Arts Department Team
Foundation Academy is blessed with an incredibly talented and accomplished team of instructors and leaders in the Arts Department.
Mary Ellen Murray – Art Director
Mary Ellen Murray holds a Master of Fine Arts in education from Boston University and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, studying directly under Chris Van Allsburg, author/illustrator of The Polar Express and Jumanji.
Mrs. Murray was the director of advertising for Highlands Resort Village in New Hampshire, and was the president/co-owner of a New England based jewelry company that sold original designs on national television. She was the exhibit coordinator for the Northeast Crayola “Dreamakers” show and the assistant director of the Summer Visual Arts Institute for Boston University. She was an active member of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Very Special Arts Festival. She was asked by the mayor to serve on the Human Relations Diversity Board for the City of Ocoee, and wrote a monthly column that was featured in the city newsletter. She is a past award recipient of the West Orange Chamber’s “Jewels of Our School” teacher of the year.
Since coming to Foundation Academy, her students have won top state and local awards including the ACSI Best of Show 2-D and ACSI Best of Show 3-D, First Place for the American Patriotic Creative Art Contest, First and Third Place in the Windermere Art Show, Florida All State Art Expo, Winter Park Art Festival, and the Congressional Art Competition.
Murray is happily married to former Disney animation artist and author David Murray. Together they have three children, all of whom were educated at Foundation Academy.
Joe Cioffi – Upper School Digital Arts
Joe attended Penn State and Edinboro University and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He spent eight years with the Walt Disney Company as an Animation Artist and moved to pursue business where he spent 10 years owning and operating a small business. He and his family are members of HighPoint Church and have a son Gabe who has been at Foundation for six years.
Stephanie Gamble – Upper School Digital Photography
Stephanie attended Seminole State College and received an Associates in Arts. Originally from Key Largo, Florida, Stephanie has been in the photography field since high school. She spent five years as a staff intern with Cru at UCF as the organization’s photographer. She also spent ten years as a youth sports photographer with Bishop Photo. Recently, Stephanie has spent the past two years pursuing her own photography business. Her clients include couples, families, and local small businesses. Her photographs have been published and featured in such publications as The Knot, Green Wedding Shoes, and Shoot and Share. Her portrait work has also won several awards and peer recognition. She is a member of Summit Church and this is her first year teaching at Foundation.
Deborah Johnson – PreK through 2nd Grade Art
Originally from Ohio, she was a volunteer at Foundation Academy for three years before being hired at the school. She has been working at Foundation Academy since 1997.
Preschoolers start their art education in her classroom by sharpening their fine motor skills and learning about the Old Masters as well as more contemporary artists. Deborah’s passion for art appreciation will allow students to enter the world and style of artists such as Michelangelo, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Vincent van Gogh. As students learn about the artist’s style, they will participate in style-themed projects to complement their learning.
Deborah uses many different mediums such as oil pastel, colored pencils, tempera, and acrylics in her classroom. Students can expect to learn important art concepts, such as the color wheel, art literacy, and color mixing.
She is active in the arts community and is a member of the Winter Garden Arts Association. She enjoys continuing her education at Crealdé School of Art. She encourages her students to participate in local contests, such as the Orlando Sentinel’s annual Holiday Art Contest.
Adriana Uhlman – Upper School and Lower School 3rd – 6th Grade Art
Adriana Uhlman attended The University of Central Florida and received her Bachelor of Arts in Art with a specialization in Photography. She worked at Universal Studios Orlando as a photographer in the Publicity Department. Her duties were to photograph celebrities, advertising, and documentation of the park’s expansion. She has owned a photography business, where she did portraits and advertising.
Her photographs have been published in The International Library of Photography, Cypress Dome Literary Magazine, Photographer’s Forum Best of Photography Annual, and Photographer’s Forum Best of College Photography Annual.
Mrs. Uhlman’s classroom will be a place where students will learn new art skills and practice what they have learned. By using different mediums they can be creative and learn new techniques.
Mrs. Uhlman lives in Winter Garden with her husband and two sons who attend Foundation Academy.
Kirk Hensley – Upper School & 6th Grade Band Director
Kirk Hensley graduated from Mississippi College with a Bachelors in Music Education. As a percussionist in college he was in the Symphonic Winds and on the Drumline. He was also the lead drum set player for Jazz Band and one of the founding members of the Mississippi College Percussion Ensemble. He has also played percussion, guitar, and bass guitar for various community club and church worship services. In addition to performing in several ensembles and genres, he has also taught private music lessons and instructed a high school drum line before joining Foundation Academy.
