Staff

The People that Make Things Happen

David W. Griffin  |  Executive Director

David is the founder of the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy and brings multiple years of experience in education and special event coordinating in arts initiatives. David received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1991 with an emphasis in Piano Performance and K-12 Choral Music. He received his Masters Degree in Secondary Educational Administration from the University of Northern Iowa in 2002. He spent the first 5 years of his teaching career at Waverly Shell-Rock Jr. High School and is currently in his seventeenth year of teaching middle school choral music in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He currently teaches choral music at Harding Middle School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

David’s creative and innovative teaching style has earned him many awards and special recognitions in and around the state of Iowa, including; the Alternative Services Child Advocate Volunteer Award, the Golden Apple Award, “Teacher of the Day” award by the Iowa House of Representatives, “Teacher of the Week” in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, director of the 1996 Boys Opus Honor Choir, and has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and publications around Iowa.  He founded and directed the Cedar Rapids Young Artists Festival from 2000-2004, and, played a key role in the development and implementation of McKinley Middle School of the Arts in 1999. David is currently working on one of his biggest projects, “The Eastern Iowa Arts Academy.”

David W. Griffin  |
Executive Director

David is the founder of the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy and brings multiple years of experience in education and special event coordinating in arts initiatives. David received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1991 with an emphasis in Piano Performance and K-12 Choral Music. He received his Masters Degree in Secondary Educational Administration from the University of Northern Iowa in 2002. He spent the first 5 years of his teaching career at Waverly Shell-Rock Jr. High School and is currently in his seventeenth year of teaching middle school choral music in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He currently teaches choral music at Harding Middle School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

David’s creative and innovative teaching style has earned him many awards and special recognitions in and around the state of Iowa, including; the Alternative Services Child Advocate Volunteer Award, the Golden Apple Award, “Teacher of the Day” award by the Iowa House of Representatives, “Teacher of the Week” in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, director of the 1996 Boys Opus Honor Choir, and has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and publications around Iowa.  He founded and directed the Cedar Rapids Young Artists Festival from 2000-2004, and, played a key role in the development and implementation of McKinley Middle School of the Arts in 1999. David is currently working on one of his biggest projects, “The Eastern Iowa Arts Academy.”

Tracy McPartland  |  Development Director

Tracy was raised in Cedar Rapids and was a charter member of the EIAA Board of Directors. After graduating from the University of Iowa with BA and MA degrees in Speech Pathology, Tracy worked as a school speech clinician in Kansas City, MO from 1984-1989. After returning to Cedar Rapids in 1989, Tracy worked part-time as a speech-language pathologist in school and private practice settings until becoming the Development Director of the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy in January 2013. In addition to her work at the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy, Tracy has enjoyed singing in the Chorale Midwest for the past 19 years and recently became a Registered Yoga Teacher.

Tracy McPartland  |
Development Director

Tracy was raised in Cedar Rapids and was a charter member of the EIAA Board of Directors. After graduating from the University of Iowa with BA and MA degrees in Speech Pathology, Tracy worked as a school speech clinician in Kansas City, MO from 1984-1989. After returning to Cedar Rapids in 1989, Tracy worked part-time as a speech-language pathologist in school and private practice settings until becoming the Development Director of the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy in January 2013. In addition to her work at the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy, Tracy has enjoyed singing in the Chorale Midwest for the past 19 years and recently became a Registered Yoga Teacher.

Suzanne Palmer  |  Program Director

Suzanne has a passion for the arts that began at a young age with dance classes, and continued on through her adult life. She earned a BA in Dance from the University of Colorado in 1985. She has served on board of directors for many dance organizations: The Dance Collective Boulder, Colorado; The Dance Cooperative, Wilmington North Carolina; and the North Carolina Dance Alliance. Her career highlights include teaching yoga and dance at the HAH Montessori school; touring North Carolina as a dancer with the North Carolina Dance Festival; guest choreographer for the Brunswick Country Arts Day; lead artist for a three year residency project with Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble; city project manager and touring artist with Turning the Wheel Productions; and teaching at Dreams of Wilmington, an after school arts program similar to EIAA. She also owned a Great Harvest Bread Company franchise and studied and taught yoga for many years. She is happy to be working with EIAA, expanding arts experiences for area youth.

Suzanne Palmer  |
Program Director

Suzanne has a passion for the arts that began at a young age with dance classes, and continued on through her adult life. She earned a BA in Dance from the University of Colorado in 1985. She has served on board of directors for many dance organizations: The Dance Collective Boulder, Colorado; The Dance Cooperative, Wilmington North Carolina; and the North Carolina Dance Alliance. Her career highlights include teaching yoga and dance at the HAH Montessori school; touring North Carolina as a dancer with the North Carolina Dance Festival; guest choreographer for the Brunswick Country Arts Day; lead artist for a three year residency project with Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble; city project manager and touring artist with Turning the Wheel Productions; and teaching at Dreams of Wilmington, an after school arts program similar to EIAA. She also owned a Great Harvest Bread Company franchise and studied and taught yoga for many years. She is happy to be working with EIAA, expanding arts experiences for area youth.

