Board of Directors

We work behind the scenes so your child can shine.

Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a degree in Elementary Education, and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Gifted and Talented Education. She has been teaching with Lincoln Public Schools for almost 13 years. Amanda and her husband have three elementary aged children. She was introduced to YAAL when two of her children joined the Children’s Chorus, which they love!  Amanda believes very strongly in the importance of introducing children to the arts at a young age in order to promote creativity and independent thought.

Mandy Hatcher

Mandy Hatcher graduated from Doane College with a degree in Business Administration specializing in Human Resource Management. She served full-time for over a decade in the Nebraska Army National Guard as a Human Resources Specialist; today she continues her Human Resources work at US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Not only is she an employee advocate, she has several years of professional experience and volunteerism advocating for children. She’s worked in direct care with behaviorally challenged youth, served as a tutor/mentor through AmeriCorps, taught substance abuse education to all age groups, and worked as a victim advocate just to name a few. Serving on the Foster Care Review Board for the last two years (and going) is one of her most rewarding volunteer experiences. She brings that experience to the YAAL Board of Directors along with over 2 years of service with the Veterans Memorial Guarden Advisory Council. Mandy also likes to bring humor to most situations; her stupid human trick is talking through twisted lips and her signature dance moves include The Running Man and the Roger Rabbit. This isn’t saying she does any of these things well but she does do these things publicly given the right occassion. She is a self-described high school theater flunkie i.e. she had the passion but not the talent and she looks forward to living out that dream vicariously through the amazingly talented actors at YAAL.

Jody Kellas

Jody Kellas is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, specializing in interpersonal, family, and health communication and the ways in which narratives and storytelling improve well-being. Jody and her husband moved to Lincoln 13 years ago and are raising two children. Their oldest has participated in many Yaal performances, having truly found her passion at Yaal. Their youngest is just getting started! Jody is honored to join the Yaal board based on her own passion for storytelling, the links between communication and well-being, and performance along with the passion and confidence she has seen it bring out in her own and others’ children.

Mindy Popevis

Mindy has always been an artistic person, experimenting with various mediums over the years. However, her introduction to theater is recent, starting when one of her daughters became involved in YAAL in 2015. Mindy believes in the importance of people finding ways to express their creativity and gain confidence in a safe environment. She has witnessed growth in her daughter’s poise in and out of the theater and has seen her joy in being a part of YAAL. In addition to the arts, Mindy focuses on expressing creativity through physical means. She participates in fitness events (obstacle racing, Lincoln marathon). She has earned her 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo and is continuing her training.

Laura Walker

Laura came to YAAL to help every child get a chance to be on stage and help grow children’s theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has past experience working back stage as a costumer, dresser, set mover, and assistant stage Lincoln Community Playhouse from 2006-2009. Laura works for CHI, Catholic Health Initiatives as a Regional AP Analyst, and her son Logan is very active in theater.

Richard Waller

Richard Waller retired from St. Elizabeth’s Regional Medical Center after a 45 year career as a healthcare executive. He has been active on several rural hospital boards and recently wrapped up a 10 year stint on the board of the People’s Choice Federal Credit Union. Richard and his wife, Joan, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June 2017 and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Though Richard himself possesses no sense of rhythm and two left feet, his grandchildren are all talented singers, dancers and actors. His grandson participated in his first YAAL production in 2015 and the entire family was hooked! Richard believes programs like YAAL provide children with skills that translate far beyond the stage and benefit future employers and the community as a whole.


"To be an actor you have to be a child." — Paul Newman