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2013 annual conference presenters and speakers

Dr  R  Scott Allen

Scott Allen, Ed.D., is the principal of Houston ISD’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Allen earned his BFA in Theatre with an emphasis in Directing from Texas State University in San Marcos, and his master’s in educational administration and doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. His dissertation title was Fine Arts and Student Academic Success in Texas: A Critical Examination. Allen’s background includes theatre work in New York and community theatre throughout Texas. He has been a high school classroom teacher in speech, theatre, oral interpretation, radio/television/film, and English, and has served as an assistant principal and principal at the elementary level. He worked at the Region 4 Education Service Center, training aspiring principals for a year before
coming to HSPVA.

Andi Arnold, Technology Coach, Idaho Arts Charter School – coming soon!

Doug AshcraftDouglas Ashcraft , D.M.A., is Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Head of School and Dean of the Arts. A pianist, Ashcraft has performed to acclaim in recitals and concerts throughout the United Sates and in Europe. A winner of many competitions, he began his formal training as a student of Aldo Mancinelli. Master’s and doctoral degrees followed at the University of Southern California where he worked with pianist John Perry. During those summers he participated in classes at the Aspen Music Festival and the Holland Music Sessions in Alkmaar, Netherlands studying with pianists John O’Conor, Marie Francoise Bucquet, and Gyorgy Sandor. He was invited to perform in a recital at Amsterdam’s famed Concertgebouw. Ashcraft is also an active chamber musician and has performed in recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Jacqueline Du Pre Hall at Oxford University in England. Ashcraft’s performing career has included radio broadcasts on New York’s WQXR and live chamber music recitals on KKGO, KMZT, and KUSC in Los Angeles, and BBC Radio 3 in London.

Sir James BaileySir James Bailey, M.Ed., is Founder of Yasawa Enterprises LLC. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in African-American studies and a concentration in Film & Television and received his Masters of Education with Social Studies teaching credential from the University of Phoenix. The eldest son of legendary EW&F lead vocalist Philip Bailey, Sir made his debut into the entertainment industry as a Hip-Hop artist and continues in the music business as a songwriter and producer.  Sir has worked for Spike Lee, John Singleton and in the post-production, animation, and script departments for various Carsey-Werner, PieTown, and Bent Outta Shape television programs.


Sir has served hundreds of children as a social studies teacher, youth- coach and mentor, and co-chair of the Social Justice and Diversity Committee part of the California Commissions on Social Studies advocating for greater emphasis of arts and social studies in California’s School. Currently, Sir has developed ArtLife, an exciting Electronic Field Trip exploring various works of Art that inspire the lives of successful individuals. Videos introduce students to Architects, Musicians, Lawyers, Actors, Philanthropist and a plethora of other exciting careers. Youthful, humorous, energetic, hosts lead students through the “virtual art collections” that influence the lives’ of ArtLife guest. Students experience the works of art (literary, film and theatrical, music and dance, graphic and physical) through project based or community service lesson plans. ArtLife enriches student’s common core skills, engages their imaginations, and ignites their passion for college, career, civic, and character development.


Angela Miles Beeching, Director, Center for Music Entrepreneurship, Manhattan School of Music – coming soon!

Adrian Brayton, Program Coordinator, Center for Arts in Education, Boston Arts Academy – coming soon!


Mary Schmidt Campbell

Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell was appointed Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts in 1991. Under her stewardship as Dean, the Tisch School has become a dynamic incubator of new work and new enterprises. Student work is regularly screened at leading film festivals, mounted on stages in New York and around the world, published in leading journals and the winner of countless awards and accolades. Students and recent alumni have won virtually every major award from Oscars, Pulitzer Prizes, Tony Awards, Emmies, Golden Globes, Guggenheim Fellowships and Fulbrights. Faculty at Tisch are among the leading artists and scholars in their fields and the school, long known for its excellence in its artistic and scholarly disciplines has become a laboratory of collaboration and innovation. During Campbell’s tenure, she has launched several new programs including the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, a masters program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation, a department in Art and Public Policy, a joint MBA/MFA in film and business. Under her leadership the School has offered advanced courses in the arts in over 20 countries and opened a degree granting campus in Singapore, Tisch Asia. She currently serves as chair of Tisch Asia. During her tenure as Associate Provost for the Arts at NYU from 2004-2007, she launched a multi-school Game Center, that now offers an undergraduate minor in Game development and a masters degree in Game Design. Her time at Tisch has been marked by a diversification of the School’s population and a marked growth in its selectivity. She has dramatically upgraded and expanded over two thirds of the School’s facilities and is currently leading Tisch in a $70 million capital campaign to build a new performing arts center in the middle of lower Manhattan’s theater district. In September of 2009 Dean Campbell was appointed by President Barack Obama as the Vice Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities which is a non- partisan advisory committee to the President of the United States on cultural matters. Previously, she was New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs from 1987-1991 in the Edward I. Koch and David Dinkins administrations. She came to city government after having served as executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem from 1977-87. Prior to that she was guest curator and assistant curator at the Everson Museum of Fine Arts in Syracuse, NY, contributor to the Syracuse New Times and co-founder of the Community Folk Art Center in Syracuse, New York. Dean Campbell was also the Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts from 2007-2009. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and sits on the boards of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival and the Harlem School of the Arts. She holds honorary degrees from the College of New Rochelle, Colgate University, City University of New York, Pace University, Maryland Institute College of Art and Swarthmore College. She has given numerous lectures, authored many papers and articles, and is co-editor of Artistic Citizenship: A Public Voice for the Arts, (New York: Routledge, 2006) and co-author of Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987) and Memory and Metaphor: The Art of Romare Bearden, 1940-1987 (New York: Oxford University Press & The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1991). She is currently working on a book on Romare Bearden for Oxford University Press. Campbell received a BA degree in English literature from Swarthmore College, an MA in art history from Syracuse University, and a PhD in humanities, also from Syracuse. 

Yvette CampbellYvette L. Campbell has served as President & CEO of the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) since January 2011.  Under her leadership, HSA has raised nearly $10 million including an extraordinary gift of $6 million from the Herb Alpert Foundation.  During her short tenure, with the support of a newly engaged and highly competent board of directors, the School has eliminated its inherited debt, rebuilt and increased its endowment, and been restored as one of this nation’s most valued arts institutions. 

She served as Director of the Ailey Extension, Ailey’s adult continuing education program, for more than five years, which she named, developed and managed from its inception. The program earns $2 million per year and serves 15,000 adults per year.  A committed not-for-profit professional, focused on the performing arts, with demonstrated strengths in entrepreneurial start-ups, strategic planning, operations management, marketing, fundraising, financial reporting, developing software solutions and cultivating client relationships. Ms. Campbell became passionate about dance at The University of California at Berkeley where she graduated with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Dramatic Art – Dance. 

