about

The Creative Circus mission is to graduate the best-prepared, most avidly sought-after creatives in the marketing communications industry. With all due respect to your Magna cum something status, the fact is, it won’t get you hired in the top creative departments. Portfolios do. Really good ones. Sure, there’s always an exception. That kid whose father knows someone. The talented freak of nature. But for everyone else, The Creative Circus is a great portfolio school to start and an even better place to finish. Because when you do, you’ll be well prepared to get hired at the best agencies in the world, and more importantly excel there.

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campus

Conveniently located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia our building is a colorful converted warehouse. Our four dedicated computer labs each have high definition projection systems. Our high-speed network is wireless for access by student laptops and mobile devices. We have two high-capacity laser printers and scanners (color and black/white). Our large theater features audio visual capability for the latest in multi-media presentations. Our photography studios include a large daylight studio and a large dark studio with a cyclorama wall with green screen capability. We are a dog friendly environment. The school has an outdoor deck and picnic area. We have a small library well stocked with industry publications. In addition to the two gallery exhibit areas, most of the wall space in the school is used to showcase student work.

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faculty & staff

The faculty and staff of The Creative Circus are at the school for the same reasons our students are: the thrill of creating great advertising, design, copywriting, photography and interactive user experiences. Circus instructors are working professionals who make themselves available to teach in order to share their experience and professionalism with the next generation.

Circus students have the advantage of working with teachers who earn their living actually doing what they are teaching. Many staff members, like the instructors, have enjoyed successful careers in advertising, development, design, illustration and photography. Others have strong ties to education and school administration. Together, they bring an integrated team dedicated towards student success.

David Haan
David Haan Executive Director

David Haan

Dave has spent three decades in and around the advertising industry. He is a student of advertising history and has accumulated quite a few war stories of his own during long stints with FCB, McCann Erickson and Frankel (the finest Sales Promotion company ever) and postings in Chicago, Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Detroit and LA. Dave has had the pleasure (and he means that) of working with Coors, Molson, Mazda, General Mills, Nestle, S.C. Johnson, Sunkist, Visa, Dreyer’s, Clorox and Zicam. Dave has a Master’s in Advertising from Michigan State and has taught Advertising Strategy and Campaigns courses at Michigan State, Illinois and Cal State Fullerton. Dave is a huge sports fan who has attended most major sporting events, but he doesn’t get NASCAR. He is committed to breaking Ken Jennings’ all-time record on Jeopardy. Contact:
Executive Director
Dave Haan
404.477.6701
Norman Grey
Norman Grey Executive Creative
Director

Norman Grey

Norm has 136 years in Advertising. Well, not in actual years. But including all those 15- or 20- or even 36-hour days, it adds up fast.
But because he loves to create, it wasn’t so much work. It was mostly fun.Norm’s had jobs as a Designer/Art Director, a Copywriter, a Creative Director, an Executive Creative Director and even an agency owner. He’s worked on clients such as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Lincoln-Mercury, Bristol-Myers, basically on all kinds of large and small companies.For many of us, Advertising is a great way to make a living. So in 1995, he opened The Creative Circus to help others who feel the same. Since then, about a thousand Art Directors, Copywriters, Designers and Image-Makers have graduated from The Circus. About 95% are in on the fun.Contact:
Executive Creative Director
Norman Grey
404.477.6709
Janie Belden
Janie Belden Director of Education

Janie Belden

Janie has grown up in the advertising world – working in film production, design and the agency side – both traditional and interactive. Janie understands the creative soul and how to find the balance in each to bring out their best. You could say that is what she enjoys most in her role as mom or the more formal title, Director of Education. Janie is married to a Sound Designer and Composer and is Mommy to an amazing son, who is a swashbuckler in training. She is also Mommy to 2 fuzzy kids – Stinger and Trixie – aka – the baussies (Border Collie/Australian Sheppard mix) They are father and daughter. Stinger holds the indoor world record for the longest indoor Frisbee catch. Janie loves to cook, garden, decorate, spend time with her family and shop – shoes have a special place in her heart and closet. She also holds the high distinction of being awarded the “All Around Camper” award at Camp Pinewood for the summers session back in – hmm – no reason to mention the year. Contact:
Director of Education
Janie Belden
404.477.6704
Kristin Martin
Kristin Martin Director of
Career Services

