Samara Harand

Play Director/ Choreographer

Samara Harand has been a performing arts educator for over 20 years and is thrilled to be joining the team at the Glencoe Junior High Project. She has directed and choreographed dozens of full-length musicals and revues at the renowned Harand Camp of the Theatre Arts, as well as Edgewood Middle School, Francis W. Parker, Starland Kids, and others.  Recent credits include: Mamma Mia!, Shrek Jr., Rock of Ages: Middle School Edition, Legally Blonde, Urinetown, All Shook Up, Footloose, Peter Pan, Bring it On, Once Upon A Mattress, Bye Bye Birdie, Sweet Charity, The Wizard of Oz, 13: The Musical, West Side Story, and The Little Mermaid Jr. Samara currently helps manage her family’s musical theater camp – Harand Camp of Theatre Arts – which is now celebrating its 65th Anniversary Season!


Samara is also a Publicity Associate at arts & entertainment public relations firm Cathy Taylor Public Relations, which represents many of the major theaters in the Chicagoland-area, including Lookingglass, Drury Lane, Second City, Writers Theatre, and more.  Samara launched her Chicago PR career at The Silverman Group, where she worked for nearly seven years representing performing arts clients such as The Chicago Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and others. She then moved to NYC to earn her M.F.A. in Arts Management from Brooklyn College while also holding positions at Roundabout Theatre Company, The Producing Office (Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights) and the Tony Awards. She has also done freelance public relations work for local theater companies as well as internet sensation Team StarKid of A Very Potter Musical fame.

Mike O'Mara

Assistant Play Director/Musical Director

Mike has fostered the development of hundreds of students of all ages since beginning his professional work, serving as coach, conductor, music and/or stage director in numerous professional and community musicals across the Chicagoland area as well as maintaining a private voice, piano and composition studio on Chicago's North Shore for over 15 years.


As a composer, Mike’s over 150 pieces for choir and more than 30 full musicals have been performed by ensembles from grade schools to universities and professional groups in America and abroad, with the main bulk premiering at etc. Music School, the arts community he directs and founded in 2013. 

Mike holds both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees with honors from DePaul University’s School of Music in Music Composition with additional focus in vocal music education, and has been awarded the 'Silver Platter Award' for compositional excellence from the American Choral Directors' Association as well as the Evanston, Illinois' 'Mayor's Award for the Arts' for his efforts in teaching and directing young artists.

Dee Ryan

Theatre Fundamentals Instructor

Dee Ryan is a Glencoe resident and past GJHP parent volunteer. She has a BFA in Music Theater from The Boston Conservatory and is an alumna of The Second City. Dee is an adjunct professor at Northwestern and taught professional actors for over a decade at The Second City in Hollywood, California.

Jan Slavin

Theatre Thursdays Instructor

Jan Slavin is a writer, singer, stand up comedian and teacher who brings her joy of theatre, music and performance to young students.


Jan creates a nurturing environment, where students' voices, ideas, creativity and collaboration skills 

can be applied to numerous life experiences. By accepting and including each individual within the group, we will encourage self confidence, creativity, concentration, communication, and trust. Fun is at the root of all of our theatre games, improvisations and other creative activities. 


Jan studied at the renowned Goodman School of Drama and teaches classes at CPS, The Music House and Marsha's Music as well as after-school programs around the city of Chicago.