Ms. Campbell studied dance at The Ailey School, performed with Ailey II, and worked as the interim School Administrator for the Ailey School, working closely with mentor Denise Jefferson, Director of the Ailey School.  Ms. Campbell danced with Elisa Monte Dance for six years as a principal, touring over 26 countries.  In 2000, Ms. Campbell moved to London with her family where she taught classes and choreographed as a guest artist. She also performed as a guest artist at The Barbican Theatre in London with Wynton Marsalis and JazzXchange, a London-based dance company.  Board experience included over 10 years serving as a board member for JazzXchange in London and Elisa Monte Dance in New York City. 

Since taking the helm at HSA in January, Ms. Campbell has been featured in the New York Times, Essence and Uptown Magazines and named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2011. 

Amy CharleroyAmy Charleroy is the Associate Director for the Office of Academic Initiatives of the College Board, where she oversees curriculum, advocacy, and research projects related to the Arts at the Core initiative. Prior to joining the College Board, she worked with teacher and school programming in the education departments of the Guggenheim Museum and the Walters Art Museum. She holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MA in Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design.



Lee Cioppa, Admissions, Associate Dean, The Juilliard School – coming soon!

Dr. Cynthia ClausenDr. Claudia Clausen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Education Innovations, Inc. and will serve as the Director of Education for KDM-OGTV. (A Division of KDM & Associates, LLC).  She has served as a principal, superintendent, university faculty, research director, consultant, and classroom teacher.  Dr. Clauson is known as an educational leader merging critical thinking instruction and assessment with web based technology to train teachers and principals in the design and testing of effective instruction.   Her work is based on best practice research and is scientifically proven.  The focus of her instructional design to increase student success is through teacher and administrator professional development and self – assessment.  According to OGTV Founder, and CEO of KDM & Associates, “Dr. Clauson’s history of assessing and assisting educators serve diverse student populations will significantly increase achievement and help us prepare our future workforce, and help to restore the nation’s economic competitiveness”.

Karen CogdillKaron L. Cogdill joined the faculty at Booker T. Washington in 1976.  She currently teaches Beginning Acting, Improv Acting, Monologue Study, Speech/Portfolio, and is Co-Director of the Mime Troupe, but has taught playwriting and costume construction as well.  She has a BA in Theatre from the State University of New York at Fredonia, which included a year of study at Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre in Manchester, England.  During that time she was a member of the Stables Theater Company and performed in seven different productions.  She has an MFA from Trinity University through the Dallas Theater Center.  While in graduate school, she began working at Booker T. Washington.  She directed the BTWHSPVA Improv  Troupe which was awarded an Emmy with KERA, Channel 13.  In 2001 she was a Surdna Fellow and studied Mask Making and Mask Performing with Bruce Marrs at the Dell Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Mask Making with professional mask maker and artist Juanita Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She was named Teacher of the Year in 2002-2003.  In 2008, she became Coordinator of the Theatre Cluster.  She is on the Executive Board of the Rotunda Theater and serves as an actor and director with that theater.

Craig CollinsDr. Craig S. Collins’ career in public education spans over thirty years. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida (B.M.E.), where he also earned the Performer’s Certificate in Saxophone, and was a member of the prestigious Florida Blue Key Honor Fraternity. He obtained both his master’s degree and doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida. Prior to his recent appointment as Dean of Communications, Languages, and the Arts at Southeastern University, he served as a principal for seventeen years, having both elementary and secondary experience in producing schools of excellence. During his twelve-year tenure at Harrison School for the Arts, he initiated a 21 million dollar building renovation and expansion comprised of state-of-the-art facilities. In 1987, he served as the Junior High Representative for the Florida Bandmaster’s Association (FBA). While serving as a junior high band and choral director, his groups earned straight superior ratings.  Dr. Collins continues to adjudicate for district and state FBA Solo and Ensemble Music Performance Assessments. He also presents workshops related to the arts and literacy and teacher evaluation in the arts on a district, state, and national platform and he currently serves as President of the Arts Schools’ Network, an international consortium of schools dedicated to advancement of the arts. In addition, he serves on boards for the Florida School Music Association, Imperial Symphony Orchestra, Polk Hunger Council, and is the former chair of the Arts Achieve Model Schools’ recognition through the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. Professional memberships include Leadership Lakeland Class 30, Polk Arts Alliance, Association for General and Liberal Studies, and the Florida Bandmasters Association. Dr. Collins’ research and passion for service are centered on the conceptual framework of social justice. He has presented at the Southern Regional Council on Educational Administration and in 2011, he received the Individual Research Award through the Arts Schools’ Network.


Jackie Collins 2-12-13Jackie Collins is the executive director and principal of Idaho Arts Charter School. Collins received her undergraduate degree in speech and political science from the University of Idaho, an M.A. in special education from Boise State University and an Ed.S. in administration from the University of Idaho. She has been involved with public education for over 30 years. She has taught special education, and led students to award winning speech and debate events, and was named Centennial High School’s Teacher of the Year. When she started a new lottery based K-12 charter school, her solid background as a teacher made her aware of the challenges. She was responsible for planning and integrating everything from student lunches, busing, teacher contracts to curriculum. Idaho Arts Charter School (IACS) has met annual yearly goals, continues to grow in arts and academics despite its location in a low socio-economic area, and is the first exposure to the arts for many students. The school features arts integrated classes for the lower elementary and arts academies for the middle and high school. When Idaho Charter School started, it was housed in mobile units and an old church building. 2007-08 Jackie and her team were instrumental in putting together a plan to purchase an existing school and design an arts addition so the school could have a permanent facility. Her team was able to secure 7.5 million in bonds from investors and their dream school was complete. Collins has presented at schools and conferences techniques in arts integration, school management, and charter school start up plans. She and her staff have been the recipients of over $300,000 in grants from the Albertson Foundation to promote creativity and charter schools and was also a recipient of $500,000 from the Idaho State Department of Education and the Federal Government to support charter schools and disseminate best practices to charter and public schools.

