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PAA Staff

Parker Arts Academy Staff:


Jan Knutson

Jan Knutson

Parker Arts Academy Teacher

Jan Knutson is the Parker Arts Academy Coordinator. The program is in its second year at Parker High School. Prior to that she served as the Choral Director and Instructional Manager for Music at Parker High School for eighteen years. She received an M.M. in Vocal Performance and an M.M.Ed. from Florida State University. She completed a B.A. in Music Education from Luther College. Knutson has taught at the collegiate level at Beloit College, Dickinson State University, and the University of Mary. She has been a soloist with symphony orchestras, having performed oratorio, opera, and musical theater roles.  

Knutson has been the recipient of awards including the Jerry Hall of Fame Award from the Overture Center for her contributions to musical theater, a Kohl Teaching Fellowship, and the Florentine Opera Young Artist Career Development Program. Her students have won the MTNA and NATS state auditions at the high school and collegiate level.  

Parker High School A Cappella Choir, under Knutson's direction, was invited to be a representative for the state of Wisconsin at the National Festival of States for the dedication weekend of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2004. The choir tours biannually and has sung in New York City, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and at Luther College.  

Jan and her husband Brian are proud grandparents of two granddaughters.

Matt Knutson

Matthew Knutson

Music / Choir Teacher

Matt Knutson is in his 3rd year as the Parker High School Co-Choral Director and 2nd year as the Parker Arts Academy’s Vocal Director. His duties include directing Viking Choir, A Cappella Choir, and two Contemporary A Cappella Groups, while also teaching Intro to Music Theory, AP Music Theory, and Music Tech. Matt also is the musical Vocal Director of the three PAA musicals each year and coaches students through WSMA Solo/Ensemble and Honor Choir.  

Parker HS Choirs, under the direction of Mr. Knutson, have performed with the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club (2022) and with Broadway stars Josh Young & Emily Padgett (2021).  Mr. Knutson’s choirs tour biannually to New York City and have performed in the Empire State Building as part of the National Festival of the States (2022). His choir and PAA students have had masterclasses with Josh Young & Emily Padgett-Young (2021), Christopher Curtis (2022), John Edwards (2022), Andrew Last (2022).

Prior to Parker HS, Matt has served as the Vocal Music Teacher at Champlin Park HS in Champlin MN and Scott Highlands Middle School in Apple Valley, MN. Matt has coached students to state, regional, and national ACDA honor choirs. While teaching in Minneapolis, Matt was a member of the semi-professional choir, Magnum Chorum. He also was the tennis coach at Rosemount High School in Rosemount, MN.

Matt received an M.M. in Choral Music Education from the University of St. Thomas and a B.A. in Music Education from Luther College. He was an active member of the Luther College Choirs that toured through Italy, South Africa, and Namibia. At Luther College, Matt was also involved in contemporary a cappella groups and the tennis team. Matt is an active member of the American Choral Director’s Association and Wisconsin Choral Director’s Association.

Matt lives in Janesville with his wife, Maggie and son, Michael. He enjoys watching Wisconsin sports, playing tennis, and family time.  Matt is very excited to be working with the students and staff at Parker Arts Academy and Parker High School!

Dijon Kirkland

Dijon Kirkland

Parker Arts Academy Teacher

Ms. Dijon Kirkland, Dance

Dijon Michelle Kirkland is a native of Washington D.C., and has been dancing for over 20 years. She attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts, The Ailey School, Princeton Ballet School, Maryland Youth Ballet, and Alonzo King's Lines Ballet. Dijon holds a B.A. in Dance from Point Park University. Upon graduation, she danced with The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2nd company (DCDC2) for two seasons. She then became a member of the Cleveland Cavalier Girl NBA dance team in 2015, and is a part of the 2015-16 NBA championship team! She’s been a part of various projects such as Mojuba Dance Collective, Soursop Stories, Blakk Jakk Dance Company, and some independent projects. In November 2020, Dijon was a part of the supporting cast of an independent film “Lovely Jackson.” She currently is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in dance at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. For the past several years she has served as a dance teaching artist at Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio. Recently she was invited to guest teach at Northern Kentucky University and the American College Dance Association held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2022, Dijon founded DMK Dance Projekt which is a project-based dance company in Cleveland, Ohio. She is extremely excited to join the Parker Arts Academy as the dance instructor in the fall.

“Art is Life, God is Love.”

Abby Goodall

Abigail Goodhall

Music / Choir Teacher

Ms. Abby Goodhall, Choir

Abby Goodhall is a graduate of UW-Platteville, where she earned two degrees: Bachelor of Arts - Music Education (Choral, Instrumental, and General Music), Bachelor of Arts - Music Non-Teaching (Voice and Trombone). She was involved in a variety of ensembles at UW-Platteville, both vocally and instrumentally.

Throughout her collegiate years, Ms. Goodhall has been awarded many honors, such as 2nd place recipient of the 2022 Wisconsin Choral Directors Association’s Undergraduate Conducting Competition, and winner of UW-Platteville’s 2021 Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s Conducting Competition.

During her time on campus, she was employed through the university as a music librarian and music theory tutor. Ms. Goodhall just completed her student teaching at Muskego High School, both in choir and band. Professionally, Ms. Goodhall is a new member of Midwest Choral Artists, and plays trombone in jazz gigs throughout southern Wisconsin.

In her free time, she loves to paint, go on walks by the lake, kayak, spend time with family and friends, and hangout with her pet bunny, Doodle.

Ms. Goodhall is incredibly excited to become a part of the staff and community at Parker High School. She looks forward to meeting students, families, and becoming a Parker Viking!