Kristin Martin

Kristin was born on an Air Force base in Cheyenne, Wyoming for seven dollars. She moved to Minneapolis where both sides of her family were born and raised. Minnesota will always be home to her. She actually enjoys the winters and the lakes come summer time. Then she moved to Atlanta in the 90s.While complaining in a Caribou Coffee shop that Atlanta had less than ample coffee shops, the guy behind the counter offered to buy her cup that morning if she sat down and spoke with the owners. She thought she was in trouble. But six months later, she was opening the Atlanta Caribou Coffee market as the Training Manager. Kristin worked as a Food Stylist, but blow torching turkeys and sculpting with Crisco left her wanting a tad bit more. The Fine Arts college she had attended
left her with artistic knowledge but no skills to help pay bills. So she started at The Creative Circus in its original location. She loved the people who started The Circus. It was Rob Lawton, Benita Van Winkle, Norm Grey and Carol Vick that got her excited to start, not the broken folding chairs and tables. She graduated as an Art Director in 2000.While attending The Circus, her first internship was at Match Inc. She made a few ads (and some sandwiches and cocktails). After graduating, she was hired on full time as an Art Director and Assistant to the Executive Creative Director and learned a lot more than she had ever expected. Then the economy crashed, and she learned to freelance. A lot. The Circus asked if she would come back to help them, and she has been working here as a teacher, the Director of Education, and now the Director of Career Services and has enjoyed it all. Outside of work, she has two lovely girls and two English Bulldogs with faces ‘only a mother could love’ named Beans and Marmite. Contact:
Director of Career Services
Kristin Martin
404.477.6710
Dan Balser
Dan Balser Department Head,
Advertising

Dan Balser

Dan has been in the ad business since 1987. And he has been a copywriter since 1990, with a decade in New York agencies both big and small. In addition to his duties as a full-time instructor and department head at The Creative Circus, Dan is a freelance creative director, podcaster, strategist, father, husband and blogger who’s never short of opinions. Check out his blog DGMS: A podcast about advertising.
Contact:
Department Head, Advertising
Dan Balser
404.477.6705
Greg Strelecki
Greg Strelecki Department Head
Image

Greg Strelecki

A graduate of the Art Center College of Design, Greg taught at Portfolio Center for five years before becoming Image Department Head at The Creative Circus in 1995.
He has produced images professionally for advertising, design and corporate and editorial clients. Greg enjoys excellent, intelligent, and memorable commercial photography.More amazing facts:
-Enjoys being surrounded by creative people
-Works hard to make “it” better
-Takes him his Image grads bowling, and he recently bowled a 201
-As a Valentine’s birthday gift, he’d been described by his friends using words like: generous, talented, sensei, patient, respected, caring, tall, Hawaiian-shirted with crazy hair. Yep. True dat.
-Lives with his wife, Karen, and four rescued cats in the Historic District of Madison, Georgia. Contact:
Department Head, Image
Greg Strelecki
404.477.6718
Ron Moore
Ron Moore Department Head
Design

Ron Moore

Ron Moore is: going to give it some color; in the same category here as a golden labrador retriever; going to say it another way; probably not planning on changing his name; curious; of the latter school having gone to the former years ago; moving these files to a new folder; thinking outside the orangutan; a full-time job; not with that agency any more, thankfully; on a roll; trying to make it bigger; fused with his antagonizing antithesis; inviting supporters to join in the celebration; very welcome; not keeping this very close to his chest; here.
Contact:
Department Head, Design
Ron Moore
404.477.6719
Chris Silich
Chris Silich Interactive
Department Head

