Meet our Art /Music/Drama Specialists

Jan Adams – Dance Teacher
Jan has danced since she was the age of her students today. She has a BFA in ballet from the North Carolina School of the Arts, danced with North Carolina Dance Theatre, was Dance Captain for the National Tour of “A Chorus Line,” and was a Ballet Mistress for the Ballet Theater of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. She has been teaching in the public schools for over 25 years and has her National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist. She also taught in the Preparatory Dance Program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for 28 years, and is  a founding  A+ Fellow with the A+ Schools Program. She served as the North Carolina Charter School Teacher of the Year in 2013-14.  She loves teaching here at ABS, helping children to express all they know and love with their bodies!


Elizabeth Gledhill – Art Teacher
Elizabeth received her BFA from the UNCSA School of Design and Production and her MAT in Art Education K-12 at Salem College. She has worked as a scenic artist for Sony, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld and several film productions.






Heidi McIver – Drama Teacher
Heidi was trained in acting and directing at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and now works with students at UNCSA in the summer intensives and through the ARCH program (Artists Reaching Children in the Hospital). She  has been connected with ABS for nine years now, beginning by choreographing the stage fights for the 5th-grade production of Romeo and Juliet On the Border, and now developing and directing first- through fifth-grade productions throughout the year.  She is looking forward to another year of making discoveries with students in creative collaborations.  Heidi enjoys acting (particularly Shakespeare), directing, and spending time with her husband and her three dogs.


Betsy Messick – Visual Art Teacher
Betsy has created visual art since she was a young teen, and has studied commercial art, advertising design, and a range of fine arts, including emphasis on ceramics, fibers and printmaking.  She has worked in the healing arts as well as community arts development.  She received her BA in Fine Arts and Art History from Salem College. She is certified in Non-Profit Management from Duke University, and holds teaching certifications in K – 12 Arts and K – 6 Elementary Education.   As a long-time supporter of ABS, Betsy is inspired to watch the school grow, and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the students.  She loves creating with the children, encouraging their imagination, helping to build their skills and hopefully promoting life-long lovers of art!  Betsy is married to Mike, and together they have two children, both former ABS students:  Jessica (a college sophomore) and Jacob (10th grader at R.J. Reynolds High School ).



Nick Zayas – Drama Teacher
Nick Zayas is a graduate of the UNCSA High School program and the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Art, where he was a Presidential Scholar. Nick spent several years acting and directing in Los Angeles before falling in love with Arts Based School, after being brought in as a guest artist by Mary Siebert and his former teacher Mr. Bob. Nick enjoys directing plays and musicals in his spare time, as well as occasionally acting in them. He’s thrilled to be back for his fourth year at ABS!