Pam Kaufman  |  Finance Director (CPA)

Pam Kaufman is a graduate of Mount Mercy College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Business Administration. Pam’s 25-year career in public and private accounting includes positions as an auditor, tax accountant, personal financial manager and staff accountant. She is a native of Cedar Rapids and enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking and gardening.

Pam Kaufman  |
Finance Director (CPA)

Pam Kaufman is a graduate of Mount Mercy College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Business Administration. Pam’s 25-year career in public and private accounting includes positions as an auditor, tax accountant, personal financial manager and staff accountant. She is a native of Cedar Rapids and enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking and gardening.

Heather Wagner  |  Music & Arts Studios Director

Heather is originally from Cedar Rapids where she attended Washington High School before studying journalism at the University of Missouri. Never having taken an art class before, she opted to try drawing as an elective her sophomore year. Little did she know that that elective would soon change her life. She fell in love with studio arts and never looked back. Heather transferred to Iowa State where, in 1990, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art and Design.

After college, Heather worked as an artist in advertising for several years in Houston, Texas and Salina, Kansas. She soon branched out on her own as a freelance artist and designer, starting her own business, Paper Moon Originals.

In 2000, Heather moved back to Cedar Rapids and was a commissioner for seven years serving Cedar Rapids and the Visual Arts Commission. During that time she began painting murals for several businesses in town including schools, churches and the African American Museum. She has had a studio in the Cherry Building for over ten years where she runs her business, Heather Wagner Designs. Heather joined EIAA in 2014 as a teacher and became the Music and Arts Studios Director in 2015. She continues to teach classes to students of all ages including figure drawing, printmaking and marbling.

Heather Wagner  |
Music & Arts Studios
Director

Heather is originally from Cedar Rapids where she attended Washington High School before studying journalism at the University of Missouri. Never having taken an art class before, she opted to try drawing as an elective her sophomore year. Little did she know that that elective would soon change her life. She fell in love with studio arts and never looked back. Heather transferred to Iowa State where, in 1990, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art and Design.

After college, Heather worked as an artist in advertising for several years in Houston, Texas and Salina, Kansas. She soon branched out on her own as a freelance artist and designer, starting her own business, Paper Moon Originals.

In 2000, Heather moved back to Cedar Rapids and was a commissioner for seven years serving Cedar Rapids and the Visual Arts Commission. During that time she began painting murals for several businesses in town including schools, churches and the African American Museum. She has had a studio in the Cherry Building for over ten years where she runs her business, Heather Wagner Designs. Heather joined EIAA in 2014 as a teacher and became the Music and Arts Studios Director in 2015. She continues to teach classes to students of all ages including figure drawing, printmaking and marbling.

Michelle Fischer  |   Adult Fine Arts Director

Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design and Architecture. After graduation, she worked with architects doing commercial interiors. Later, Michelle ventured back into art, earning a Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa, this time in Design, Sculpture and Printmaking.

Michelle brings a variety of teaching experiences to her position at the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy. She has taught courses and workshops at The University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, Coe College, The Indian Creek Nature Center, Prairiewoods Spirituality Center, and The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. She also served on the Iowa Arts Council Board of Directors from 1996-2004.

Michelle is a working artist and continues to produce her own work following themes that help center her. Her work has been exhibited in venues throughout the Midwest. She enjoys working with foil, wax and oil paint because it allows her to play with transparency, shine, light and movement. 

Michelle Fischer  |
Adult Fine Arts Director

Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design and Architecture. After graduation, she worked with architects doing commercial interiors. Later, Michelle ventured back into art, earning a Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa, this time in Design, Sculpture and Printmaking.

Michelle brings a variety of teaching experiences to her position at the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy. She has taught courses and workshops at The University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, Coe College, The Indian Creek Nature Center, Prairiewoods Spirituality Center, and The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. She also served on the Iowa Arts Council Board of Directors from 1996-2004.

Michelle is a working artist and continues to produce her own work following themes that help center her. Her work has been exhibited in venues throughout the Midwest. She enjoys working with foil, wax and oil paint because it allows her to play with transparency, shine, light and movement. 

Russ Fagle  |
Healing HeARTS Coordinator

Russ Fagle is an artist and art instructor with nearly 30 years of experience in branding, graphic design, art and illustration and creative development. A graduate of Wartburg College, his clients have included The Iowa Lottery, Brach’s Candy, Apple, Panasonic, GE Capital and local companies like The Freedom Festival, The NewBo City Market and Rockwell Collins. Russ has also worked extensively in developing communications and graphics for businesses and organizations since 2001 when he transitioned to an independent consultant. Russ was a founding artist of the New Bohemia Arts and Entertainment District of Cedar Rapids in 2002 and currently sits on the New Bohemia District Board of Directors. He is the owner of Mixed Media Magic which is an art event business. Russ has facilitated art making workshops for cancer patients for many years and he currently facilitates the EIAA’s Healing HeARTS program, as well as the [email protected] program. Russ is an artist, father and avid student of world history and cultures.