Chris Silich

Chris has been making interactive stuff for about 15 years, and teaching for almost that long. He’s an Aussie by birth, a Kiwi by nationality, a Georgia State Graphic Design alumni, a self-taught developer in Javascript, PHP, and half a dozen other languages, and an avid gamer. He’s enjoyed creating interactive experiences for some cool clients, such as Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, PBS, Lego, and MODA. His goal at the Circus is to help create interactive rock-stars who will change the world.
Contact:
Interactive Department Head
Chris Silich
678.851.1069
Jen Mageau
Jen Mageau Art Direction
Department Head

Jen Mageau

Jen is one of those elusive and rare species – an Atlanta native, through and through. After graduating from The Creative Circus in 2001, she worked for over a decade as an Art Director at stints with BBDO, Arnold Worldwide and The Martin Agency, on brands such as Cingular Wireless (now AT&T), Volkswagen, Royal Caribbean, McDonalds, Geico, Burt’s Bees and Wal-Mart. Jen adores teaching and mentoring, and has been a part of the Circus family since 2001. In addition to her duties as Art Direction Department Head, she also runs her own design, branding and luxe paper goods business, Miss Pickles Press. She believes in mixing Target jeans with a Michael Kors handbag. She usually has iced coffee in hand. She knows you catch more flies with honey, and that one is never too technologically advanced for handwritten thank you notes.
Jen is married to an overgrown boy scout software engineer from Rhode Island, and you can often find them traveling the backroads in the Airstream they share with their 4-legged wunderpup, Gussie.
Please don’t call her Mrs. Magoo. Seriously.
Contact:
Art Direction Department Head
Jen Mageau
Colleen Finn
Colleen Finn Design
Department Chair

Colleen Finn

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you want something done, ask the busiest person you know.” Well, Colleen is the busiest person anyone knows. In addition to serving as the school’s Design Department Chair, she is also a Creative Circus instructor and advisor. An alumni of the Circus, Colleen is also a graduate of Virginia Tech and a registered architect.Here are a few other things she does to fill her time:• Works as an Aquatic Rehab Therapist and Swimming instructor on weekends.
* She only works with adults, as children frighten and confuse her.• Is the Owner & Creative Director at Green Dog Studio, a design/advertising studio in Inman Park. She frequently hires the top students to work with her on a part-time basis, helping them gain real world experience throughout their time at the Circus. www.greendogstudio.com• Freelances as a dog portraiture artist. Her rescue dog Oliver serves as her muse.• Is currently embarking on her MFA in Illustration at SCAD, hoping to bring her newfound skill set to the student body here at the Circus, in the form of new and exciting classes. If you happen to catch sight of her in the halls or around town, take the time to try and catch her attention (Move slowly though, and do NOT try to take her picture. Like the ever elusive Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot, she spooks easily) and she will be more than happy to lift your spirits with a funny story…or listen to, and help with, any problems you may be having…at school, or in life.
Contact:
Design Department Chair
Colleen Finn
Paul Korel
Paul Korel Senior
Copywriting Advisor

Paul Korel

If you’ve ever been to Disney World and seen one of the characters running around and thought to yourself “I wonder if it’s hot in one of those things?” Paul can tell you first hand.Seriously, after passing out in the SpectroMagic parade one extra humid night, Paul decided it was time to seek a different career path.Admittedly, Paul changed his major seven times while in college. To his parent’s relief, he finally found his calling in Advertising and hasn’t looked back.Paul attended the Creative Circus in 2003. Soon after graduation, he jumped at an opportunity to work at Boone Oakley in Charlotte, NC. From there, he’s worked at 22Squared, JWT Atlanta, various interactive shops, and today is a successful freelance writer throughout the Southeast.Paul has been with the Circus since 2009 and unlike his Disney days, has every intention of sticking this job out.In addition, to helping students, Paul is a huge fan of his wife, his son, his dog, his turtle, his two fish, and his Big Green Egg.Contact:
Senior Copywriting Advisor
Paul Korel
Shontaeya Dixon
Shontaeya Dixon Financial
Services Director

