Holmes Center for the Arts Staff


Holley Johnson
Executive Director
Director of Pre-professional Ballet

Holley Johnson is the executive director and director of the pre-professional ballet division for the Holmes Center for the Arts.  She has trained in many different dance schools including Dance Arts (Valdosta, Georgia), The Academy of Dance (Hampton, VA), The Ballett Schuller (Oldenburg, Germany), and more.   Holley attended summer dance programs at Joffrey Ballet School (New York), North Carolina School of the Arts, The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet West Conservatory, the Georgia Governor's Honors Program, and Ballet Magnificat.  She continued her education by attending the University of Utah where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Ballet and a performance emphasis.  While there, she received full dance and academic scholarships including the Presidential Scholarship for the arts and was selected to be a member of the Utah Ballet and the Character Dance Ensemble.  After college, she danced professionally with the Atlanta Ballet and the Lexington Ballet.  She performed at such venues as the Royal Festival Hall in London, England, the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, the Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta, and the Opera House in Lexington, KY.  Holley has taught all levels of ballet for 15 years.  She and her husband and three children live in Holmes County.

Cathie Lynch
Outreach Director
Art Instructor

Cathie Lynch holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education from Cleveland State University.  She taught K-12 art for 31 years, 30 of those years in Holmes County. Since her retirement from the public schools in 2015, Catherine has been teaching classes in portrait drawing and acrylic painting for HCA as well as some classes and camps for children and teens.  Catherine also does some grant writing for the arts center and has taken on a new role as director of Community Connections. She is excited to make the arts accessible to those who might not otherwise be able to participate. Catherine lives at Lake Buckhorn with husband, Kevin where she enjoys walking and finding time to draw and paint, her lifelong passions.  She and Kevin have two grown sons.

Marlea Hershberger Leinbach
Visual Arts Director

In 2002, Marlea Hershberger Leinbach earned a BA in Art and Secondary Education from Goshen College.  She then taught in Indiana for several years at the elementary and preschool levels. After moving back to Ohio in 2005 and while her children were small, Marlea continued to work from home as an artist.  For the last 3 years she has privately taught adult and children’s mixed media workshops and painting classes.


As a teacher, Marlea emphasizes the creative process. She is passionate about encouraging creativity and critical thinking through making art.  Although her educational background is in elementary art, she has found that she also enjoys working with adults with all levels of ability and experience.


As an artist, Marlea works in a rotating variety of media, including: acrylic paint, collage, ink and pastel. In addition to painting, she also works in colored ink on paper. Texture and layers of color are important elements in her creative process. Inspired by nature; trees, flowers and landscapes dominate her work. When possible, she makes and prepares her own painting surfaces and frames. 

Marlea grew up in Wayne and Holmes Counties and currently resides in Trail.

Jaime White
Music Director
Choir Director

Mrs. Jaime White is married to Holmes County native Christopher White and has two beautiful daughters Adileigh and Elianna.  She has a Bachelors of Music Education from Kentucky Christian University where she has trained as a K-12 Band and Choir Teacher and is an Ohio Certified Teacher.   Jaime has taught private piano for 20 years and voice for 16 years as well as various other private instrument instruction in flute, violin and cello.  Jaime taught K-6 general music and 7-12 Jr. and Sr. High choir at Fairfield Christian Academy for 6 years when she moved, with her husband, to Holmes County to start a family.  Once in Holmes County Jaime began to teach private lessons to the area students, including both youth and adult.  Jaime has also taught private lessons and Women’s Choir at Hiland High School for 7 years and has been involved in the Share-a-Christmas concert for as many years.  She has been involved in multiple All State Choral competitions, where her choirs received ratings from Excellent to Superior, as well as multiple solo/ensemble contests, where many of her students receive Excellent to Superior ratings.  She has also sent several students to participate in the Ohio All State Fair Choir.  Jaime has a dream of starting a community adult and children’s choir, opening up competitions to area private lesson students to inspire and encourage them, and to hold workshops to help train and encourage private music teachers.  She dreams of a community band and/or orchestra to inspire and unify our community.  She dreams of a haven for all musicians where they can grow, be encouraged, be inspired, and find a supportive environment to explore the joy of music - at any age.

