Kathy Anderson began her career in Arts Management over 20 years ago as a student in the Music Industry program at Minnesota State University Moorhead, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1991. As a junior in college, she interned at Trollwood Performing Arts School and has since held numerous management roles in both the non-profit and for-profit industries. Kathy has been at the helm of Trollwood Performing Arts School since the fall of 2009. Under Kathy’s leadership, Trollwood has expanded its arts educational offerings through the creation of programs such as the Trollwood Conservatory, Totally Trollwood Academy, and the Trollwood Children’s Theatre. Kathy was also instrumental in starting the nationally recognized Students At Risk (STAR) program for Trollwood back in 1997. Kathy has served in the role of producer for several Trollwood Mainstage Musical productions including Anything Goes (2010), The Music Man (2011), Legally Blonde (2012), Shrek (2013), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2014), Disney's Mary Poppins (2015). In the Fall of 2012, Kathy was asked to take on a larger role at Trollwood and oversee the management and programming of the venue, currently known as Bluestem Center for the Arts, as well as oversee all aspects of fundraising and development for the organization. Previously, Kathy held the position of Executive Director for the Cass County Historical Society and Bonanzaville USA (1997–1999). Under Kathy’s direction, Bonanzaville underwent a major renovation and also secured the initial vision and funding for the development of the Lucien Barnes Pavilion at Bonanzaville. In addition to Kathy’s roles in the non-profit industry, Kathy worked for Microsoft (2000–2005) where she was a Technical Support Engineer and Technical Lead for the accounting package Great Plains prior to returning to Trollwood as the Director of Administration in the spring of 2005. In addition to her professional arts management career, Kathy enjoys making music as a singer/songwriter. Kathy also loves spending quality time with her husband, Jim, and daughter, Jessica.
For over 30 years Mr. Walling has been a leader in arts education, devoting his entire career to inspiring young adults at the college and high school levels. He has traveled the country teaching workshops, lecturing and directing award winning theatrical productions. It was in 1991 that he first came to Trollwood as the chair of the Musical Theatre Department. The following year Mr. Walling began what was to become the most successful tenure as resident stage director in Trollwood’s history. For over two decades he has brought to the Mainstage Musical a set of professional standards that our audience has come to expect. In 2001 the mayor of Fargo proclaimed, from this day forward July 18 will officially be Michael Walling day in Fargo, ND. Today, as Artistic Director of the Mainstage program, Mr. Walling continues to bring professional artists from around the United States to share their knowledge and expertise with our local young adults. Together they create what has become one of the most celebrated events in North Dakota, Trollwood’s very own Mainstage Musical.
Program & Volunteer Services Coordinator
Nancy has been involved with Trollwood as a volunteer and parent since 2003. She started her role on the Trollwood staff in January, 2008 as the Events and Volunteer Services Coordinator. In the Fall of 2009, Nancy took on the role of Program and Volunteer Services Coordinator for Trollwood. In her new capacity, Nancy continues coordinating all volunteer efforts and also oversees the youth arts programs of Trollwood including coordinating all aspects of the Trollwood Academy, Totally Trollwood Academy, Totally Trollwood Musical, Trollwood Conservatory, Trollwood Children's Theatre, ArtSpark, the STAR program, and the Trollwood Student Leadership program. Nancy is responsible for developing curriculum, as well as hiring and managing the faculty for all of these key Trollwood programs. As of the Fall of 2012, Nancy is also working to develop arts programming opportunities for the life-long learner at Trollwood as part of Trollwood's vision of creating a Regional Arts Center. The parts of her job she enjoys the most include working with all of our wonderful students and volunteers that make up the Trollwood family. Her previous employment was with the Muscular Dystrophy Association where she served as Health Care Service Coordinator, running the MDA Clinic and Summer Camp programs. Prior to being employed by Trollwood, Nancy spent numerous hours volunteering for the organization. She served as the volunteer Ambassador Chair, assisted with poster distribution, Sun Celebration, Tech Week meals, mic wiring, concessions, set construction, the holiday card mailing, and more. Her love of theatre began at Fargo North High School where she performed in several shows. During college, she was a member of the North Dakota Repertory Theatre and also performed in shows at NDSU and the FMCT. Nancy holds her Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Sociology from NDSU. Her favorite past time is spending time with her children, Dan, Ginny, and husband, Mark.
Rachel Gillen has served as the Trollwood Registrar since November of 2015; working full-time in the summer and part-time throughout the school year. As Registrar, Rachel handles all aspects of the registration process, works with students and faculty in the summer, and assists with operations throughout the year. Rachel also directs or assistant directs three shows a year at Fargo North High School and has since 2005, winning the North Dakota Director of the Year award in 2007. Recent productions include West Side Story, King Lear, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Hay Fever, and The Sound of Music. Rachel attended the Association Free Lutheran Bible School in Plymouth, Minnesota. She taught preschool in Plymouth, Minnesota and then in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she also served as the preschool supervisor and school age supervisor. Rachel also worked at the Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA) in Grand Forks from 2002 through 2005 as an assistant director of the drama and administrative assistant. When not working in the theatre world in one form or another, Rachel writes novels and plays and is active in her church. Rachel enjoys spending time with her crazy and wonderful theatre family; her husband Tom and their three children, Elizabeth, Josiah, and Veronica. Seeing the positive impact that involvement in the arts has on students of all ages is her favorite part of her job!