Jackie Cornelius is the executive director of fine arts for the Duval County School District, which serves over 124,000 students in Jacksonville, FL. She is also the principal of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA) and has served as a nationally recognized arts education advocate and presenter for decades. Her charge at DA is to provide intensive arts education to talented, passionate students and implement quality arts professional development for teachers district wide. Over the years, Cornelius has spearheaded numerous financial campaigns to underwrite critically needed arts funding; one such campaign successfully netted over 13 million in state funding for DA, while another secured a half million in private funding for the purchase of arts instruments, equipment and guest artist programs. She recently implemented a pilot collaboration program among the seven district specialized arts schools; last August the district was awarded a federal arts professional development grant of one million. Cornelius is an active community participant. She is currently a trustee for the Jacksonville Community Music School, a board member of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and a member of Jacksonville’s Public Arts Commission Board of Directors. She is a Downtown Jacksonville Rotary member and Leadership Jacksonville Alumni, ’92. Cornelius has served on numerous arts and community boards: the Jacksonville Women’s Network, the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Gateway Girl Scout Council, the Mayor’s Insight Committee, the Jacksonville Symphony Education Committee, and Youth Leadership Jacksonville. She is a past president of Uptown Civitans, First Coast Business & Professional Women’s Club, and the Arts Schools Network, and is a past director of the BPW Florida Education Foundation. Under Cornelius’s leadership, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts has received many national and state awards. It has been named a Grammy Gold Signature School, a Florida Distinguished School, a Best Academic High School by Newsweek, a 2009 U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools in America Gold Medal School, and a 2008 Exemplary School by the Arts Schools Network. DA is a National Essentially Duke Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition winner and its theatre department has performed at the prestigious Edinburgh, Scotland Mini Fringe Arts Festival. Cornelius has been awarded the University of Florida’s Distinguished Principal Award, the Florida Times Union News Eve Award, the Florida Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Award, the Florida Association of Administrators 2008 Arts Administrator of the Year Award, the Florida State Thespians 2009 Administrator of the Year Award for Outstanding Leadership, the Jacksonville Arts Assembly Outstanding Arts Educator Award; the Gateway Girl Scout Council Woman of Distinction Award, the Florida Association of Theatre Educators 2008 Outstanding Administrator of the Year, and the Duval Arts Teachers’ Association Outstanding Principal of the Year Award.

Sharon CornellSharon Cornell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications from the University of Texas, Arlington.  She is the Public Relations and Recruitment Specialist at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.  She has over 20 years experience in public relations and has been a guest speaker at events in the U.S., the U.K. and Bermuda.  She is a member of many community and arts boards in the Dallas area and is not only a staff member at BTWHSPVA, she is a graduate of the school’s dance department with extensive ties to the history and media in Dallas.



Carla Cruess, 5th grade teacher, Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School – coming soon!

Dr. Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton pictureDenise Davis Cotton, Ed.D., a Milken Foundation internationally recognized educator, made a historic contribution to Detroit’s educational and cultural renaissance as the principal and founder of Detroit School of Arts (DSA). In June 2006, the Detroit News named her Michiganian of the Year. Her dream of teaching performing arts to inner-city school children evolved to the founding of what many believe will become an icon of cultural education throughout the country. Through Dr. Cotton’s leadership, DSA provided an environment where academics and arts were not only recognized, but also revered. DSA gained AYP status and was recognized as a bronze medal school by Newsweek magazine. As a result of her vision and leadership, DSA was named a Blue Ribbon School and received the Kennedy Center Creative Ticket National School of Distinction Award. Although she is now retired from Detroit School of Arts, Davis-Cotton continues to be an advocate for arts integration and arts inclusion along the K-12 academic continuum. Her awards and citations are too numerous to list individually. Davis-Cotton earned a doctorate from Wayne State University, a master’s from the University of Montevallo, and a bachelor’s of science from Alabama State University.

Sarah CunninghamDr. Sarah Bainter Cunningham, As Executive Director of Research at VCU School of the Arts, Dr. Cunningham works with the school, faculty, and students to expand VCU’s presence as an international leader in arts research.

Prior to VCU Arts, Dr. Cunningham served as the Director for Arts Education at the National Endowment for the Arts, providing national leadership in all artistic disciplines. In addition to chairing the panel review process, Cunningham led several NEA National Initiatives, including NEAJazz in the Schools, Poetry Out Loud, and Shakespeare in American Communities. In 2007, Cunningham founded the Education Leaders Institute, a design workshop to place arts at the core of public education, attracting a funding partnership with the Dana Foundation. During her leadership,NEA arts education funding increased significantly totaling $17 million annually. In 2011, Cunningham was named in the top 30 “Most Powerful and Influential Leaders in Nonprofit Arts.”

Dr. Cunningham has worked with the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities as well as The Arts Education Partnership, a coalition of arts service organizations, state arts agencies, businesses, and universities funded by NEA and the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, Dr. Cunningham has served in an advisory capacity to the U.S. government on arts assessment, design education, neuroscience and the arts, state arts agencies, summer schools in the arts, and international matters. At NEA, she initiated the first national study of arts assessment. She currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project as well as serving as the Chair of the Research Task Force for “Art-Making in Research Universities,” an effort of more than 30 institutions nationwide. In 2012, Dr. Cunningham was appointed the first American expert to serve on the Council of Europe’s cultural policy Compendium, a research project that tracks global trends in policy, with a focus on 50 European countries.

Prior to NEA, Dr. Cunningham served as the founding dean at The Oxbow School, a visual arts high school in Napa, California initiated by Robert Mondavi. Dr. Cunningham has held teaching positions at a variety of institutions, including assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Maine in Orono, and Burke Teaching Fellow in Aesthetics at Vanderbilt University. As a philosopher, she has written and lectured on Kantian aesthetics, theater and politics in Rousseau, and education reform. She speaks frequently on the future of arts in public education, with special interest in media/digital arts and game design. In 2012, she will be speaking at the University of Basel on the philosophical foundations of the creative cities movement.

P. DeckerPatricia Decker is the director of recruitment at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She started her career at Tisch in the department of undergraduate drama, first as the internship coordinator, then as the coordinator of the summer high school drama program. After that she served as the manager of admissions and applicant services for ten years.Decker is also a writer, performer, and producer who has worked in both Philadelphia and New York at venues including the Wilma Theatre, The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Big Mess Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, the Manhattan Theatre Club, Theatre Communications Group, Teleotheater, and SPF. She has performed her own work at Dixon Place, CB’s Gallery and Cornelia Street Café and is on the board of directors of Rabbit Hole Ensemble. Decker, who is also an accomplished tarot card reader, earned her BA in theatre from Temple University.

debpic2008Debbie Fahmie: After serving as an elementary music teacher for twenty years, Debbie Fahmie is currently the Fine and Performing Arts Specialist for the School District of Osceola County in Central Florida.  She has served as President of the Osceola Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, the Osceola Arts for a Complete Education Coalition and the Osceola Center for the Arts. Debbie also serves as a Past President of the Florida Elementary Music Educators Association and the Central Florida Orff Chapter. She is the Awards Chair for the Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA) and serves on their Mentor Program, the FMEA Assessment Task Force and Writing Team, the Grade Level Expectations Writing Team and Project Manager for Start With the Arts Curriculum Writing Team. She currently serves on the Task Force and as a writer for the Florida Performing Arts Assessment Project funded through a Race To The Top grant. Debbie served with the Florida Department of Education as an evaluator for the Florida Music Demonstration Schools. She is a trainer for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She has taught through Stetson’s Community Outreach Program and is the contemporary choir director at Holy Redeemer Church in Kissimmee.  She also serves as an adjunct professor for the University of Central Florida.  Debbie represented Osceola County as the 2008 Teacher of the Year and was selected as a state finalist. 