Lydia Havener
Dance Instructor

Lydia Havener began dancing at the age of 4 with training including ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, tap and hip-hop. She studied at Cleveland City Dance under the training of Courtney Laves-Mearini, Mark Otloski, Andrea Blankstein-Otloski, Heather Young and Jason Wang. She was a member of the pre-professional company, City Ballet of Cleveland, where she performed in soloist and corps roles in productions such as Swan Lake, Paquita, the Nutcracker, Coppelia, Les Sylphides and Sleeping Beauty. She has had the privilege of participating and performing in Regional Dance America (RDA) and training under many reputable teachers throughout her time there. After graduating from high school, Lydia trained with and graduated from AMTC (Actors, Models and Talent for Christ) in dancing, acting and modeling. She attended summer school at New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts for film & acting as well as worked for Disney Cruise Line as a performer on the Disney Magic. Lydia has continued to teach all levels of ballet and other forms of dance as well as perform as a guest artist with credits that include soloist work in the Nutcracker. She has thoroughly enjoyed teaching, directing and choreographing at Holmes Center for the Arts and loves interacting with parents and students as the Director of the Student Division.

Abi Besse
Dance Instructor

Abi Besse began dancing at the age of four with Linda Adolphi and Paul Wilson at Cleveland City Dance. She has trained under Courtney Laves-Mearini, Mark Otloski, Andrea Blankstein-Otloski, and Shannon Sterne. Abi went on to graduate from the professional trainee program of Light of the World Ballet in Syracuse New York in 2012. Over the last six years she has enjoyed teaching, choreographing and performing. She has performed multiple soloist and supporting roles as a guest artist for Holmes Center for the Arts and City Ballet of Cleveland including Sleeping Beauty, Paquita and the annual Nutcracker Ballet. She loves working with students of all ages and levels and finds the greatest joy in watching them grow and achieve their goals.

Haley Ervin
Tumbling Director
Dance Instructor

Haley Ervin is the tumbling director and a tap and jazz instructor for the Holmes Center for the Arts.  She began taking dance at age 3 at Jenyce's School of Dance in Millersburg, OH. She trained in gymnastics, tap, hip-hop, jazz, and ballet.  While there, she competed in many dance competitions including Dance Master's of Ohio. She was also an assistant teacher for Jenyce for 5 years.  Haley cheered at West Holmes High School lettering in varsity for two years. Haley has taught dance and tumbling for Holmes Center for the Arts since its beginnings and through her leadership, care for her students, and knowledge, she has helped to build a strong program.  This year she created the Holmes Center for the Arts Elite Tumbling Performance Group which performs at local basketball games and other venues. In addition to teaching dance, Haley is a cosmetologist at Village Hairworks in Shreve and recently married her high school sweetheart.

Ethan Ralston
Guest Dance Instructor

Mr. Ralston began dancing at the age of seven and has had extensive training and teaching experience in ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and acrobatics. He has been awarded numerous scholarships and has had the opportunity to perform and study dance around the country with well-known instructors and choreographers, such as Mark Marino, Dominic Sandoval, Stepp Stewart, Seth Stewart, and Tokyo. He has also trained under Inna Stabrova, former principal dancer with Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg Russia, and Dmitriy Tuboltsev, former principal dancer with Bolshoi Ballet and dancer with Ohio Ballet. In 2014, Mr. Ralston had the opportunity to attend the USA Gymnastics National Congress. Over the years, his many performance credits include Prince Florimund in “Sleeping Beauty” and Snow King in “The Nutcracker.” Mr. Ralston currently resides in Canton and attends the University of Akron where he is studying engineering.

Susie Chaney
Baton Instructor

Susie Chaney is the coach of the West Holmes High School Majorettes and twirl instructor for Holmes Center for the Arts.  She has over 20 years experience in teaching and coaching baton and is excited to offer youth more opportunities for learning, performing, and growing in the art of baton twirling.  She is available for teaching private lessons as well as group lessons.    

Daniel Bolton
Strings Instructor

Daniel Bolton earned his Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from Otterbein College, achieving Magna Cum Laude with Honors in 2009. Since then, he has gallivanted about mid-Ohio, teaching strings students where he finds them and playing in events and ensembles both well-known and obscure. Included in the litany of his experience are the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra, Westerville Symphony, the Ohio Light Opera, Wooster's Lyrics for Life, and his own star-crossed Pyxis String Quartet.   


Daniel has a sincere devotion to helping his students develop their musical talents, and believes that with persistent practice, listening, guidance and encouragement, and the experience of live performance, anyone can learn to play the songs they love.