New Cumberland Pennsylvania native, Phil Palese, has played an active role in child development and education since 1988 when he started instructing his church’s Sunday school. After five years, Phil knew he had found his passion and decided to pursue it as a career.
After graduating from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education, Phil was offered a position with the Camp Hill School District teaching second grade at Schaeffer Elementary and over the last 19 years, he has also taught third and fourth grade.
Witnessing the amazing talent of Camp Hill’s students during a class play inspired Phil to establish the Camp Hill Elementary Musical in 2000 with Leann Cox (Camp Hill School District Librarian). In 2004 Phil went on to take over and re-institute the Fall Play, which had been discontinued at the high school level. During that same year he also founded Camp Hill Youth Summer Stage, which has since grown from 15 to 160 student participants.
When the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center was finished being built in 2011 it needed a person with the right kind of experience and knowledge to lead it to it’s potential. Phil’s diverse and in-depth background with the Camp Hill School District made him a perfect fit and he was hired as the director in 2012.
Since then the Grace Milliman Performing Arts Center has grown steadily and is becoming the place to learn the arts that Grace had envisioned. With a flourishing theatre department, the Central PA Youth Ballet (CPYB), Summer Camps, and a growing music education and performance division the future is, no doubt, very bright for Camp Hill arts.