Elizabeth (Liz, Beth) Grimes Droessler, born on January 13, 1959, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, passed away at her home in Raleigh on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
Elizabeth was survived by:
She was predeceased by her father Dr. William Frankel Grimes of Fayetteville.
Elizabeth was a national consultant specializing in professional learning to support Arts Integration. She worked with school districts, performing arts centers, and universities to train teachers and teaching artists on curricular alignment, interdisciplinary instruction, and student engagement.
Elizabeth served the Wake County Public School System in Raleigh, NC, for 34 years. Originally a dance and theatre teacher at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, she moved into the central office to provide leadership as the Senior Administrator for Arts Education for over 500 music, dance, theatre, and visual arts educators. She had an extensive background in technical theatre and practiced her artistry as a professional lighting designer for theatre, dance, and music in a wide variety of venues across the country.
Through her work with the Wake County Public School System Elizabeth coordinated the annual showcase of the best of performing arts in the public schools through the program we know as "Pieces of Gold." She worked with Pieces of Gold for 33 years including the first performance in 1983 and eventually became the producer and director. This annual fund-raising event included over 1,000 performing and visual arts students and 50 technical theatre students from throughout the school district.
Elizabeth collaborated with the City of Raleigh’s Broadway Series South at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium to produce several county-wide musicals drawing the best students from across the county, connecting them with theatre professionals, and giving students a chance to perform in Broadway-caliber productions at Memorial Auditorium. These musicals include Les Misérables, Aida, and A Chorus Line. Each production included between 75 and 100 students on stage, behind the scenes, and in the orchestra pit.
These students were directed by or worked with such professionals as: Terrence Mann, Charlotte d’Amboise, Eric Sciotto, Dave Clemmons, Tammy Holder, Craig Stelzenmuller, Brett Jarvis, and Denise Shumaker.
Years later Elizabeth and Tammy Holder worked with middle school students to create a special county-wide musical for middle school students called “#Arts ‘Cause!” which was performed at the Raleigh Little Theatre Amphitheatre.
Since 2003, Elizabeth has served at Meredith College where she taught Arts Integration in the Elementary Classroom. Focusing on practical strategies, this class prepares K-6 preservice teachers to meet the needs of various learners by incorporating dance, theatre, visual art, and music. She also taught Social Studies through the Arts – a graduate level course to support arts integration by MAT/M.Ed. students. Additionally, she has taught Social Studies Methods to undergraduates, and supervised student teachers and graduate students working towards licensure in Curriculum and Instruction. Her most recent research focused on assessment through the arts. Tribute to Liz.
Elizabeth worked as an education consultant for many organizations including:
Elizabeth served on many local boards including:
From 1990-1995, she volunteered at the Raleigh Little Theatre as a performer, stage manager, lighting designer, technical crew member and for two years as a board member. Since that time she devoted her volunteer efforts to supporting young people as an adult coordinator for Explorer Post 512 Event Design and Production, a co-educational career exploration unit of the Boy Scouts of America. Through her work with young people in technical theatre, she fostered skills and interests in lighting, sound and scenery and acts as a positive role model for success in the performing arts industry.
Elizabeth's artistic spirit was constantly rejuvenated through her association with Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) where she toured nationally as their technical director/lighting designer since 1982.
Elizabeth enjoyed creating lighting designs for community theatre/dance/music projects in the triangle area and designed lights at the American Dance Festival for internationally renowned professional choreographers including Donald McKayle, Chuck Davis, and David Dorfman. Her work with Dr. Pearl Primus was featured at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. As an artist-in-residence and guest designer for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Denison University, she lectured and designed for dance concerts, special events, and theatre productions.
Additionally, Elizabeth enjoyed doing freelance lighting and scenic design for
Elizabeth enjoyed playing pool and bowling, even joining league teams in each sport, as well as with family and friends.
Liz was often heard saying "Enjoy life – this is not a dress rehearsal!"
Elizabeth will be missed by many.
Please support the Scholarship that was established in Elizabeth’s name to support students and teachers in the Arts.
Elizabeth's FaceBook Page.
Liz recorded a video in February 2022 about her experiences over the past year - "Best Year of My Life"