Shontaeya Dixon

Shontaeya entered into the Financial Aid world in 1999 working for the Georgia Student Finance Commission. She worked there for about seven years helping students with their loans. Then in August of 2006, Shontaeya was hired on with the Creative Circus as a Financial Aid Officer. And in 2011, she was promoted to the Financial Services Director. Shontaeya works with the students entering into the Creative Circus in obtaining the financial aid needed to start their new career. She has a great personality that even just talking to her over the phone can brighten up your day.
Contact:
Financial Services Director
Shontaeya Dixon
404.477.6713
Andrew Phelps
Andrew Phelps Business Manager

Andrew Phelps

Blown down south from the Windy City at the age of 12, Andrew Phelps brings a yankee twist to the south. Since 2003, he’s been crunching numbers for the world at large starting as a bank teller. Andrew then entered the educational world soon after finding his niche in this arena, and was then given a very intriguing task of explaining and navigating the complex financial aid numerical system called FAFSA to creative students at The Creative Circus in 2007. He succeeded in helping them along their creative path and making sure they were able to afford the tuition and be able to eat at the same time. A difficult task, but came with great rewards in seeing each student graduate and move on to awesome ad agencies across the globe. Andrew has since stepped into the business manager role handling student payments and crunching the behind-the-scene numbers.
Contact:
Business Manager
Andrew Phelps
404.477.6711
Kathryn Harmon
Kathryn Harmon Marketing Manager

Kathryn “Katie” Harmon

Katie is a native to the rolling hills of Appalachia Georgia. She played by the rules and got a BA in Art, recruited for an arts college, and then ran off to the wacky wonderful San Francisco for a brief stint.

After joining a subculture, off-the-grid, vegan restaurant in the Bay area and toying with changing her name to "Native", she was reeled back home by family and friends. She loves working with and around creatives all day, every day.

If you are interested in collaborating with The Circus on any level such as developing a new training program for your employees or to invite a faculty member to your campus for a class presentation, please contact Kathryn.

Contact:
Marketing Manager
Kathryn Harmon
404.477.6727
Megan Houseman
Megan Houseman Student Placement
Coordinator

Megan Houseman

Megan is a proud University of Georgia graduate with a degree in Art History and is now our Student Placement Coordinator. She considers herself a lover of all things fine art and football.When she’s not busy working with our grads to get their dream job and coordinating the Circus Portfolio Reviews and #CircusForum, Megan can be found roaming the colorful halls of The Circus in an attempt to prove that learning through osmosis is in fact a real thing.
Contact:
Student Placement Coordinator
Megan Houseman
404.477.6712
Debra Bailey
Debra Bailey Admissions
Representative

Debra Bailey

Debra is admittedly addicted to creative people. She blames that box of Crayola crayons, at the age of three, as her gateway drug that led her deeper and deeper into the world of art and design. She has a degree in Art Education which has enabled her to push her addiction on others who crave an artistic rush. She has experimented in many areas of the art industry to feed her dependency and has no intention for rehab. She hopes to continue to be inspired both personally and professionally by the students, faculty, and staff she meets at the Circus.
Contact:
Admissions Representative
Debra Bailey
404.477.6723
Meredith Lindale
Meredith Lindale Admissions
Representative

Meredith Lindale

Meredith was raised in sunny south Florida where she grew up loving convertibles, open-toed shoes, and the smell of sunscreen. After high school, she traded the beaches of Boca for the quaint, brick-lined streets of Davidson, NC. During her time at Davidson College, Meredith earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Art History, gained a sincere appreciation for monograms, and met her husband, Matt.Following graduation, they packed up and moved to Atlanta, where Meredith spent three years crunching numbers as a Financial Aid Officer before joining The Circus. When she’s not at The Circus, Meredith can be found spoiling her dogs Holly and Zoey, baking extremely unhealthy goodies, or reading any book with a pink cover.And in case you were wondering, no – she’s never played basketball.
Contact:
Admissions Representative
Meredith Lindale
404.477.6720
Kristin Marshall
Kristin Marshall Admissions
Representative