In March of 2015, John relocated to the Fargo-Moorhead area from Omaha, Nebraska to take on the position of Building Engineer here at Trollwood. As the Building Engineer, John’s many responsibilities include maintaining the 38 acres of land along with the machinery and equipment that are essential for keeping up the grounds. Other duties include cleaning the building and maintaining the interior of the facility as well as performing routine maintenance throughout the property. He is also responsible for setting up and tearing down stages, tables and chairs for the many events that take place throughout the year at Trollwood. As part of the events team, John helps oversee the Bluestem Amphitheater, which holds approximately 3,000 people during the summer concert season, which typically runs from May through October. Before John joined the Trollwood Administrative Team, he worked in Omaha, Nebraska for 16 years at a Fortune 500 company as a Building Engineer. John has held a Frist Grade Stationary Engineer’s License since 2008 and prior to that he held a Third Grade Stationary Engineer’s License. He also has a 2 year Associate’s Degree in Welding Fabrication and Technology and has an Associate Preprimary Credential from the American Montessori Society. In his free time, John loves to ride motorcycles and work with his hands. John’s family is everything to him and he loves spending time with his wife Kathy, son Jake, daughter Kersten, daughter-in-law Allison, and his two Granddaughters, Jaiden and Cynthia.
Community Relations Coordinator
Kelsy Hewitt is originally from the Fargo-Moorhead area and is excited to be back at Trollwood Performing Arts School! Kelsy is an alum of Trollwood participating both on and off-stage for 5 years (04’ – 09’); she has also worked in the Costume Shop in multiple facets from 2012-2013. Kelsy holds an Associate Degree in Fashion Design (12’) from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Costume Design (15’) from North Dakota State University. Kelsy has been very involved with the arts community in Fargo-Moorhead working with many different arts organizations by designing and constructing the costumes for many musicals including Footloose (Gooseberry Park Players), Rent (West Fargo Summer Arts Intensive), Tarzan (Moorhead High School), and Fancy Nancy (Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre). Kelsy has also been avidly involved with Bras on Broadway at the Hotel Donaldson for the past 4 years. As Community Relations Coordinator of Trollwood, Kelsy works together with Kathy Anderson, Executive Director, to help build the relationships and financial foundation that is needed for Trollwood to be successful now and into the future. Kelsy is also responsible for coordinating all of the private, public, and in-house events that are hosted at Trollwood. Outside of the office, Kelsy loves to spend time with her family and travel. Kelsy is thrilled to be given a great opportunity to work for a great arts organization, and is excited for the future we can create for our community.
A North Fargo-native, David is an alum of Trollwood Performing Arts School, and has been involved with this organization for over 10 years. David began his employment with Trollwood in the summer of 2013 as the Volunteer Associate, in 2014 as the Programming Associate, and in 2016 he began his role as the Assistant to the Executive Director. As Executive Assistant, David oversees the Business and Box Office, and is responsible for coordinating, hiring, and supervising the business office, box office, and seasonal office staff. David plays a critical role in his duties as Executive Assistant, helping the Executive Director with multiple projects that are crucial to keeping the organization operating smoothly. He also coordinates and directs the annual Alumni Holiday showcase. David holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Music Education with a minor in Dance from Millikin University in Decatur, IL. After graduating, David decided to move back to take advantage of the wonderful arts community and began teaching and choreographing musicals in the Fargo-Moorhead and West Fargo area, with favorites including West Side Story (Fargo North High School), Spamalot (West Fargo Summer Arts Intensive), and Seussical (Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre). In 2016, David was recognized for his contemporary piece, “Smother,” where Red River Dance was awarded Grand Champions at the Triple S National Convention. David is truly grateful to be able to give back to an arts organization that nurtured his creativity and led him on his path to be a successful artist and arts administrator. For David, the most rewarding aspect of his job is recognizing that hundreds of students come through this organization and leave with a better understanding of their talent and creativity, and the confidence to pursue whatever dreams they imagine.
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Matt is relatively new to the Trollwood family having joined the administrative team back in January, 2016 as the Marketing & Communications Specialist. Previously, he worked at a family run printing company in Houston, Texas for nearly five years where he utilized his degree in Graphic Design and worked his way up from entry level designer to Lead Designer and Production Manager. After living and working in Texas for 5 years, Matt and his wife made the decision to move back to Fargo to raise their young family in this great community. As Marketing & Communications Specialist at Trollwood, Matt is responsible for designing, organizing and distributing all advertising and marketing materials and media for the organization with a special emphasis on the annual Mainstage Musical. Though he does not have a background in theatre, as a designer he enjoys working within such a creative environment and being surrounded by such talented students, instructors and coworkers throughout the year. For Matt, one of the most rewarding aspects of working at Trollwood Performing Arts School is being able to witness first-hand the results of everyone’s hard work as the students, from Kindergarten to High School, perform for hundreds or thousands of people. Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending quality time with his wife Katie and his sons, Carson and Weston.