Dr. Beth Brown

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Number of Years in Industry

20 years


Beth is an arts educator and educational psychologist. Her first love is working with children, and she has been designing programming for youth ages 3-18 for the past thirty years. Most notably, she has written curriculum and taught music for over two decades in the Iowa City Community School District from pre-k to high school. She has also directed the Iowa City Youth Choir and the Nolte Nutcracker Chorus for over ten years. Early on in her career she garnered a strong foundation in educational and recreational leadership: guiding, caring for, and building an outdoor leadership training program for high school overnight campers at YMCA Camp Wapsie, working there for nearly a decade. She has a BM in Vocal Performance and Music Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on developmental science.

Beth began her partnership with Leslie Nolte over ten years ago when they opened a successful early childhood performing arts school together. Most recently, Beth has supported Nolte Academy in the role of Curriculum and Personnel Director, working with Leslie’s 30-plus arts faculty in a variety of arts education programs.

Beth is also an adjunct professor in the University of Iowa College of Education, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in instructional design, cognitive learning theories, and human development. She enjoys working with both inservice and preservice teachers in a variety of capacities, including mentoring, teaching, writing, and presenting in the arts education field.


Dr. Beth Brown is a beloved music educator in Iowa City who has nurtured the talents of hundreds of young students in her work in the schools, and as the director of the Iowa City Youth Choir. I love seeing young faces come alive when they see Dr. Brown in the Iowa City community, because she inspires them! At ICON, Dr. Brown pairs desire to inspire students with her talents in creating innovative curriculum that supports growing artists. Combine this with a vibrant arts community, and students will be amazed at the opportunities they find here!

-Sarah Fairfield Ph.D. | Iowa City Community School District Leadership Support and Development Strategist, Curriculum and Mentor Focus


Beth Brown is the most committed and dynamic educator I have ever known. She has had an incredible impact on every organization she has worked with and her administrative and curriculum integration experience are perfect for building a school like ICON. She is a strong leader and is especially skilled at creating a great team. I can’t wait to collaborate with ICON faculty and students!

-Carey Bostian | Artistic Director, Red Cedar Chamber Music


As an educator, Dr. Brown has a great capacity for inspiring both in-service and pre-service teachers. Working with scores of adult learners in the UI College of Education MAT and undergraduate programs, she has shown time and time again her dedication to guiding and shaping innovative, caring teaching practices. Her expertise and long-time experience in the public schools and working with so many different kinds of learners has poised Beth to offer something unique to teachers: collegiality, understanding, and a consistently central focus on making instruction fit the learner. Her focus on learner-centered instruction is central to her philosophy of education, and I cannot imagine a more competent arts educator at the helm of designing curriculum for ICON.

-Dr. Mitchell Kelly | University of Iowa Clinical Professor and Director of Office of Graduate Teaching Excellence


Dr. Brown provided a thoughtful and engaging graduate course in learner-centered, PBL instructional design for classroom teachers. I genuinely looked forward to the reading, discussions, and collaborative assignments. I feel like I was able to target an area of growth that I am really working on right now and it just felt like perfect timing. I feel really inspired and validated in my educational philosophy. She took the time to engage and connect with us. It made a world of difference.

-Jazmine Jackson | Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary School Teacher, Washington DC

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