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The Team

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Mary Love Hendrickson, SDPAC Program Manager

Mary Love Hendrickson has been involved in dance business administration for the past 19 years. She is a graduate of AUM with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Throughout the years she has worked in the banking industry, Department of Human Resources for Talladega County, and with various volunteer organizations in our community including PTO, church groups, and civic organizations.  One of her greatest joys at the studio is seeing young children come through the studio and blossom and grow into their God given potential in the arts and in life. She is a member of Church of the Highlands and enjoys serving on the dream team with the prayer team and as a small group leader. She has been married to Rob Hendrickson for 46 years and is wonderfully blessed by her family with 3 married children including the extra blessing of six grandchildren.

Jeanna Sumners, Artistic Coordinator

Jeanna Sumners is the Artistic Coordinator for Southern Dance & Performing Arts Company and overseer of SDPAC’s performing group, Spirit & Company, as well as an instructor in Levels I through 5 at the school. Jeanna began her teaching career in 1972 and is in her 49th year in the dance industry. In those 49 years, she has always felt it was her greater call to teach, motivate, and cultivate the children of our community whether they chose dance as a career or not. She considers the art of dance, the training and discipline of it, as a mentor in itself to help students be better at whatever they choose as a career.  In the past years, she has owned and operated two dance schools, one in Sylacauga and the other in Talladega, simultaneously for 17 years. Jeanna is certified to teach through Dancers Masters of America and more recently, Southern Association of Dance Masters. Since February 2018, she has three times been privileged to pray with others on A Call to Prayer with Roxanne and Ace at WDJC. A fun dream of Jeanna’s has always been to choreograph a Christian video. She got that opportunity in 2014 where she choreographed and appeared in Hezekiah Walker’s video “Every Praise”, which to date has been viewed on YouTube over 85 million times. Jeanna has been married for 46 years to her husband, Dane. They are parents to three grown children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Classes: Elementary Combo 2, Hip Hop 2, Hip Hop 3, Tap 2/3, Jazz IV, Jazz V, Ballet V, Pre-Pointe, Pointe, & Company

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J. Patrick McDonald, Musical Theatre Director

Patrick has been involved with concert production and community theatre for 35 years, beginning when he was an undergraduate at Samford University where he performed with a sketch-acting group, Act 8.  His stage credits include Uncle Fester in The Addams Family Musical, Paul Vanderbloom/Dr. John Hunter in Too Soon for Daisies, Bill in On Golden Pond (Pulaski Dinner Theatre, Tennessee), and Roy in The Odd Couple (Savannah Community Theatre, Georgia).  Additionally, he has produced and directed church drama/music programs across the country, including writing the drama book used for a production of the musical Sovereign Lord.  He also directed the SCP Student Reader’s Theatre production of Inside the Box: An Evening from the Golden Age of Radio, co-directed Tarzan, the Stage Musical, and served as the producer for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and The Miracle Worker, as musical director for Disney’s Aladdin JR, director for Little Shop of Horror, and director for The Secret Garden. Patrick performed as Mr. Bradley in Prattville’s Way Off Broadway production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and directed their production of Little Women.  Most recently he directed Southern Dance and Performing Arts Company production of Disney’s Frozen JR. and Little Women. When he is not working with theatre, he supports his family and theatre habit by working as a computer engineer for Sharecare, Inc. and serves as Pastor for Covenant Reformed Baptist Church Sylacauga.

Classes: Musical Theatre I, Musical Theatre II


Amy McDonald, Administrative Assistant/Marketing

Amy has been a homeschool mom for the past 16 years.  She has over 25-years of work experience with non-profit organizations. Amy has worked with the American Red Cross, Lucan Theatre for the Arts, Inc. and The National Christian Foundation Heartland (formerly Servant Christian Community Foundation) in public affairs, donor development, planned- giving, board development, and strategic planning.  She has also written and reviewed grants, developed and taught grant-writing, marketing, board development and strategic planning courses for non-profits.  Amy previously served as a member of the Board of the Sylacauga Community Playhouse (SCP).  She has been involved with the following SCP productions: The Miracle Worker (House Manager), Disney’s Aladdin JR (Marketing Director), Little Shop of Horrors (Marketing Director), and The Secret Garden (Marketing Director).  Most recently she served as the marketing/sponsorship director for Southern Dance & Performing Arts Company’s productions of Disney’s Frozen JR. and Little Women. She also helps Southern Dance & Performing Arts Company with fundraising by writing grants, securing sponsorships, marketing, and in the office.  In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing the piano.