Mark Goff – Upper School Choir & Praise Band Vocal Director
Mr. Goff joined Foundation Academy in 2010 with more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment world as a vocalist, vocal coach and musician. His career includes as a vocalist as Disney’s world renown “Voices of Liberty” and award winning a cappella group “Four For a Dollar”, otherwise known as “Return to Zero”. He also has continued to coach, sing and lead recording sessions and work as a professional bassist. His vocal coaching has included work with over 40 gold or platinum selling recording artists from around the world- The Backstreet Boys, N-Sync, O-Town, Britney Spears and Creed to name a few!
Currently, Mr. Goff continues to work for Walt Disney Entertainment as a vocal coach and music director and continues to develop artists in the secular and Christian recording industries. He also continues to teach private voice to upcoming and already established professional singers.
Debra Winningham – Lower School 2nd – 6th Grade Music
Mrs. Winningham began singing in area churches with her family at the age of seven. It was these childhood experiences that stirred a passion in her to develop the natural musical gifts God gave her. Before heading off to college, she had already been doing Christian concerts on her own in local churches and traveled overseas to New Zealand and Australia as a soloist and flutist with The Baptist Festival Singers under the direction of Bob Burroughs, Stan Pethel, and Mark Hayes.
She was a member of the Chamber Choir as a Liberty University freshman and traveled with them on a month tour of England and Ireland. While in college, she performed in musicals such as “Oklahoma!” and “La Traviata”. Eventually she received a full scholarship as an alto on The Sounds of Liberty for her remaining years at LU. During her years on The Sounds of Liberty she appeared weekly on the television program called The Old Time Gospel Hour with the late Dr. Jerry Falwell. The group also toured the USA and traveled outside the US for missions outreach. She has years of recording experience as an alto with the group, either creating their own records for distribution or working in the studio with Christian companies such as Brentwood-Bensen, Word, and Integrity.
In more recent years, she has directed adult and children’s choirs in various churches. God has given her a desire to help equip the next generation of believers. Coordinating elementary chapel for the North Campus of FA, teaching elementary music, and serving as the Interim Worship Leader and Choir Director at The First Baptist Church of Montverde alongside her husband, Pastor Jonathan Winningham, give her numerous opportunities to help equip the next generation of believers.
Patti Cogburn – Upper School Theatre Arts
Patti has been active in Theatre professionally and non-professionally since high school. She has been teaching since 1989 and has been a high school drama director in Louisiana and Florida for 12 of those years. As an actor, she has performed professionally in New York City, New Jersey, Florida and Los Angeles. She feels that God has placed her at FA for “such a time as this” to work with students in a fun and creative way, which allows her the time to develop relationships and show the students the love of Christ. She continues to perform as a singer in the First Baptist Orlando special events choir. Each year, she produces great productions and keeps the students involved in the theatre world through the International Thespian Society and other activities such as Winterim trips to New York for a taste of theatre on Broadway.
Emily Laughridge – Upper School Theatre Arts
Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Performance from Oklahoma City University where she specialized in Theatre For Young Audiences and Dance Performance. Originally from South Carolina, Emily grew up performing across the state. She started her own performing arts business in high school, teaching both acting and dance to children ranging in age from pre-K through middle school. While earning her college degree, she taught at the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre as a preschool instructor and directed children’s performances at her church. Emily spent her summers away from school in New York City as a student of Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Training Program where she trained under current Broadway performers and choreographers. She also spent a semester as an entertainment intern for Walt Disney World and was hired as a seasonal cast member directly after the completion of her program. Last year, she performed in Ragtime, Rock of Ages, and Beautiful Together, An Artistic Journey Towards Hope, all at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. She also had the honor of singing at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremonies at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Currently, Emily sings on the praise team at First Baptist Church Winter Garden and continues to perform at Walt Disney World and theatres across the Orlando area.
Cynthia Kime – Lower School Drama and PreK – 1st Grade & 5th Grade Music
She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Master of Education and Asbury University with a B.S. in Music Education, emphasis on vocal performance. She was a member of the theater performing troupe while at Asbury and traveled and performed all over the U.S. Cynthia also traveled in various singing groups while at Asbury, both for the university and for FCA.
After college, she taught elementary music and drama for 12 years in Kentucky, supervised student teachers, and worked with community theater groups as a performer. Favorite roles include Marian, from ‘the Music Man’ and Ado Annie from ‘Oklahoma’. She was a soloist with The Lexington Singers and her church, Southland Christian Church, where she performed as Mary in their Living Christmas Tree productions and in the church’s Easter pageants. She has had the privilege of singing with some of her music favorites, including Larnelle Harris and Travis Cottrell.
After moving to Florida in 2008 with her husband Dan and their three daughters, Cynthia became an active member at her church, First Baptist Church of Windermere. She has also performed in The Garden Theater as Baroness Elsa, in “The Sound of Music”, and in “The Music Man.”
She now shares her passion of music and theater with her students.