Kristin Marshall

Descended of Irish stock and raised by American Gypsies, Kristin is a far-traveling nomadic woman that has spent much of her life interacting with the various locals she encounters, selling high-valued wares and baubles in markets of discriminate stature. Perhaps that is the reason she seems to know everyone you do. Kevin Bacon wishes he had the connections of our Miss Marshall. A subtle glance or twirl of her many flowing scarves followed by her contagious laugh is persuasion enough to most that she would never lead you astray. This, along with an eye and ear for capturing beauty in the world around her through love of photography and music, is likely what draws her to showing the way to those creative talents who also seek to share the wonder in their world.
Contact:
Admissions Representative
Kristin Marshall
404.477.6722
Melaney Johnson
Melaney Johnson Registrar

Melaney Johnson

After 15 years in childcare, and 15 years in retail sales and management, Melaney is delighted that she has finally found her niche at The Creative Circus. Raised in a creative family, surrounded by artists, musicians, and teachers, she feels right at home in her position as Registrar at the school. Her head hurts a little from all the new things she’s learned, but she’s excited by the challenge her position offers. In her free time, Melaney likes to read crime novels, paint, watch way too much television, and hang out with her creative husband, Tom. She also spends lots of time spoiling her twin tuxedo cats, Nicknack and Paddywhack.
Contact:
Registrar
Melaney Johnson
James Marcellana
James Marcellana Facilities Manager

James Marcellana

Born in the Philippines where they only televised Lakers/Celtics games in the early 80s,
James by default is a Lakers guy, an L.A. guy. Living in L.A. for the first five years of
U.S. living, he has grown a love for L.A. Sports. Don’t let him fool you; he loves Atlanta, and he roots for the Braves and Hawks. He just happens to be a huge Falcons fan, too. James got his introduction to technology at an early age. He came to The Circus from a private school where he was known as “the tech guy” and, more officially, the Middle School Instructional Technologist. Most “tech teachers” find themselves going through the basics of Microsoft Office, but James found himself teaching the middle-schoolers layout, shadow, overlay, copy and opacity which makes him a perfect fit for The Creative Circus.
Contact:
Facilities Manager
James Marcellana
404.477.6702
Finny Moore
Finny Moore Student
Services Manager

Finny Moore

Finny loves The Creative Circus so much that she came back for an encore. First time around she was the Director of Admissions, but found a better fit this time as Student Services Manager.Some Finny facts:
-You’d never know she was born in Germany by her southern accent.
-She has an education in holistic nutrition, loves being super healthy and only eats organic. She could very well be Whole Foods’ no.1 customer.
-She loves the beach and HATES when the temperature drops below 70 degrees.
-She’s married to the famous Ron Moore, mother to Tiffany and Wesley. And who can forget Ron & Finny’s furry son, Gus?
-She never meets a stranger and will always find a way to pet a dog.If you have questions about finding a roommate or would like more apartment information please contact Finny.
Student Services Manager
Finny Moore
Andrew Harper
Andrew Harper Security Officer

Andrew Harper

Andrew Harper – the man, the mystery, the Mason. Yes, this man that’s been the watchful eye at The Creative Circus since 2010 happens to be a member of this secretive society, but don’t even bother asking him about it. Y’know…because it’s a secret and all. If you would, however, like to start up a conversation with our Security Officer, who just happens to be one of the warmest and most welcoming people you’ll ever meet, he would be more than happy to chat you up. Especially if the conversation revolves around cars. Fun fact: Andrew was once the proud owner of 50 suped-up muscle cars. Yes, that’s 5 x 10 = 50.Andrew’s dedication to his hobby closely resembles his feelings for The Circus: one involving a great deal of loyalty and passion. His security experience is extensive, making him just the right person for the job. And we couldn’t be happier to have him here. Contact:
Security Officer
Andrew Harper

industry partners

The Creative Circus graduates work at some of the best agencies in the world. Our Career Services department maintains important industry contacts, and helps to keep our illustrious alumni connected. These are just some of the reasons our reputation in creative industries is unparalleled.

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