Theatre Arts Faculty

Donald Nagel
Arts Director

Donald Nagel will be the first to admit he does not come from an arts background. Instead, he brings his 30+ years’ experience in advertising, marketing, sales, and public relations to the position of Arts Director. Having started his professional career on Park Avenue in New York City in advertising, Donald then decided to pursue a Master’s Degree  in Tourism Management which took him to South Florida where eventually he founded World Wide Cruises, Inc. After selling the company he went on to top level positions running various hotel companies before retiring at age 33. After years of boredom, Donald came out of retirement to “give back” and became a social studies teacher. Principal Melody Sears then decided to use his extensive background in sales, marketing and public relations to help build and grown the arts programs at NWSA.

Lazaro Memije
Theater Arts Teacher/Department Chair

Mr. Memije has been teaching Theatre Arts to young aspiring thespians since 1987 back in Manila, Philippines. Mr. Memije teaches Theater Arts and Movement and feels honored to be around talented and dedicated young performers at NWSA. He started his career in Mime and Children’s Theatre in 1984 with Teatro Obrero and Dulaang Kamalayan (Theatre of Awareness) Mime Ensemble focusing on mime, masks, and Developmental Theater. With his group, Mr. Memije extensively toured all over the Philippines from 1984- 1989. He earned a Post Baccalaureate degree in Theatre Education at UNC – Charlotte, and his knowledge and techniques in Corporeal Mime at L’Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique de Paris in France. He has been creatively collaborating and performing with Omimeo Mime Theater, Charlotte’s premier mime troupe, for the past 21 years.

Matt Hinson
Musical Director for Musical Theatre programs
Matthew Hinson holds a BM in Music Education from East Carolina University with concentrations in vocal music and piano accompaniment. During his tenure at NWSA he has served as music director for over 60 musical productions. Mr. Hinson has worked with many organizations, including Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Cabarrus County Playmakers, Catawba Care Coalition, and The Arts Experience. He has taught vocal workshops and master classes all over North Carolina and in London, UK. He has sung with the North Carolina Symphony, Opera Carolina, and Oratorio Singers under the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. In addition to teaching at Northwest, Mr. Hinson also serves as Associate Conductor for Carolina Voices, guest artist for the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, master class and rehearsal accompanist for The Blumey Awards, and spends his summers as Residence Life Director of Summer Ventures in Science and Math at Appalachian State University.
Sarah Buckner
Theatre Teacher

Sarah Buckner has been teaching Theatre in public and private schools for the past twenty two years.  She received her undergraduate degree in Theatre Education at Appalachian State University and did Master's work in Arts Administration at Winthrop University.  Sarah and her husband Jonathan also run their own children's theatre company, impACT Theatre, in Gastonia, NC.  Sarah has been awarded "Excellence in Directing" awards from NCTC five times and her students have won numerous acting awards and scholarships. Mrs. Buckner has also been featured twice in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers". Sarah is also a playwright and the play that her students help create, The Big picture, has become so popular that it is required viewing for all 9th grade Health students.  Mrs. Buckner also directs shows for her local community theatre.  Sarah has two children, Maya Grace who is a sophomore at NWSA, and Liam who is a ten year old  actor and sports enthusiast.  Sarah has been at Northwest for ten years and loves being a team member of such an amazing program.

Laura Hoffman
Technical Theatre Teacher
Lindsay Kelvington
Apparel and Costume Design Teacher

Lindsay Kelvington graduated from Meredith College with a BS in Fashion Design in 2010. She had the opportunity to study abroad in Paris for a summer and helped backstage at many fashion shows and was even able to work with Elie Saab! She taught Apparel Design at Broughton High School in Raleigh before moving to Charlotte for her husband’s job. Mrs. Kelvington’s experience in the fashion field also includes sales, visuals and managing a boutique.  In the years she has been teaching Apparel and Costume Design at Northwest, her students have been nominated for a Costume Blumey, and have won several awards at various NCTC competitions including “Excellence in Costuming”, and “Excellence in Production Design”. Her students put on their own fashion show and participate in Recycle the Runway at Northlake Mall each year.  Several designs are being entered this year. She has assisted with costumes for productions in the Charlotte area specifically at Matthews Playhouse.  She enjoys attending shows all over Charlotte and New York City. Last summer, she had the wonderful opportunity to work with Eric Winterling at his costume shop in NYC for 7 weeks helping make costumes for all kinds of shows including: Aladdin, The Lion King, Frozen, and an Amazon TV series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  She and Ms. Hoffman have taken students on a field trip to NYC two years in a row where they were able to see Broadway shows, shop at renowned Mood Fabrics, and tour the Eric Winterling costume shop. It is an exciting place. Mrs. Kelvington enjoys sewing at home, though has not had much time for that lately.  She looks forward to producing the last show of the year!

Corey Mitchell
Musical Theatre and Theatre Teacher

Corey Mitchell has twenty years in the classroom and is into his fifteenth year at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC where he teaches acting and leads a dynamic musical theatre program. His Musical Theatre History final exams have become legendary, and his love for Uta Hagen is unparalleled. Corey does not shy away from material that challenges his students, the audience, or his own skills. Some of the most notable of the seventy plus productions include For Colored Girls..., Pippin, Edges, Aida, Rent and Hair. During his career, Corey has garnered recognition as a director, performer, and teacher, including the North Carolina Outstanding Theatre Arts Educator. In 2015, Corey was selected out of over 7000 nominees as the recipient of the inaugural Excellence in Theatre Education Tony Award presented by the American Theatre Wing and Carnegie Mellon University. Most recently, out of a pool of over 22,000 educators, Mitchell was selected as a top 50 Finalist for 2017 Global Teacher Prize.

In addition to his work at Northwest, Corey is involved as a director and actor with the Charlotte area theatre community and is a strong advocate for arts education through his work on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Theatre Conference and The Arts Empowerment Project. Additionally, Mitchell, his colleagues, and his students are the subject of the 2017 feature-length documentary Purple Dreams. The film chronicles the journey of Northwest's production of The Color Purple and its journey to the main stage of the International Thespian Festival The documentary was produced by GreyHawk Films and underscores the transformative power of an effective arts education.

With past and present students performing, writing, and composing for community, university, and regional theatre, as well as theme parks, independent and studio films, the West End, national tours, and Broadway, Corey Mitchell is proudest of the love for the stage he instilled in thousands of young artists over the years.

Kelly Petrere
Musical Theater and Theater Teacher