Jeffrey Nealer is the Production manager and drama teacher at DeKalb School of the Arts. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Stage Management from North Carolina School of the Arts in 1985. Shortly after that worked for off-Broadway performances as a lighting designer and stage manager. He uses that experience to better prepare his students for the Real World and gives them insight on the ins and outs of stage managing for Broadway productions.
Later he moved to Atlanta and helped found the Jazz Dance Theater with Artistic Director Richard Alford. He was then able to truly try out his own lighting designs and techniques that he now teaches to his students. He also used those same original designs and techniques in Local Theater productions with Theatrical Outfit, The Academy Theater, 14th Street Playhouse, Seven Stages, the Alliance Studio Theater, International Broadcast Studios of CNN, Centennial Olympics which includes the trade show floor of the World Congress Center for Microsoft, Nike, and CSX. He shares all the knowledge that he has acquired from those experiences to inspire his students to be original and work hard. He started teaching at DeKalb School of the Arts in 1995. He has devoted more time to DeKalb School of the Arts then he does to his personal life. He makes personal connections with all his students and strives to better them every day.
Nealer is known for how his students’ progress in responsibilities and knowledge of stage management for shows that are put on by the school. The way he enforces these qualities in the students is by instructing them to actually stage manage a show or tour group with either another student or by themselves depending on their grade level. He makes them communicate with his fellow staff which forces them to better their communication skills and learn first-hand how to handle difficult situations. He also instills a sense of leadership in his students. They are often in charge of their fellow students, where some might expect them to give them slack but they truly take charge and take their charge seriously. He teaches them the importance of being punctual. They have to account for whether or not the crew and cast of each show or tour group is there at their at their call time. They are also required to write reports of the performance that details how the show actually went.
A major advocate for the arts, Nealer has always loved the arts and found his special connection to them and has never stopped feeling that love. Jeffrey Nealer often schedules and encourages many children to go to the congress and advocate for the arts whether it be for more funding or for support in general. Overall, he uses his passion for the arts to inspire young students to create their own path and utilize the essential tools he has taught them. Most importantly he teaches students to be their very best self.
Richard A. Wright is an award winning actor who attended Gordon College and Armstrong Atlantic State University where he received his BA in theater with focus on theater management and performance. He attended college after serving in the US Army where he attained the rank of Sergeant. Richard holds an MA in drama theatre for young audiences from Eastern Michigan University, and is currently a 3rd year MFA candidate in the drama theatre for young audiences program there. Richard has also been a member of the prestigious Hilberry Repertory Theatre, the nation’s oldest graduate repertory theatre. During his career Richard has toured professionally with Missoula Children's Theatre as a tour director and actor. He has also served as the company manager for the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts which created the Tony Award winning Musical 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Over his 17 year career, Richard has taught workshops throughout the nation on role-play, improvisation, basics of acting, make-up, theater games, community theater development, history of storytelling, theater etiquette, and theater marketing. Richard considers himself blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the best and brightest of Broadway and is proud to have taught theater to children and young adults from kindergarten all the way through the college level. Richard currently teaches theater and arts management/marketing at DeKalb School of the Arts. In his spare time Richard is active with the Veterans of Foreign Wars where he serves as the Sr. Vice Commander of Post 6542.