R.E.A.A.D.Y. Performing Arts Charter School

R.E.A.A.D.Y. (Redefining Education, Achieving Associate Degrees for Youth) is a newly forming charter school open to all high school students in Pennsylvania. The school will be located in Millvale at the former Holy Spirit School on Farragut Street, and is scheduled to open in August 2020.

Pre-Enrollment Form

Please complete this brief Pre-Enrollment  and email back to info@reaadyfoundation.org

This is not an obligation for enrollment, only an interest. Once the charter is granted for the school, 

an official enrollment packet will need to be completed. 

Thank you!

Our Mission

The R.E.A.A.D.Y.®  Performing Arts Charter School is committed to engaging, educating, and inspiring our students through an Integrated Arts and Science curriculum that strengthens their unique talents and skills and empowers them for future success. 

We are a school that is:

  • Designed for Performing Arts Students
  • An option for students in all school districts
  • A public high school with NO tuition costs
  • A new way for students to earn their Associate’s degree upon graduation
  • Offering students an opportunity to complete Arts internships in their field of study
  • A learning community designed to prepare students for lifelong careers 


Training and Academics

R.E.A.A.D.Y. will offer a customized training program to students in the Performance Arts specialties of Music, Dance, Theatre, Musical Theatre, Culinary Arts, or Math/Science. This personalized approach will cultivate and maximize their individual talents while providing them with a premier quality education. 

Additional courses will be offered once the school is established, anticipating the programs of Media Arts – Film, Media Arts – Music, Acting in Front of the Camera, and additional STEM programs

Early College In High School Academy


Our school will be the first in Allegheny County to offer our Juniors and Seniors an opportunity to earn their Associate’s Degree through the Community College of Allegheny College while earning their high school diploma.

 This will enable students to pursue their bachelor’s degree in a possible two-year period at various universities, and save money on college tuition. 


The Community

Millvale is an optimal location for the R.E.A.A.D.Y. Performing Arts Charter School. It’s central Allegheny County location makes it easily accessible to students in all surrounding school districts, and counties.  

The R.E.A.A.D.Y.  Performing Arts Charter School believes in giving back to the community as much as possible and will employ members of the local community in many unique positions. 

Additionally, we will offer community programs such as workshops, after-school programs, and outreach programs. 

Meet Our Board

Kenneth Nickel, Founder, CEO & Artistic Director

Ken is a former Principal Dancer with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, and Dallas Ballet Company. He was the Artistic Director of Performing Arts for La Roche College, where he established a B.A. Degree for Performing Arts In Dance and developed a public-school Arts dance program. Mr. Nickel joined California University of Pennsylvania where he designed and worked with their Bachelor of Arts Degree in dance. In collaboration with the Community College of Beaver County, Ken created and developed a program where junior and senior students can earn an Associate of Arts degree in Dance during high school. He served as Artistic Director of the program for the Community College of Beaver County. Ken has also served as a board member of the Spina Bifida Association for the past three years.

Richard Smith, CFO

Richard has over 40 years of experience with organizations both as a financial consultant and as an Owner/CFO/CEO. He is an expert in reorganizing and strengthening. Smith started his business career as a computer operator and then formed a public accounting firm. As a financial advisor and business-planning consultant, he led the turnaround of multiple businesses. Smith is the author of The Manual for Business and Personal Success. For the past eight years, he has served on the board of directors as both President and Chairman on the Spina Bifida Association. Smith graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed the Entrepreneurial Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

John Gall, Dean of Curriculum & Student Development

Dr. Gall earned his BA, MA, and PhD in English Literature from Duquesne University. He has taught over 20 different courses at the college level. His experience as full-time and adjunct faculty includes teaching in traditional classrooms, writing labs, and online as well as in rural, urban, and suburban areas, in correctional facilities, and on military bases. Until 2015, Dr. Gall was Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the Community College of Beaver County where he assisted in the development of numerous courses and programs, from needs analysis to outcomes assessment. He has authored, co-authored, edited, and revised numerous in-house publications, instructional guidelines, policy handbooks, marketing brochures, and reports. 

