Soprano Steffanie Pearce has enjoyed a distinguished career throughout Europe and the United States as a singing actress. She has won The Pavarotti Competition, Montreal International, D’Angelo and the American Traditions competition among others. On the opera stage she is most noted for distinctive portrayals of tragic heroines including: Violetta, Leonora, Marguerite, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, The Countess in Figaro and Tosca. She has performed with many opera companies including: Opera de Marseille, The Bulgarian State Opera, Opera Lisboa, The Opera Co. of Philadelphia, San Diego Opera, The Buxton Festival in England and many European and U.S. tours with Teatro Lyrico d Europe. Equally at home on the concert stage, she has performed with The Montreal Symphony and The Lexington Philharmonic. Steffanie has appeared as a soloist at many famous theaters including; Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center. She enjoys performing solo recitals and teaching voice.
Doug Baker’s career in the performing arts began in his senior year when he was director of the Orange and Black Review. Early in his chosen vocation he was manager of numerous Broadway productions in New York City. Presently, Doug is in his 14th season as general manager of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. It is one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the nation. CTG stages programming year round at the 750-seat Mark Taper Forum and the 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. Attendance exceeds 800,000 people a year. He is on the Board of Governors of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers and has been a guest lecturer at the Yale School of Drama and California State University. Doug was a founding trustee of Musical Theatre Works, a non-profit theatre based in New York City. He has worked closely with such stars as Carol Channing, Mary Martin, Yule Brynner, Mickey Rooney, Ed Asner, Carol Burnett and many others.
Beginning with performances on the stage of the Chagrin Falls Schools’ auditorium on Philomethian Street, Tina Shafer has become a successful singer/songwriter. She has written songs for some of pop music’s biggest stars, including Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, Sheena Easton, Phoebe Snow and many others. Her song “Love Is On The Way” was the featured ballad in the film “The First Wives Club.” Her debut CD “Backyard Sky” was dedicated to Chagrin Falls and her own backyard where she said, “so many dreams took seed.” Tina has a publishing contract with Artemis Music, a division of Warner Chappell. A great believer in bringing the work of songwriters to the public, Tina has been coordinator of The New York Songwriters Circle for the past 12 years. It has served the songwriting community as a stepping-stone to record labels and publishing companies. She is also a teacher and worked with major record label artists such as Vanessa Carlton and Avril Lavigne.
Captain David Ingraham Draz’s leadership skills were first recognized when he served as the President of the Class of 1944. They have served him well during his military career. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and traveled the world while on active duty for 33 years. He became one of the few active duty officers to be qualified in submarines and as a naval aviator, known as Wings and Dolphins. He spent 14 years operating from aircraft carriers. Capt. Draz served in three wars and was honored with numerous awards and medals, among them the Order of the Legion of Merit and Navy Commendation Medal. From 1970-1973 he was the U.S. Naval Attaché in Karachi, Pakistan. After retiring from the Navy in 1977, Capt. Draz started his second career working for Hallmark Cards, Inc., retiring in 1991.
The former member of the Future Teachers of America, Dr. Denise (Denny) Webster, has been able to combine her loves of nursing and teaching. She is a full professor at the University of Colorado and has been named a President’s Teaching Scholar, (permanent title for teaching excellence). She founded the first doctoral program in women’s health nursing at the University of Illinois. She has been active in teaching, practice and research in psychiatric nursing, with a focus on women and mental health for over 25 years. Dr. Webster has done extensive research and academic writing. During her career she has given more than 150 presentations, published 40 articles and 21 chapters and co-authored a book about living with chronic pain and illness. She remains on the editorial boards of four professional journals. She has been a visiting professor in South Africa, Scotland, New Zealand and Thailand and in the summer of 2002 voluntarily went to Vietnam to teach nursing for a month. Dr. Webster consults pro bono for a battered women’s shelter as well.
John Church has used his Chagrin Falls High School education to make a contribution in the education world. His 35-year career includes experience as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. He recently retired after eleven years as Superintendent of the Polaris Career Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. The Career Center’s purpose is to provide career-based education to approximately 800 high school and 18,000 adult students. He has served as an officer of the Ohio Joint Vocational School Association and many other Ohio and national educational organizations, including: The Association of Supervisors and Curriculum Directors, The Ohio Career-Technical Association, The National Career-Technical Association, The Buckeye Association of School Administrators, The Ohio School Boards Association and The National School Boards Association. Involved in his community, he is a member of the Quality Community Partnership and Southwest Arts Council Executive Board.
Jack Schron is a success in the business world and also as a public servant. He is president of Jergens, Inc., a privately owned manufacturing company that distributes manufactured products throughout the world. He is also president of Tooling University, which provides an online manufacturing training resource for individuals and businesses. It has over 120 industrial classes with 40 in Spanish. Jack is a member of the Cleveland State University Business School Advisory Board. In 2004 he received from the Ohio Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association one of 10 statewide Friend of Education Awards for contributions to education in Ohio. He has served his community through hours of volunteer service. Most notably, he served on the Chagrin Falls Board of Education for 12 years, seven as vice president and president. He is a licensed attorney with three years active duty with The U.S. Army JAG Corps and served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 28 years. Jack is also a founding member and current president of the Chagrin Falls Alumni Association.