Founders

TDA founders, Phoenix Smith and Amy Ferguson.

We're Amy and Phoenix, cofounders and codirectors of Three Dragons Academy. We're educators as well as working professionals in the music, art, design, and theatre industries. We teach in all of TDA's programs.

We formed our production company, Three Dragons Productions (TDP), in late 1995 to provide children's theatre and music education. We innovated established arts education by integrating subjects into projects "owned" by our participants. We gave the reins of full productions to the kids and then stepped back, serving as guides for their curiosity, mentors for their imaginations, and nurturers of their self-reliance and confidence.

Three Dragons Academy was a natural extension of those decades of teaching experience: an innovation in elementary arts education (a part-time academy for full-time learners), ideal for fans of alternative education such as part-time schooling, homeschooling, online schooling, and unschooling.

Experience and Credentials

  • BFA degrees in Theatre Arts and Music (Cornish College of the Arts).
  • Professional artists: Amy is a working professional musician (principal French horn for Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society at the Seattle Rep; and pit orchestra principal for Civic Light Opera, Renton Civic Theatre, and Puget Sound Opera) and private music instructor. Phoenix is a designer and artist working in theatre and event design at venues including Lincoln Center in New York and TEDx Seattle.
  • Montessori trained educators for preschool and elementary ages.
  • 21+ years teaching experience each, including AP and gifted/talented populations.
  • Coeducators since 1993 including Summer Youth Theatre, Broadway Bound Children’s Theatre, Snoqualmie School District, Village Theatre KIDStage, Lake Washington School District, Mercer Island School District, Youth Theatre Northwest, Children’s Services, Enter Act Theatre.
  • Faculty workshop teachers for Youth Theatre Northwest.
  • Cofounders of Summer Youth Theatre.
  • Contractors (education, design, or performance) at multiple area arts organizations including Seattle Shakespeare Company, Civic Light Opera/Seattle Musical Theatre, Seattle Public Theater, Village Theatre, Broadway Bound, Seattle Fringe Theater, Freehold Studio, Renton Civic Theater, Valley Players, Northwest Actors Studio, Richard Hugo House, New City Theatre, YMCA, Bellevue College, Cornish College, University of Washington, and Seattle Art Museum.
  • EF Tours educational tour leaders since 2004.
  • Homeschooling/unschooling parents.

Awards, Accolades, and Nominations

  • 2013: CBSLocal named TDA a Top 5 Resource for homeschool families in Seattle.
  • 2014: Youth Theatre Northwest presented Amy and Phoenix with its Footlight "Guardian" Award for "nurturing creative development, ingenuity, and leaving a lasting impact on the community."
  • 2016: Top 6 finalist in the ParentMap Golden Teddy Awards for "best dance/art/theatre camps and classes in the Seattle area."