Debbie has presented workshops throughout Florida, as well as at ASCD, AOSA, TMEA and SWMENC. In 2008, under Debbie’s arts education leadership, Cypress Elementary School (Osceola County) was named a National School of Distinction in Arts Education (one of six in the nation) by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. To receive the award, Debbie took 27 of her students to perform on the Millenium Stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

TimFederleHeadshotTim Federle grew up in San Francisco and Pittsburgh before moving to New York to dance on Broadway, where he appeared in the original casts of THE LITTLE MERMAID and the Bernadette Peters GYPSY before coaching the child stars of BILLY ELLIOT. His debut novel for kids, BETTER NATE THAN EVER — described as “Judy Blume as seen through a Stephen Sondheim lens” by Huffington Post — was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. The sequel, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE!, arrives in January 2014.



Chris FergusonChristopher Ferguson, Ed.D., graduated from The University of Pennsylvania in 2010, earning his doctorate of education in higher education management. The title of his dissertation is “Online Social Networking Goes to College: Two case studies of higher education institutions that implemented college-created social networking sites for recruiting undergraduate students.” Chris is passionate about adapting recruitment and university strategies to the preferred communication channels of prospective and current college students while integrating other traditional formats such as print and email.

Currently, Chris is the Associate Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management at The New School in New York, NY. Specializing in multi-channel communication modeling with a strong emphasis on popular and specialized social media platforms, he manages the strategic recruitment process, financial aid, operations and marketing functions for all of the undergraduate and graduate programs at the university.

Chris was an early implementer of using popular and private social networking sites to recruit undergraduate students, as well as facilitating the creation and implementation of social media policy for university personnel. At The New School, Chris implemented two private social networking sites for admitted international and domestic students as well as providing strategic facilitation and leadership of popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Word Press, and others.

David Flatley 2-18-13

David A. Flatley, the executive director of the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago, has over 15 years experience in developing and implementing educational and intercultural initiatives to improve teacher practice and student achievement and affect whole-school change. His work supports both national and international groups, including the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Educational Authority as they work to replicate the arts integration model developed by Flatley and his team through the Chicago Teacher’s Center in the 1990s. This relationship is now being transferred and formalized through Columbia. He was instrumental in advancing the work of arts integration in the city through his work with the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Prior to delving into arts education, he worked in development and management with the Cincinnati Ballet, the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, and Pegasus Players Theatre in Chicago. He has an MA in arts administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BS in business administration from the University of Illinois-Champaign. Flatley received his practitioner’s certification in intercultural communications through the Intercultural Communications Institute in Portland, OR in 2001. He currently serves on the Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Council, the Illinois Federation for Community Schools Board, the Arts Schools Network Board, and the CAPE Advisory Board. He is a jazz pianist and writer. He learned French while living in Brussels, Belgium for nearly four years, where he taught English, directed theatre, and played piano for the three American Embassies.

Chris FleenerChristopher Fleener is the Social Media Director for The New School in New York City. In this role, he responsible for enhancing the global impact of The New School’s social media investments and initiatives, driving communications across the university’s vast network of social platforms and profiles, supporting recruitment marketing strategy, and developing innovative social media solutions for internal clients and external partners. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/christopherfleener  Twitter: @cfleener




Sally Gaskill 3-27-13

Sally Gaskill manages the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), the annual survey of arts graduates at Indiana University. SNAAP investigates the educational experiences and career paths of arts graduates nationally.
Sally’s career in arts administration and arts education spans three decades. She led the arts councils of Rochester, NY (1993-2000) and Bloomington, IN (2000-2005), and managed grantmaking programs for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. She served as executive director of the Greater Boston Youth Symphony. As a consultant, she developed cultural plans for a number of communities, and evaluated over 100 nonprofit arts organizations as a site reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts. 
Sally is past president of the Indiana Coalition for the Arts, a nonprofit arts advocacy and lobbying organization. She taught cultural policy at the graduate level for the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and for Indiana University. She is a founding board member of Bloomington’s Cardinal Stage Company, and sings with Voces Novae, a chamber choir. Sally received a B.A. in history from Colorado College and an M.A. in arts management from American University, where Valerie Morris was her advisor. 

Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez, Associate Professor & Principal Investigator, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto – coming soon!

Russell Granet

Russell Granet is the Executive Director of the Lincoln Center Education (LCE).  Founded in 1975 as Lincoln Center Institute, LCE serves as the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  Education and community outreach have been key parts of Lincoln Center’s mission for over 50 years, and through LCE’s programs and initiatives such as Meet the Artist, it has enriched the lives of tens of thousands of children each year. Mr. Granet has been an enthusiastic, respected advocate for arts education for more than 20 years as a teaching artist, educator, hands-on administrator and international consultant.  He is a recognized leader in the field with a wide and diverse network of colleagues and organizations with whom he has partnered. He joined Lincoln Center after running his own international consulting practice, Arts Education Resource, for the past five years. His clients included leading cultural institutions, school districts and public and independent schools such as Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dana Foundation, Guggenheim Museum, MS57 in Brooklyn, Bronx Charter School for the Arts, VSA Arts and Park Avenue Armory. His wide-ranging projects involved board development, strategic planning, program design, program-funding, program implementation and developing arts education programs for students with disabilities. Prior to consulting, he served at the Center for Arts Education as Director of Professional Development for nine years. Mr. Granet held significant roles in various arts education and theater organizations before joining The American Place Theatre in 1995 as Director of Education, implementing the Theatre’s new NEA grant to integrate art in New York City school curriculums. He was a teaching artist at various organizations after studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and graduating from Emerson College. He also earned an MA in educational theatre at NYU.  

Greidus Head ShotStan Greidus, Associate Director and Director of Visual Arts Division, Arts Bridge, LLC (Former Director of Enrollment Management, NYU Steinhardt), is an Education Consultant with 37 years experience in higher education having worked at the University of New Mexico, New York University (graduate and undergraduate), and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). His resume includes working with prospective students and their families seeking to further their education in programs as diverse as liberal arts, education, health, nursing, foods and nutrition, studio art and arts professions, with a special emphasis and skill set in the visual and performing arts. He also has an extensive background in higher education marketing, research, and branding.

At the University of New Mexico, Stan worked with an extraordinarily diverse student population that included Hispanic/Latino/Chicano students are well as students from numerous Native American populations, including the Navajo and Pueblo tribes.