Susan Gondringer, Director of Operations

Susan has over 20 years of marketing, operations, and fund-raising experience including Operations Management, Account Services, Client Service Management, Production Management, Strategy Development, and Purchasing. Currently, Sue is Operations Manager for a full-service direct marketing agency committed to nonprofit fundraising where she is responsible for creating, maintaining and providing company-wide training of all processes and procedures. She works to promote team-oriented thinking and to build consensus across organizations. Sue is a magna cum laude graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Cheryl Aughton, Director of Communications

Cheryl is a communications professional with more than 30 years of experience in collaborating with executive leadership teams to shape and execute strategic communication plans. With an extensive background in national and international communications programs, Cheryl is skilled in using both modern and traditional media to build a positive brand. A cum laude graduate of Kent State University in Ohio, Cheryl also serves as director of communications for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in Millvale, where she has worked for the past 16 years.  

Robin Walsh, Director of Business Affairs

After completing her student teaching internship at Bethel Park High School, Robin earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a Major in Business Teacher Education from Robert Morris College (RMC). In addition to her coursework, she also worked for one semester as a Financial Aid Office Assistant and for two years as the Box Office Assistant at the RMC Colonial Theater. Robin is a certified  teacher in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Wayne Brinda, Director of Theatre

Wayne is the Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of PrimeStage, where he directed Treasure Island, The Outsiders, Twelve Angry Men, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, The Terezin Promise, and    The Giver. 

As Associate Professor of Secondary Education at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, he teaches and conducts research on adolescent literacy.  Previously, he was Director of Playhouse Jr., Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Duquesne University; an instructor at The Oakland School; and Director of the Senior School Theatre Department at Sewickley Academy.  

As a Museum Teaching Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, Wayne produces several Holocaust theatre productions and conducts presentations on using literature and theatre to teach the Holocaust. Locally, he has directed for Apple Hill Playhouse, Little Lake, Red Barn, and South Park Theatres.  

Teresa Lukes, Director of Assessment, Planning & Evaluation

Teresa earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Parks & Recreation, with a minor in Dance and a concentration in business and IT from Slippery Rock University. She teaches dance and aerobics and has served as VP of Dance for the PA State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and has presented programs at conventions, authored articles, and facilitated presentations at various schools about adaptive and creative dance in the classroom. She also served as VP of Dance for the Eastern District Association of the American Association of Health, Physical Education and Dance where she also served as a presenter at their convention. Teresa also adjudicated dancers/performances from across PA for the Arts in Education Day. Teresa works at the Beaver County Association for the Blind as administrative director. Her goal is to make a difference in the community at large through service with other organizations, collaborations with other agencies, education programs and presentations.

Renee Ann Keil, Director of Arts and Education

Renee has worked in ballet, jazz and modern dance, and has taught  acting/theatre. She earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts Degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed graduate work in movement at the University of Oslo, Norway. Renee began teaching at Chartiers Valley High School, where she created a comprehensive dance and theatre program. Subsequently she became a Lead Teacher at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Institute for Arts Educators. Other teaching positions include CCAC, Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh (movement for theater) as well as Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Theatre Program, where she taught jazz dance for 10 years. Currently, Renee is concentrating on her “visual arts,” painting in watercolor, pastels and oils. She is a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists, Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, McMurray Art League, Pittsburgh Pastel Artist League and the Garrett County Arts Council. 

Tina Walker, Director of Community Relations

Tina is a native Pittsburgher and resident of Millvale. She graduated cum laude from La Roche College with a degree in Visual Communications/Biology. Tina served as president of the Millvale Community Development Corp. for 6 years and continues to serve on the board. She was a founding member/board of trustees for the Millvale Community Library, a member of the Millvale Planning Commission, and involved in the Allegheny Together Program, strengthening Millvale's core business district.

Jane Miller, Director of Student Publications

Jane is the Project Manager/Founder of The RUFF Writers, a multi-generational literacy project of New Sun Rising. She also serves as a freelance features writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Jane began her career as a high school English/Journalism teacher and advised nationally recognized yearbook staffs. Jane has served on advisory boards for the University of Pittsburgh’s Western PA Writing Project and the University of Alabama’s National Elementary Schools Press Association. She was the multi-generational curriculum writer for exhibits and programs at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. 


Pamela Ebner Simard, Manager of Business Facilities

Pam has nearly 25 years of experience in the hospitality, insurance, financial industries, and with religious organizations. Presently, Pam is the Business Manager at Holy Spirit and St. Nicholas Parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Pam understands what it takes to deliver exceptional service and problem-solving skills with integrity, efficiency and reliability.  A Pittsburgh native, Pam attended Duquesne University and Fairleigh Dickinson University/Madison where she graduated with a degree in Accounting. Pam also earned a MBA degree from Babson College.