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New PACE Teachers to Build on Program's Success

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Mamaroneck High School's two new PACE teachers will collaborate on the Musical Collage for their first production in the coming school year, continuing a tradition unique to their predecessors, while adding something new to the mix.

Zachary Moore and Allison Parsley were introduced as the new theatre and dance teachers on stage at June's Senior Recital, where students bombarded them with warm welcomes.

"To see the students happy and excited about it really made me feel good because I know how it can be when someone that has been your dance teacher or theater teacher all of sudden leaves," said Parsley, who admired her predecessor Martie Barylick from afar for years.

During the first few days of classes, Moore, Parsley and returning music teacher Bill Derby will hold auditions for the musical, which is a student-written script and score. This year, every scene and note is written by students for the first time ever, Derby said.

"It's a nice introduction for us, that the first show is something we all work on together," said Moore, a graduate of NYU's Educational Theatre program. "It gets us off on a good foot. And the whole point of this program is the crossover of the arts and how they can help each other and work with each other."

That philosophy is largely why Mamaroneck High School's PACE program has been ranked one of the ten best public school art programs in the country.

"My philosophy in teaching is so very parallel to the PACE philosophy, which is just allowing the students to be the creative people that they are and helping nurture them to express their creativity," said Parsley, who is classically trained and taught dance at an elementary school in Brooklyn for the last five years.

While both Moore and Parsley will make changes and bring their own unique perspectives to the program, they said they both intend to carry on the core values of PACE.

"I think maintaining that is key to the success of this program moving forward," Moore said.

Each department -- music, theatre and dance -- will stage three shows this year, which is the same amount they have in the past. While Parsley said there will be a big learning curve, she is excited to get started.

"I would want to be a student in the program at this time," she said.

Both Parsley and Moore have the blessing of their predecessor.

"I think we got two miraculous people," Barylick said. "They've watched us teach, we've watched them teach. We're really excited to see where the program goes from here."

Have you been to any of the PACE program's productions? Comment below, on Facebook or Twitter.

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