As Director of Enrollment Management at the Steinhardt School of New York University, he headed up the marketing, enrollment, and admissions and financial aid team for one of NYU’s largest schools.  During his 17-year tenure at Steinhardt, Stan worked extensively with students seeking programs in the visual and performing arts as well as affiliated art programs, such as art education, visual and performing arts administration, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, music business, music technology, and music performance and composition.

Stan served as the inaugural Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) from January 2006 until December 2011.  Stan currently serves as Associate Director and Director of the Visual Arts Division of ArtsBridge, LLC and Education Marketing Planner for the Karma Group. 

Ara GuzelimianAra Guzelimian is Provost and Dean of The Juilliard School having been appointed to the post in August 2006. At Juilliard, he works closely with the President in overseeing the faculty, curriculum and artistic planning of the distinguished performing arts conservatory in all three of its divisions – dance, drama and music. Prior to the Juilliard appointment, he was Senior Director and Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall from 1998 to 2006; in that post, he oversaw the artistic planning and programming for the opening of Zankel Hall in 2003. He was also host and producer of the acclaimed “Making Music” composer series at Carnegie Hall from 1999 to 2008.  In addition, he has given lectures at the invitation of the Library of Congress, Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Easter Festival, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Chicago Symphony, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Taipei and the Jerusalem Music Center, where he was on the faculty of the 2000 International Chamber Music Encounter, led by Isaac Stern. He has also been heard both on the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts and, as a guest host, on public radio’s Saint Paul Sunday.  Previously, Ara Guzelimian was the Artistic Administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado from 1993 to 1998. In addition, he was Artistic Director of the Ojai Festival in California from 1992 to 1997. He was associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1978 to 1993 — first as producer for the Orchestra’s national radio broadcasts and, subsequently, as Artistic Administrator — where he founded and edited the orchestra’s monthly publication for subscribers and helped to create its highly popular series of pre-concert lectures. As a writer and music critic, he has contributed to such publications as Musical America, Opera Quarterly, Opera News, Symphony magazine, The New York Times, the Record Geijutsu magazine (Tokyo), the program books of the Salzburg and the Helsinki Festivals, and the journal for the IRCAM center in Paris. Guzelimian is editor of Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (Pantheon Books, 2002), a collection of dialogues between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. His performing edition of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed by Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in November 2009. Mr. Haitink will also lead the work with the London Symphony and the Boston Symphony in 2011-2012. In September 2003, Mr. Guzelimian was awarded the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his contributions to French music and culture.

Jessica Handrik, Director, Educational Partnerships, Lincoln Center Institute – coming soon!

christina harrisChristina Harris, Associate Director of Admissions, NYU Tisch School of the Arts – bio coming soon!






Margaret HarriganMargaret Harrigan, Integrated Arts Coordinator – Teacher for the City of Waterbury, CT for 26 years, for the past 9 years has been the Integrated Arts Coordinator of Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School in Waterbury, CT. An advocate for the arts her role supports Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade classroom teachers with arts integrated opportunities.  She has   a B.S. Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Masters of Science Degree in Educational Leadership and State of Connecticut Intermediate Administration and Supervision Certification.



Donn Harris 2-12-13Donn K. Harris was appointed the executive director of the Oakland School for the Arts by former California governor Jerry Brown in November 2007. Prior to that, Harris had been the principal of the renowned San Francisco School of the Arts for seven years. He holds an MA in theater arts from California State University at Los Angeles, and teaching credentials in English, drama and special education with an emphasis on students with emotional disturbance. Harris has taught in diverse environments ranging from high performing schools to incarcerated youth in juvenile hall. He has also been part of many innovative educational initiatives, including outdoor education programs for at-risk youth and the development of a high school teaching academy. Harris first became a school administrator in 1994 when he was appointed dean of students at Galileo High School in San Francisco. He received his administrative credentials from San Francisco State University and through advanced training with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). He has been a guest lecturer in the administrative training programs at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Harris also serves as the advisory board chair for the East Bay International Youth Film Festival. In 2006, he became the founding principal of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in San Francisco, an alternative arts-focused school that brings high-level arts programs to inner city youth. An Air Force veteran, passionate traveler and firm believer in the power of the arts to inspire creativity and innovation in all areas of life, Harris comes to the Arts School Network board with great enthusiasm for making an impact on the national dialogue around educational reform.

Harrison picture (2)Wendy Harrison is originally from England, where she completed her B.ED degree in Primary Education with a minor in the Arts.  She moved to Florida fifteen years ago and has worked for Hillsborough County School since that time.  She has taught in both, non-Title I and Title I schools.  She has M.S. degree in Educational leadership.  She has taught all elementary grade levels and worked in a high school for five years.  She is currently the proud principal at Muller Elementary Magnet School of the arts and science.  Her passion is making a difference in the lives of her students and integrating the arts.


Sonya Robbins Hoffmann is VSA & Accessibility Manager, The Office of VSA & Accessibility, Education Division, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  In this capacity, she manages all arts programs for emerging artists with disabilities.  A theater director and dramaturg as well as a long-time arts education program manager in both theaters and schools, she has worked extensively connecting public and charter school students and teachers with free and low-cost arts programming both in Washington, D.C. and in Cleveland, Ohio. Notable theater accomplishments include a production (co-conceived with the playwright) of Obie-winner Rinde Eckert’s musical Highway Ulysses, the Midwest premieres of works by Suzan-Lori Parks and Margaret Edson, as well as acclaimed productions of numerous works by emerging and established playwrights.  She served as Education Director at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland where, for many years, she produced and directed the oldest playwriting festival in the nation, serving students of all ages and abilities.  A passionate advocate for the arts in non-traditional settings with and for populations disadvantaged in terms of access, favorite projects include work with N Street Village (a community of empowerment for low-income or homeless women in Washington, D.C.), and an original production jointly commissioned by Playhouse Square Foundation and The Aids Taskforce of Cleveland.

Katie JohnsonKatie Johnson, Social Media Manager, Acceptd: Katie manages all of the social media and blog content for Acceptd as well as drives applicant-marketing campaigns. She has a background in copywriting and vocal performance, and strives to keep developing Acceptd into a leading voice in arts admissions. Katie likes traveling and baking, and can usually be found jogging with her 9-pound dog or spending time with her friends and family.



Lily Hung, Assistant Director of Career Development, NYU Tisch School of the Arts: Lily connects Tisch artists to the tools they need to effectively pursue their professional goals.  Through individual career counseling appointments and group workshops, she advises students on job search strategies, resumes and cover letters, interviewing and networking skills, internships, and mentors.  Lily previously spent over a decade in commercial and nonprofit theatre, where she worked with emerging theatre artists as a line producer and programming director.  She holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and regularly acts as a consultant for new musicals. Outside of the office, Lily enjoys karaoke and puzzles, and exploring new foods.

