Our Board

Rodger M. Govea is the Board Chair of CSF. He is Chair of the Department of Political Science at Cleveland State University .  He received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1979.  His acting experience at the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival includes roles in Richard III and in All’s Well that Ends Well .  He has also performed at Dobama, Cleveland State University , Solon Community Theater, and in Bishkek , Kyrgyzstan.

Larry Nehring, the Board Vice-Chair, is an actor, director, combat choreographer, and ASL interpreter. He is currently teaching American Sign Language as an adjunct professor at Kent State University . He holds a B.A. in English and Theatre from the University of Rochester and an M.S. in curriculum development from U.R./Rochester Institute of Technology . Involved with CSF from its inception, he served as the organizations Artistic Director from the 2000 season through the 2008 season. He has worked at nearly every theatre around Cleveland , most recently directing Children of a Lesser God at Weathervane, twice reprising the role of Lumiere in Beck Center ‘s Beauty & the Beast , and playing Brophy and the Provost at Great Lakes Theatre Festival’s 2007 Fall Rep of Arsenic and Old Lace and Measure for Measure . His play End of the Road was chosen as a semi-finalist at the National Playwright’s Conference. He is a member of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Actors’ Equity, and the Screen Actor’s Guild.

Kristina Hewis, Board Secretary

Monica Gordon Pershey, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor in the Speech and Hearing Program, School of  Health Sciences, Cleveland State University. Her teaching and research center on language and literacy development in special populations and on the higher education of speech-language pathologists and literacy teachers. She is the author of over 120 articles, book chapters, and presentations. Visit “Autism and Art” at https://www.facebook.com/AutismAndArtLookingForVisualExpressions to explore her current research. In addition to her academic roles, she provides speech-language clinical services for University Hospitals Case Medical Center and maintains a private practice that offers language and literacy assessments for individuals and consultation to schools and agencies.

Austin Barnes is an attorney with the law firm of Morris I. Hardwick and Schneider. He has over 17 years of legal experience in foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction, tax and real estate. He is an Ohio University graduate with a BBA in Finance. He received his JD from the University of Akron Law School and Masters in Tax degrees from the University of Akron School of Accountancy. He has served on the board of CSF for five years. He is also President of the Goodfriendship Chapter #63 of the AHEPA in Akron , Ohio .

Jess Raum

Christine McBurney  is a theatre artist, educator, and writer, based in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  Since 2005 she has served as chair of Shaker Heights High School’s nationally-recognized Theatre Arts Department where she teaches performance, playwriting, and film as well as directs and produces an extensive season and has coached dozens of students who have won numerous playwriting and Shakespeare competitions.  Christine blogs about theatre for www.cleveland.com and has written for The Plain Dealer, Northern Ohio Live, InTheater Magazine, CWRU, The Free Times, The Heights Observer, and other publications.  Her co-authored screenplay “Venus’ Looking Glass” was a semi-finalist at writemovies.com. She has won awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Since earning her BA from Columbia University and her MFA from Kent State University, she has augmented her education and training at Shakespeare & Company, The National Institute on Teaching Shakespeare, and The Juilliard School.  She is a member of the Selection Committee of The Cleveland International Film Festival and a board member of The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival. Selected acting roles include Maria in TWELFTH NIGHT (Cleveland Shakespeare Festival), an ensemble member in A DREAM PLAY (Cleveland Play House) and Sue in FEFU AND HER FRIENDS (Cleveland Public Theatre).  Selected directing credits include: MARY ZIMMERMAN’S METAMORPHOSES,THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, RAGTIME, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, AS YOU LIKE IT, and WONDERFUL TOWN.  Look for her in the new indie films, “Made in Cleveland” and “The Kings of Summer.”  In the summer of 2013 she will direct the Northeast Ohio premiere of David Mamet’s BOSTON MARRIAGE for Mamaí Theatre Company of which she is a Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder

Celeste Cosentino

Jonathan McCleery brings 34 years of experience in working with volunteer organizations.  He is the pastor of LaPorte United Methodist Church in Elyria.  He has also served churches in Bellevue, Mansfield, Coshocton, and New Philadelphia.He received a B.A in Speech at Kent State University, and a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary.  He previously served as President of the Flat Rock Care Center, and also served on his conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry, Coshocton’s Domestic Violence Shelter, Mighty Goliath Productions, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  Jonathan is currently in his 3rd season of acting with CSF.

Keith Kornajcik is a veteran performer with CSF.   Keith has performed in CSF productions of “Henry IV”, “Twelfth Night”, “The Tempest”, “All’s Well That Ends Well”, “Richard III”, “Anthony & Cleopatra”, “Titus Andronicus”, “Henry VIII”, and probably one or two that have slipped his mind. Around town, he has played with Bad Epitaph, Beck Center, Charenton, Clague Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, CSU’s late-lamented Factory Theatre, Karamu, and others. When not treading the boards spouting verse, Keith fronts storied CLE avant-rock band Home and Garden.