Tell readers about yourself and how you came to be in Flagler County. 

I’m the new theater teacher at Matanzas High School, and I live in the Hammock during the week to avoid a long daily commute back to my home in Oviedo, Florida. I’ve been vacationing here for years, so I’m very happy to be spending so much time in one of my favorite places.

You have an amazing store in Oviedo that calls to our inner time warp. How and why did you start the store? 

In 2019 I opened a performing arts center in Oviedo Mall, offering arts classes, camps, and community theater. I invested my life savings to open Penguin Point, and when the pandemic started a year later, the future of the business seemed bleak. I had built up a very large collection of costumes and theater props from years of being a theater teacher, and one of my friends suggested that the contents of my storage unit would make a great basis for a vintage store. I opened Duckies Vintage in a 6000-square-foot former shoe store next to my theater, and the sales of vintage clothing, housewares, and vinyl records help pay the rent on the theater and school. I also opened a large costume rental shop in the former children’s clothing store next to Duckie’s. It wasn’t the business I set out to open, but Duckies Vintage has been so much fun to own! I have a great management team keeping it going while I return to teaching high school, but I still enjoy buying used vinyl each weekend to re-sell in the store.

Obviously theater and education are passions for you. Where does this love come from and how is it translating into a rewarding career? 

I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, and both of my parents were teachers. I was an English major in college, planning to become a publicist, but directed my own play at the university as an independent study senior year. My theater professors, Gary Banfantz and Roberta Crisson, encouraged me to consider teaching theater as a career. I have loved working with talented and ambitious students for the past twenty years, but I think the most valuable part of my job is helping all students build confidence, overcome shyness, and feel prepared for all the challenges and opportunities life has to offer. Most of my students will probably not choose a career on Broadway or in the movies, but almost all of them will have to prepare for job interviews, organize a team at work, communicate clearly–and our acting classes are a great place to develop those skills.

You are sharing your foodie adventures with FNW readers. What made you start sampling and sharing? 

I’m living in a small rental house in the Hammock during the work week, and some nights I just can’t face my own cooking. Writing my restaurant reviews gives me something to do while I finish my meals at local restaurants. I’m careful to point out that I’m not a trained reviewer–I’m just really enthusiastic about dinner–and if I don’t enjoy my meal I simply don’t write about it.

Can we expect to find you on stage with one of our local theater companies like City Repertory Theatre or the Flagler Playhouse, and what’s your favorite type of theatre (drama, comedy, romance, historical, satire, musical, etc.)

While I have enjoyed the terrific shows I’ve seen at local theaters, I am happy to be behind the scenes and not in the spotlight. My favorite Broadway musical is SPAMALOT, my favorite play is THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, and my favorite personal experience as a performer was playing Brutus in a midnight production of JULIUS CAESAR at The Globe Theater in London through a special program for teachers funded by The English-Speaking Union. I’m currently directing THE GREAT GATSBY at Matanzas High School, and later this year we plan to produce CLUE and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.