Jan Jorgensen, Art Director, Idaho Arts Charter School – coming soon!

adam joyceAdam Joyce is the Director of the National High School Institute (Cherubs), a summer program on the campus of Northwestern University that has been serving high school students from around the globe since 1931. He was previously the Director of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, an interdisciplinary arts summer program on the campus of Missouri State University.  Adam is an actor/director/writer, and educator who has worked professionally in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. As a Chicago actor he has appeared on stage at Steppenwolf, Strawdog, Shattered Globe, and Factory Theatre among other companies. His television work includes roles on Early Edition (CBS), and T.U.R.K.S (CBS), as well as various film and commercial roles (member Screen Actors Guild). Adam holds a B.S. in Acting from Illinois State University, and an MFA in Film from Columbia University in New York

Alexis KarolAlexis Karol currently heads the Drama Department at Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, CA, a California Distinguished School.  She is on staff at The Academy for the Performing Arts in Huntington Beach, CA, and has also been on faculty at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana, CA.  Holding a B.A. in Theatre with Departmental Honors from Fordham University’s College at Lincoln Center, Alexis is currently pursuing her Masters in Education with a specialization in Best Practices through National University in Costa Mesa, CA, where she recently accepted the Distinguished Student Award.  A member of Actors Equity, Alexis has appeared on stage in New York, Southern California, and throughout the U.S. on National Tour, and is currently on staff at the Rose Center Theater in Westminster, CA

KesslerRichard Kessler, who was labeled a “firebrand” by The New York Times, is the dean of and professor of music at Mannes College The New School of Music, where he oversees all aspects of the 100-year-old music conservatory at The New School, including leading the radical rethinking of what it means to train musical citizens in the 21st century.  Prior to joining Mannes, Kessler’s career ran the gamut from chief executive of The Center for Arts Education and The American Music Center, arts and arts education consultant, Naumburg-award-winning professional musician, to teaching artist, and stagehand. A thought leader in K-12 arts and education policy, Kessler holds two degrees from The Juilliard School and was faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music.  Kessler is the board treasurer of Common Core, the DC-based organization dedicated to a liberal arts education for all K-12 children nationwide, co-chair of the New York City Arts Coalition, a trustee of the American Composers Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and a member of the steering committee for the Grantmakers in the Arts’ Arts Education Funders Coalition. Recipient of numerous awards, Kessler received an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award in 1999 for creating NewMusicBox.org. In 2005, Richard Kessler was awarded the American Music Center’s Letter of Distinction for his “significant contribution to the field of American music.” In 2010, both the Music Educators Association of New York and The New York City Art Teachers Association/United Federation of Teachers honored Kessler for his leadership in the field of arts education. 

William KohutWilliam Kohut was appointed the principal of the Denver School of the Arts in May of 2009. Denver School of the Arts is a 6-12 grade school that has been recognized as one of the top high schools in America by US News and World Report. Prior to that, Kohut had been the principal of South High School, a National AVID Demonstration School for 8 years. He holds a bachelor of music education degree from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, and a MA in school administration from the University of Phoenix. Kohut has taught in, and served as an administrator in environments ranging from a rural school to a magnet school for English language learners. Kohut’s first position as a school administrator was as director of student activities at South High School in the Denver Public Schools. In addition to his service in the public schools, he was an adjunct instructor of music education at Metropolitan State College of Denver for eight years. His musical background includes serving as the music director of the Denver Community Concert Band and assistant conductor of the Colorado Youth Pops Orchestra. (He conducted this orchestra as the opening act for the Boston Pops Orchestra, led by Keith Lockhart in a 1996 National Holiday Tour.) His arts leadership experience includes serving on the Colorado Department of Education Fine Arts Advisory Council and the task force that authored the first version of the Colorado Model Content Standards for Music. He is an active member of the board of directors for the Colorado Music Educators Association. Kohut has given numerous presentations on music education at state and national conferences. Since 2005, Kohut has served on the Colorado High School Activities Association State Music Committee and served in the role of chair from 2002-04. In addition to his arts experience, Kohut has strong leadership experience as an administrator having actively worked as a partner with the College Board to implement a strong college readiness system at South High School and bringing South High to national recognition as a National AVID Demonstration school.

ralph johnsonRalph Johnson, Ph.D.  A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ralph has been a member of the legendary group Earth Wind and Fire since 1972.  He is an accomplished drummer/percussionist, vocalist, songwriter and producer. Being drawn toward the educational aspects of his profession, Ralph believes in the power of “mentorship” and of giving back, teaching, and inspiring students to follow their dreams through education. When not touring the world with Earth Wind and Fire, Ralph spends some of his time doing what he loves-teaching. He commutes from his home in Los Angeles to teach “Master Classes” in percussion and drumming at Washington DC’s Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts several times a year.

Scott Jones -- Headshot (1)Scott D. Jones joins AEP after four years with the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) where he served as the project coordinator, managing the development of one of the largest data sets on arts education outcomes. In addition to his work with SNAAP, Scott served as an Adjunct Instructor in the Arts Management Program, housed in the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) where he taught arts education policy and served as the chair of the Bloomington Community Arts Commission.  Before joining SNAAP, Scott worked as an arts administrator and educator with various arts organizations including Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, Indiana. He holds an MA in Arts Administration from Indiana University, a BA in music education and vocal performance from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and studied public affairs at Indiana University.

Holly KurthHolly Kurth is the Elementary Art Director at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts. In addition to her elementary art duties she also teaches various middle school art classes at the school, including the implementation of a new animation program at the school for the 2013-14 school year. Holly has been one of the driving forces of implementing the Arts Integration program at NFMAA and has used her experience in the Graphic Design field to bring “real world” applied learning to her students.




DSC_2756Diana Lam, Head of School, is a visionary with sophisticated first hand knowledge of education policy and change. She has a strong national reputation for possessing an unrelenting focus on teaching and learning to raise student academic and artistic achievement.

She is currently the Head of School at Conservatory Lab Charter School (CLCS) in Boston, MA. Conservatory Lab is the only music-infused public elementary school in the state and provides all students free vocal and instrumental instruction.   Ms. Lam has initiated a partnership with El Sistema, the successful music education and youth development model from Venezuela, making Conservatory Lab the first U.S. public school to serve as a site for El Sistema within the school day. 

Most recently she worked as Vice-President for Global Education and Community Outreach for Christel House International and co-edited the book Educational Improvement:  What Makes It Happen and Why, (Editors: John Bransford, Louis Gomez, Diana Lam, Deborah Stipek, Nancy Vye, Harvard Education Press, 2009). 

Ms. Lam was the Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the New York City Department of Education, where she was responsible for joint implementation of Children First reforms: a multi-year effort aimed at dramatically improving New York City Public Schools.  Ms. Lam is committed to working with others to create a system of schools where effective teaching and learning is a reality for every child.  She ensured Arts were made an equal priority area with Literacy and Mathematics based on her belief that each is critical to a complete education.