Jennifer Morrow, Dance Instructor

Jennifer Morrow has been teaching dance and mentoring through the ministry of dance for 29 years; she joined the SDPAC team in 2012. Jennifer has a dance certification in ballet and jazz through Southern Dance Association of Dance Masters and a Certificate of Ministry through Highlands College. God literally turned her mourning into dancing after the tragic murder of her brother in 1994 (Psalm 30:11-12); since that time, Jennifer has always seen teaching and mentoring through dance as part of her calling. Jennifer and her husband, David, have been married for 38 years. Since 2004, Jennifer has served on the Dream Team at Church of the Highlands through prayer, coaching and leading small groups. Jennifer is also a Bible Teacher, writer (at, and author. Classes: Jazz I, II, III & Ballet III 

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Brooke Garrett, Dance Instructor

Sylacauga born and raised, Brooke is a returning alumni to SDPAC after years away to attend college. She has been married to Nelson Garrett for 5 years. She attended SDPAC from opening day until she graduated from Sylacauga high school in 2011. She has been trained in ballet, jazz, pointe, and tap. She is loving being back and giving back to the next generation what was given to her for 10 years. She is presently an Art Instructor in the Sylacauga School System at Pinecrest and Indian Valley.  In addition to teaching dance, in her free time she enjoys reading, watercolor painting, and spending time with her family. She looks forward to the years to come.

Classes: Pre-School & Elementary Combo I

Brianna Russell, Dance Instructor

Brianna Russell has 16 years of dance experience, including 5 years teaching, and a lifelong passion for ballet. Brianna’s credits include performing with Downtown Conservatory of Gadsden, Briarwood Ballet, and Birmingham Ballet. She trained with Briarwood Ballet, Project Dance Atlanta, and Ballet Magnificat’s Summer Dance Intensive.  Brianna’s primary training has been in classical ballet, lyrical, modern, and contemporary.  She earned an Associate of Science as a Physical Therapist Assistant from Jefferson State Community College and Certificate of Ministry Leadership from Highlands College. When she is not teaching dance, Brianna works at the r of Church of the Highlands.

Classes: Ballet & Jazz I, Ballet II, & Ballet IVB


Ensley Russell, Dance Instructor

Ensley has been dancing since she was four years old and loves to be on stage! She is a national award -winning choreographer for the CCT ELITE troupe. She has also choreographed for several of the main stage productions for CharACTers Theatrics and for solo competitions. Ensley studied dance at Academy of Performing Arts and Glory and Grace. She has also studied dance in NYC with The Rockettes, Broadway Dance Center and Dance Molinari. She has had the opportunity to learn with Ballet Magnificat and performed with the Atlanta Hawks Dancers. She is so excited to be bringing a new style of dance which is contemporary to Southern Dance and Performing Arts! Her passion is to teach and grow the next generation!

Classes: Co Prep, Contemporary 1 & 2

Vaughan Spanjer, Art Instructor

Vaughan Pursell Spanjer is a born creative and artist from Sylacauga, Alabama. A graduate of Auburn University in 2007, she received her B.S. in Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Production Management. Two months after she graduated, she married, moved to New York, and pursued a career in fashion design. With the longing to start a family she eventually left the fashion industry. Vaughan’s pregnancies did not come easy, so to pass the time on months of bed rest she sought therapy through her art. It was there her art and design business was born. You may know her by her iconic sheep note cards and fine art which can be found in various gift shops and boutiques throughout the Southeast. Vaughan has designed various logos for clients, custom stationery and wedding invitation suites with her calligraphy and illustrations; and has worked on countless commissioned fine art pieces.

She and her husband have three children.

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