2006. He is a former member of the board of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and Past-President of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS).

    Dr. Olenchak has authored or co-authored more than 100 research articles and has presented his work internationally, including keynote addresses in Canada and Mexico and at several large state associations for the gifted and talented.

    FredT-GRABsmWFred S. Tsuchiya, P.E. is President and CEO of Innovative Laser Technologies which was established in 1998 dedicated to systems integration of quality custom laser machines. ILT designs and Integrates laser systems as defined by customer specifications with the goal of improved yields through Advanced Feedback Processing Control TM.

    MalekGRABsmWRosanne Malek is currently a consultant with the Iowa Department of Education, and has served in a variety of roles in music education, from classroom teacher to administrator. She also is a performance artist in both vocal and piano. But she is, first and foremost, a music educator.  Find out more about her recent work HERE.

JimFritzGRABsmWJames L. Fritz is a National Board Certified music educator and was the Director of Bands at Decorah High School for 28 years, retiring in 2014.  He is responsible for building an award winning department and expanding the scope of the program to include events such as the residency of the Unified Jazz Ensemble.  Mr. Fritz remains active as a conductor, adjudicator and music education consultant.


LizFRitzGRABsmWElizabeth Fritz  is a National Board Certified music educator and was the Middle School Instrumental Music Teacher with the Decorah, Iowa Community Schools for 26 years.  She now serves as the district Technology Integration Specialist working primarily with teachers and Professional Learning. She continues to be active within her professional music organizations and provides state-wide professional development opportunities and music consulting services.

HaluskaGRABsmWMike Haluska is the current Superintendent of the Decorah Community Schools in Decorah, Iowa.


KimberlyRhodesGRABsmWKimberlyKimRhodes is an American actress, who portrayed the role of “Cindy Harrison” on two different soap operas, Another World[1] and As the World Turns, as well as Carey Martin in the Disney Channel sitcom The Suite Life of Zack & Cody[2] and The Suite Life on Deck,[2] where she played the mother of twins Zack and Cody (Dylan and Cole Sprouse). She is also known for playing Sheriff Jody Mills on Supernatural.



The Unified Jazz Ensemble is dedicated to bringing the best of jazz to audiences of all ages. Founded in 1992, the UJE engages listeners in innovative performances of jazz standards and original compositions.  Get more information on performances in your area and recordings available for sale online.

Mike Noonan: vibes, trombone, leader
John Pineda: bass
Tim Stanley: trumpet, flugelhorn
Dominic Smith: drums


Decorah Students
Gara Lonning
Michael Eastwood
Gabe Smith
Caleb Kvale
Linnea Kephart
Simon Cropp

Luther Students
Marty Kramlinger
David Clair
Jake Debacker

Past Students
Joe Grimstad
Dee Fritz
Rachel McDonald

Thanks again to all who contributed their time and expertise to this project.

2 Responses to Participants

  1. Hello, As chair person for programming at the downtown Burlington Capitol Theater I welcome the opportunity to screen “School Jazz” at our southeast Iowa theater. Please keep our theater in your thoughts for film roll out. Congratulation, you are supported and applauded,
    Terry Arellano 319-572-6637c

  2. kyrl says:

    Thank you, Terry.
    We’re about to premier the film at the 6th annual Oneota Film Festival in Decorah, and I’ll call you soon to get on your calendar. Look for the trailer (now on this site) to be shown at the Legislative Day of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education this Wed., January 28, 2015.
    I will keep you posted.
    Kyrl Henderson
    563 382 5975

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