She served as Superintendent for Providence Public Schools. In Providence, Ms. Lam overhauled the administration, implemented a citywide literacy initiative, initiated the redesign of high schools with an emphasis on youth development and worked closely with the community.  

Prior to her tenure in Providence, Ms. Lam was the first female superintendent in San Antonio, Texas where she won national acclaim for her accomplishments, including a dramatic increase in student achievement. In 1994 when Ms. Lam first came to San Antonio, it was the worst performing school district in Texas, with 42 schools rated as “low-performing” by the state. By 1999, none received that rating, and student scores increased dramatically in all subject areas.

Ms. Lam has also served as superintendent in Dubuque, Iowa and Chelsea, Massachusetts, where she worked to eliminate tracking by race and gender, thus ensuring all students equal access to a good education.  She was named Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year.  Ms. Lam understands what it means to live up to the credo of “success for all children.” In the communities where she has served as an educator, she has envisioned the changes required and put in place the structures that allow educators and families to work together to reach new levels of achievement.

Kathi Levin

Kathi R. Levin is a long-term national leader in arts education, an author, and a consultant in nonprofit governance, arts education, strategic planning, partnership development, and grant making. She is the Program/Development Officer for the National Art Education Foundation and a senior consultant with the National Art Education Association where she leads ongoing initiatives in the areas of governance, special projects, and legislative affairs, including representing NAEA on the Arts Education Legislative Working Group. Her clients include the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. While serving as the director of governance with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), she created a multi-faceted arts education partnership between AASA and Americans for the Arts. Ms. Levin was director of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network (KCAAEN) from 1993 to 2004. She conceived of and authored the KCAAEN’s Community Audit for Arts Education, a research-based survey that communities and school districts can use to evaluate their arts education programs, and co-authored the KCAAEN Self Assessment Kit and the Kennedy Center Arts Education Leadership Kit. Ms. Levin authored the Americans for the Arts monograph entitled, Leadership Matters: The Role of Superintendents in Championing the Arts in Public Schools. Ms. Levin is a peer reviewer for the Teaching Artist Journal, a grant reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education, a board member of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, and a member of American University’s Arts Management Advisory Council. She has served on the Steering Committee of the Arts Education Partnership and the Arts Education Council of Americans for the Arts. Her prior experience includes senior management positions with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Grand Opera House (DE), and the Arvada Center for the Arts.

Jonathan LindsayJonathan Lindsay is currently serving as Vice President for Enrollment Management at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA. He is a seasoned professional with experience in many aspects of higher education in general and art and design schools in particular. He has worked previously at the Columbus College of Design and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Having worked in this field for over 30 years and having sent his four children off to college, he believes passionately in the concept of institutional fit – there is a perfect college /university for every student and a perfect student for every college/university. 


Sarah LovelySarah Lovely, Director of College Counseling, Walnut Hill School for the Arts
Sarah Lovely began her career in 2002 as an intern in the Drama Division at the Juilliard School, where she discovered her passion for working with arts students. After a stint as the assistant to the editor-in-chief at the performing arts magazine Backstage, Sarah worked as an advisor and admissions adjudicator in the Department of Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for four years. During her time in NYC, Sarah also stage-managed a popular off-Broadway musical theater improvisation show called The Nuclear Family. She relocated to  the Boston area in 2008, where she worked as the manager of University Merit Scholars at Brandeis University for two years before finding her way back to her true love, the arts, at Walnut Hill.  

Sarah is thrilled to be the Director of College Counseling (and a Dorm Head) at Walnut Hill, where she enjoys helping students find the right fit for their educational path, and encourages all students to take risks and dream big! She holds an A.B. in English from Bowdoin College and an M.A. in educational theater from NYU. When not working, she loves spending time with her friends, trying new and different kinds of food, attending all kinds of arts performances, and visiting her family in Maine and on Cape Cod. Sarah is also an avid runner, biker, and swimmer, and has spent a good amount of time in Lake Placid on a luge.

Diane Makas 2-12-13Diane Makas has earned a reputation as one of the finest arts administrators in the country. She was the recipient of the OCMAA 2012 Art Administrator of the year and Allied Arts’ Board’s Distinguished Arts Administrator of the Year award 2000. Makas is now in her eighteenth year at the helm of the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts, she built a struggling arts school of just eighty students into a magnet academy of more than six hundred students that includes majors in  Acting, Musical Theatre, Music Media Entertainment Arts, Dance, Technical Theatre, Costume Design, Playwriting and Directing and Orchestra. The quality of APA’s program can be found in the hundreds of APA alumni studying and working professionally around the globe and in the annual awards earned in all departments including Arts School Network Exemplary School and Outstanding Contributions in Education, Orange County Department of Education. Makas holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, a Bachelor of Science in Biology/Chemistry and a Master in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University, where she was recently honored by her alma mater with a recognition of excellence in Dance Education and Choreography. Diane is also listed in “Who’s Who in Education.”

Courtney Malenius, Associate Director for Graduate Admission, New School – coming soon!

Valerie Mantle, Elementary/Middle School Art Teacher, Idaho Arts Charter School – coming soon!

Liza Mazzola, Assistant Director, School and Teacher Programs, The Museum of Modern Art – coming soon!

Heather McCowanHeather McCowan, Ph.D. is Post Secondary Counselor at the Chicago HS for the Arts (ChiArts). Prior to this position, Dr. McCowen was the Asst Dean for Enrollment and Student Services for the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and served as Assoc. Dean for Admissions at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. Dr. McCowen holds a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance (with a concentration in Music Business) from Northwestern University, the Master of Music in Bassoon Performance from Southern Methodist University and the Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education (with a minor in Marketing) from the University of North Texas’s College of Education. An Alum of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, she has performed with the Dallas, Fort Worth, Shreveport, Indian Hill Symphonies (among others) including a recent solo performance with the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, where she is currently the principal bassoonist. Dr. McCowen lives in the South Loop of Chicago with her husband Paul and son Theo. Her stepson Alex is currently a junior at Suffolk University in Boston, MA.

McKenzie Midock is the VSA Programs Coordinator at The Office of VSA& Accessibility, Education Division, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In this position she oversees performing arts programming—including the VSA International Young Soloists program and the VSA Playwright Discovery Program—along with the Experiential Education Internship Initiative, an onsite internship program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. Previously, she worked for Imagination Stage, a children’s theater and arts education non-profit in Bethesda, MD, as the Group Sales and Marketing Manager. Outside of work, she volunteers as the manager for the Dupont Circle Symphony, a growing community orchestra in the heart of Washington, D.C. McKenzie holds a BA in Music from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA.

