Laura McLelland - Chief Executive Officer
Laura joined Unified Theater in 2013 after a decade of working in the arts and education and became CEO in July 2014. She received her BFA and MS in Art Education from Syracuse University and her MPA in Non-Profit Management from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. Before coming to Unified Theater Laura briefly taught elementary art and high school photo in Syracuse, NY and then moved to New York City to become an arts administrator. Laura channeled her love of the arts and education into a leadership role as the Art Education Program Director for the Joan Mitchell Foundation, which offers free visual arts classes for young people in NYC. She also oversaw the launch of Arts@Renaissance, a community arts space in North Brooklyn as the Arts & Culture Manager for St. Nicks Alliance and ran the workplace giving program for the annual United Arts Campaign at the Greater Hartford Arts Council after moving to Connecticut. When not immersed in work, Laura loves to lose herself in a good novel, cheer on her Orange basketball team and practice her brand new hobby, hula hooping! Laura is thrilled to be leading Unified Theater and spreading inclusive arts education all across the country!
Micaela Connery - Founder
Micaela founded Unified Theater at the age of 15 inspired by her cousin Kelsey. A proud alum of Conard High School, Micaela went on to the University of Virginia where she graduated with high distinction with a self designed major in Service, Community and Social Policy. Micaela is currently in graduate school at the Kennedy School for Public Policy at Harvard University, studying inclusion policy with a focus on housing. Micaela also serves as a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum. She's been invited to share her insights about inclusion, youth leadership, and social entrepreneurship in venues across the globe. She's spoken at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos and keynoted the National Conference on Inclusion, the National Collegiate Leadership Conference, and Chicago Ideas Week. Her writing has been featured by the Huffington Post, World Economic Forum, and the National Magazine of Women in the Arts. She was the youngest delegate to the 2012 Olympic Global Inclusion Summit in London. Micaela has been recognized for her work as a Bluhm Helfand Social Innovation Fellow. a 2010 DoSomething Award Winner, a Gloria T. A. Barron Young Hero, a CNN Breakthrough Woman, a Coca Cola Scholar, and a West Hartford Connecticut Citizen of the Arts. Outside her passion for inclusion and youth leadership, Micaela enjoys cooking, running, and spending time with her two sisters. She believes sparkles and a good song have the power to make anything better.
Colleen Estes - Director of Finance and Operations
Colleen works keeps everything running smoothly at Unified Theater - taking care of everything from school contracts, donation processing, bookkeeping, and beyond. Colleen grew up on Cape Cod in a town called Sandwich. Growing up, she found her home on the ice, instead of the beach, as a competitive figure skater. She left the Cape to study business at Saint Michael’s College and then went on to get her MBA at Clarkson University and recently completed her Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) designation. Before joining the Unified Theater crew, Colleen worked as a financial analyst, both for for-profits and not-for-profits. A life-long traveler, Colleen took MBA classes in Reims, France, learned Spanish and lived in Mexico for a year, and took a backpacking trip through Europe before entering the corporate world. Now, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, two young boys and Labrador Retriever Leo. When she’s not at Unified Theater, or being a rockstar mom, you might find Colleen sneaking a late night grilled cheese or rocking out to ‘Karma Chameleon’.
Jen McCool - Director of Programs
Jen joined Unified Theater in 2014 after serving as Community Engagement Coordinator at Westport Country Playhouse for several years where she worked extensively on audience engagement, community partnerships and educational programming. Jen received a master’s degree in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University and her BA in Theatre Arts/Arts Administration from Drew University in Madison, NJ. Her master's thesis was a program evaluation of a theater-based STEAM program. She’s passionate about arts education and using the arts to transform communities. Previously, Jen has worked with the Ohio Arts Council, Flashpoint Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Outside the office, Jen is a runner, an avid TV and movie viewer, and enjoys her husband’s vegan cooking.
Sarah joined the Unified Theater team in 2013 after completing her master’s degree in Drama Therapy at Kansas State University. She received her BA at Michigan State University in Theater. She has over five years of experience working with students with disabilities in theater settings. All together, she has directed three shows for people with and without disabilities (two original, one adaptation of High School Musical). Besides loving all things theater, Sarah is into traveling and camping (Glacier National Park in Montana is a favorite), crafting (she always has a project or two in the works!), and watching the Spartans win (Go Green!). In the UT offices, Sarah writes our curriculum, manages the Youth Leader Council, and supports schools all over our founding state of Connecticut.