Board of Directors


Dean Brown, President
Dean is a nationally certified school psychologist serving schools in McLean County Unit District #5.  He is a North Dakota native, but also resided in Arizona for 11 years before moving to Normal.  He obtained his undergraduate degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and his graduate degree from the University of Minnesota at Moorhead.  He has a vast resume in theatre including directing and technical directing at the high school level, drama instructor at an international fine arts camp for 17 years, community theatre (directing, acting and technical directing), two Summers working as a professional actor, liturgical drama, playwriting, and make-up designing.  He has appeared on the Heartland Stage in 11 shows, directed two 10-minute plays, and has served on the New Plays from the Heartland selection committee since it’s inception.


SANDI ZIELINSKI BWSandra Zielinski, Vice-President
Sandra Zielinski is a Professor Emeritia from the School of Theatre and Dance at ISU. She has served the field of theatre education for over forty-three years in secondary and collegiate teaching and directing. She was the Administrator of the Theatre Education Entitlement Program 6-12 in the School of Theatre and Dance. Sandra’s credits also include directing in Chicago and acting in several independent Chicago films as well as directing for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the Idaho Repertory Theatre, and Collaboraction Theatre in Chicago.




Nancy Nickerson lo resNancy Nickerson, Secretary

Nancy is an office professional with more than 30 years of secretarial and office administration experience, including positions such as Executive Assistant and Office Manager for large companies. Nancy’s theater experience also spans many years.  She has appeared in a number of productions at Heartland Theatre Company, has worked as a volunteer at Heartland as usher and in the box office.  Nancy has also appeared in many productions at Community Players Theatre and Prairie Fire Theatre.  She was a founding member of Pied Piper Playhouse, a children’s theater group in Tupelo, Mississippi, and performed (actor, pianist, musical director) for many of their


Lori Professional

Lori Cook Baird, Treasurer
Lori Cook Baird is a graduate of UC Davis and lived in California for 36 years before moving to Bloomington, IL. She is an Adjunct Biology Professor at Bradley University in Peoria as well as a professional fast pitch softball pitching coach. In addition, she is a face painter and an actress, with appearances in A Nice Family Gathering and The Dining Room at Heartland. Lori is also a certified ASA umpire, and professional scorer.





Bruce Boeck
A playwright who has twice won a spot in Heartland’s 10-Minute Plays contest, Bruce Boeck is Program Director and Lead Therapist for Renewed Hope at Hopedale Medical Complex, as well as a private practice counselor and an actor.






Mark de Veer
Mark has worked in many facets of professional and non-professional theatre including acting, directing, technical direction, production stage management, company management, and set construction for the past 45 years. Heartland acting credits include Berlin To Broadway, in which he served as director and actor; Our Town; Inherit the Wind; The Clean House; and The Language Archive. He also had the honor to initiate the role of “Old Hoss” Radbourn, (whose Major League Baseball pitching record of 58 wins in a single season still stands after 132 years), in the first ever Evergreen Cemetary Walk.



John Ficca

John Ficca
Dr. Ficca is the former Chair of the School of Theatre Arts and Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is also a playwright and director who has seen his work on many different stages, including IWU, Heartland Theatre and Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago.





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John W. Kirk
Founder of the Department of Theatre at Illinois State University, Dr. Kirk spent over thirty years on the faculty there.  He has written thirteen plays, directed over fifty stage productions and published two theatre texts as well as several other publications.  He has performed as an actor and directed many plays at Heartland Theatre over the years. He was the Managing Director of the Greenview  Arts Center in Chicago and has directed off-Broadway in New York. (Finance Committee)





Todd Wineburner cropped

Todd Wineburner
Todd is a longtime radio personality at WJBC. He graduated from Illinois State University with a double major in Theatre and English and began his radio career with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network at Comiso Air Station, Italy. As an actor, Todd has appeared on many different area stages; he has also appeared as a stand-up comedian at Heartland Community College’s “Funny Raiser.”
(10-Minute Plays Committee)





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Ann B. White
Ann created the Young at Heartland Senior Acting Troupe for Heartland. She frequently appears with the YAH troupe as well as on the main stage at Heartland. She also serves as historian for the Vladimir/Canterbury Sister City Association and is a member of the Religion, Culture and the Arts committee of the First United Methodist Church.
(Young at Heartland Program Director)




Michelle Woody

Michelle Woody
Michelle Woody is an actress on Heartland’s stage, having performed in the 10-Minute Plays and full productions such as CLYBOURNE PARK, LANGUAGE ARCHIVE and EARTH AND SKY. Michelle is the Administrative Aide for ISU’s School of Theatre and Dance. (Grants Committee and 10-Minute Play Committee)






William-Zimmerman-743x1024 BWBill Zimmerman
Bill Zimmerman received a BA in History and Sociology at Northern Illinois University, in 1973.  He began working for Country Financial in 1973, as a Field Claims Representative, and in 1986 was sent to Kansas City as Claims Manager for six western states.  Bill came to Bloomington in 1990, promoted to Director of Corporate Support Services at Country Financial, overseeing all construction, maintenance, and repair as well as being responsible for leases, construction, furniture and equipment, and administration of all field offices in 21 states.  After retiring in 2013, after 38 years of service, Bill turned to community service, currently serving on McLean County Historical Society Board and ISU Senior Professionals Board, and serving on the Public Building Commission, Bloomington Library Foundation Board, and American Legion Honor Guard.


Emeritus Members of the Board of Directors:

Paul Baker

Tom Clemens

Madonna Courtright

Ron Emmons

Sherrin Fitzer

George Freeman

Ruth Ann Friedberg

Kathryn Gillespie

Peggy Hundley

Nancy Niebur-Parente

Brian Simpson

Steven Spencer

Carol Straka

Julie Sullivan



Carol A. Reitan

Philip Shaw

Rita Kohn