2021 Judges

Amber McCrary is Diné poet, zinester and feminist. She is Red House Clan born for Mexican people. Originally from Shonto, Arizona and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona. She earned her BA from Arizona State University in Political Science with a minor in American Indian Studies. She received her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry at Mills College. She recently released a chapbook of poetry titled, Electric Deserts! (Tolsun Books). She currently resides in Mesa, Arizona. McCrary is also the owner and founder of Abalone Mountain Press, a press dedicated to publishing Indigenous voices. She is also a board member of the Northern Arizona Book Festival. You can find her poems, interviews and art at Yellow Medicine Review, Blue Stockings Magazine, Thin Air Magazine, Mayday Magazine, The Womanist, The Navajo Times and forthcoming in Room Magazine and Martin Lake Journal.

Mark Dessauer is an accomplished actor, director, writer, teacher, and hypnotherapist.  He has acted in over 40 productions in university theatre, professional children’s theatre, community theatre, and one professional ballet. Mark is also active in film work, both in front of and behind the camera. Among his other film work, he wrote, produced, and starred in the award winning short film, A Wedding Like That.  He also wrote, produced, and directed the award winning short film, A Lotta Life.  Mark taught high school English and world history in southern Indiana for many years.  He moved to Flagstaff last year with his wife Vicki and dog Luna.  Mark has been practicing hypnotherapy for a few years now and owns New Pathways Hypnotherapy in Flagstaff.


Nichole Katz is the proud Artistic Director of Take Flight Repertory Theatre. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in acting from the University of Florida, Nichole spent 15 years as a theatre educator and director in South Florida. As the Director of Theatre for The Meritas Family of Schools, an international network of private schools, and the Artistic Director of The North Broward Preparatory School Department of Theatre, Nichole had the opportunity to share her passion for theatre with students and communities around the globe. She founded the Meritas National Tour Project, an exchange program that introduced professional theatre to schools, providing them with technical support and financial resources, thus elevating their standard of production. She was the proud recipient of the esteemed Francis Clivaz Award, an honor given to The Educator of the Year. Nichole is an accomplished actor and playwright and has directed countless productions, including Into the Woods, The Rimers of Eldritch, The Long Christmas Ride Home, A…My Name Will Always be Alice, The Diviners, Batboy, Runaways, Gypsy, Sky Diamonds, Wanda’s Visit, Good Day and The Clean House. She was thrilled to work Off-Broadway with Miriam Colon in the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre’s production of The Butterfly’s Evil Spell. Nichole proudly served as a member of the Artistic Committee at Theatrikos Theatre Company in Flagstaff. Nichole is a realtor with RE/MAX Peak Properties and her greatest joy is being a mother to her 15-year old daughter, Gabbi Drew. Nichole lives by the philosophy, “If you build it…they will come” and she is always thrilled and honored to be a part of bringing theatre to the Flagstaff community.