Rising Stars Staff

Danielle Levas – Founder & Artistic Director

Danielle Levas is the founder and artistic director for San Elijo Middle School’s Rising Stars Program. She also runs the Starz2B musical theater program at Carrillo Elementary. Danielle is a musical theater professional and has performed all over San Diego in musicals with Moonlight Stage Productions, Lawrence Welk, San Diego Musical Theatre, Starlight, Temecula Valley Players, New Village Arts, and has danced at Sea World and Disneyland. She currently is a singer in a girls group called the Pin-ups and has sung back up for American Idol star Diana Degarmo. While she loves to perform, her passion is bringing the theatre arts to the youth. She has worked all over San Diego for the past 18 years teaching, choreographing and directing with Christian Youth Theatre, North County School of the Arts, Cathedral Catholic High School, Maranatha Christian School, Carlsbad Community Theatre, Christian Community Theatre, The Star Theater, and directed the first ever CYT production in New York City in an off-Broadway theater. She has choreographed and directed over 40 productions with cast of 70+ kids. She has spent the past four years teaching music at Carrillo Elementary. Whether it is music, singing, dancing or acting, she loves to teach and inspire kids to grow in the theatre arts. She is extremely thrilled to be heading up this program at SEMS and can’t wait for what the future holds for our Rising Stars Program.

Susie Dycus – Program Director & Production Manager

Susie has been with SEMS Rising Stars since its inception; first as a parent volunteer, then as production stage manager and associate director. She has served as producer and director for multiple shows internationally in Asia as well as several cruise lines including, Cunard, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. She spent five years touring as dance captain for the National Touring Company Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, worked as a Production and Entertainment Manager at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and spent years performing in regional theatre roles (Grease, Evita, How to Succeed in Business, Can Can, Hello Dolly, Bye, Bye, Birdie) and more. Susie has also appeared in Las Vegas with Siegfried and Roy at the Mirage. Trained in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, Polynesian, and Flamenco dance, she has studied and worked in both New York and Los Angeles, and taught extensively in arts schools in California and Nevada as well as her own studio in Orlando, FL. Currently Susie resides in San Elijo Hills, CA with her husband and three children where she also works with special needs children in the San Marcos Unified School District.

Lori Davis – Technical & Creative Director

Lori teaches Art and TV Media at San Elijo Middle School. She has a college background of Fine Arts and worked for the USC School of Theatre props and set building department. When SEMS and Rising Stars brought Theatre to the students here, she began supporting the program with set building, props, costumes, and managing the stage crew during each production. The Stage Craft class, will offer an expanded knowledge and broad skill set for interested students who want to know more about stage craft, from building basic sets and set dressing, to props, masks, and special effects makeup techniques.