Mary Monroe, Third Grade Teacher, Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School – coming soon!

CarolMorgan_Headshot_300dpiCarol Morgan has been the Deputy Director for Education at ArtsConnection in New York City since 1998 where she oversees the development and administration of all programs, including five multi-year research projects funded by the US Department of Education since 2001.  These inquiries into the nature of teaching and learning in dance and theater and its influence on second language acquisition in ELLs reflect her life-long interest in multi-disciplinary learning and communication across disciplines. Ms. Morgan has also served as the Assistant and Acting Director of the Department of Education at The Museum of Modern Art; the Executive Director of the Cummington Community of the Arts, an artist colony; and as a consultant in curriculum development and professional development for schools and arts organizations across the United States and abroad.  She began her career as a classroom teacher.  

Martin photo 080smallerMartin Mueller is the Executive Director of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, and has been its guiding force for 25 years, positioning the school as a recognized innovative world leader in jazz education. Prior to joining The New School in 1987, Mueller was Chairman of the Music Department at Long Island University, Brooklyn.  Mr. Mueller has been active in Jazz Education for 30 years, as administrator and consultant, through concerts, seminars, and education programs in the USA and in more than 20 countries.  He was a founding member in 1989 of the International Association of Schools of Jazz and the host for the 5th Annual IASJ Jazz Meeting in NYC in 1994, with performances at the United Nations sponsored through UNESCO.  In 2009 Mueller conceived and launched a New School academic partnership with the Conservatory of Tel Aviv, Israel. A former jazz pianist, Mueller holds a BA in Music from LIU/Brooklyn, and a MA in Music from LIU/CW Post.  Mueller was the NYC Project Leader for “Changing the Beat: A Study of the Worklife of Jazz Musicians,” a groundbreaking needs assessment survey initiated by the NEA.  He currently serves on the board of the IASJ, and on advisory boards for the Montclair School of Music and Dance, International Women in Jazz, and the Community Advisory Board of Newark Public Radio (WBGO). Mueller received the 2002 Downbeat Magazine Achievement Award for Jazz Education and the 2005 “A Team” award from the Jazz Journalists Association. 

Linda Nathan, Ed.D., Executive Director, Founding Headmaster of Boston Arts Academy – coming soon!

Tim Nelson, Chair, Musical Theatre, Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts, is in his 16th year as a teacher, director and music director at California’s Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts.  A leading figure in Orange County Theatre, Nelson has lead the Academy’s internationally recognized Musical Theatre Department since 1997. Several of his students have been nominated for the National High School Musical Theater Award and his theatrical productions have won numerous awards.  Nelson’s dedication to the stage is matched by his dedication to the classroom, teaching a variety of musical theatre and performance based classes.

Rachael Nicholls, Ph.D. Student & Research Assistant, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto – coming soon!

Dr  Ralph Opacic 2-14-13

Ralph S. Opacic, Ed.D., founder of the award winning Orange County School of the Arts in 1987, currently serves as president and executive director. He is credited with assembling the finest artist-teachers and academic instructors in Southern California and creating an opportunity for young performing and visual artists to develop their talents to their greatest potential. Under Opacic’s leadership, the Orange County High School of the Arts has received top honors and recognition for excellence in both arts and academic education. Most recently, the school has been named a 2009 California Distinguished School and a 2009 US News and World Report Best High Schools in America Silver Medal recipient. The school has also been recognized as a 2006 No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education, and received the 2004-2005 Creative Ticket National School of Distinction Award from the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education and the Arts Schools Network’s 2006 Exemplary School Award. In 2007, Opacic was honored with the prestigious Artistic Visionary Cultural Legacy Award from Arts Orange County for his continued efforts in support of arts education. Students enrolled in the school’s tuition free, donation dependent arts conservatory programs have had the opportunity to study with an inspiring caliber of guest artists and master teachers, including Francis Ford Coppola, Bebe Neuwirth, Steven Mercurio, Matt Morrison, and more. The school is renowned for its creative, challenging and nurturing environment, and currently serves more than 1,550 students in grades 7-12 from more than 100 cities throughout Southern California.

Michael OwenMichael Owen
Teaches: Ballet Technique, Men’s Virtuosity Technique, Pas de Deux
Mr. Owen received his training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet with Marcia Dale Weary, The School of American Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. He studied with many notable teachers including Stanley Williams, Andre Eglevsky, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and David Howard. Mr. Owen danced with American Ballet Theatre from 1973 to 1998. He has been featured in numerous movies, PBS specials, and Live from Lincoln Center productions.

Prior to coming to Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Mr. Owen taught at New York University, SUNY Purchase, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Alabama Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensives. Mr. Owen teaches master class across the United States, Canada, Japan, and China, and has recently begun adjudicating ballet competitions.

Jim PalmiriniJim Palmarini is the Educational Theatre Association’s Director of Educational Policy and  Editor of Teaching Theatre journal. He’s been writing about professional theatre and theatre education issues for more than twenty years.   




Mary Palmer 2-14-13Dr. Mary Palmer is President of Mary Palmer & Associates, LLC, Consultants in Education and the Arts. She has extensive experience in education and the arts and holds Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees from the University of Illinois. She has taught music and the other arts in a variety of school and community settings to people of all ages from birth through senior citizens. After her successful career as Professor of Music Education, Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music Education and Dean of the UCF College of Education, Palmer was distinguished as Professor Emerita at the University of Central Florida – Orlando.  She has served as President of professional organizations including MENC: National Association for Music Education Southern Division; VSA Arts of Florida; Florida Music Educators Association; and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. In addition, she serves on various community boards of directors including Florida Theatrical Association, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, A Gift for Teaching, and A Gift for Music.

Mary’s specialty is arts education for children and youth in both school and community settings. She has developed numerous arts education programs. She is the Founder and first Director of Florida’s Arts for a Complete Education/Florida Alliance for Arts Education; this program has been instrumental in developing programs and policies affecting arts education in Florida.  Since 1985, she has authored numerous elementary music series textbooks published by Silver Burdett Ginn/Scott Foresman Publishers; these books are used by teachers and students worldwide. She has established award-winning collaborative programs with Walt Disney World, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Junior Achievement, and others. Her innovative work with teachers, school administrators, community agencies, and university faculty has led her across the country and around the world. She has taught in colleges, universities, and PK – 12 schools throughout the United States as well as in England, Italy, Germany, Panama, South Africa, Japan, and Peru. Her extensive travels and teaching experiences are evident in her global perspective.

For her work in Arts Education she has received numerous awards, including a special commendation from three of Florida’s Governors; the Florida Legislature; the prestigious Arts Recognition Award from the Florida Department of State for her leadership in Arts Education; ACE of Hearts; Pi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year; Florida Music Educators Hall of Fame; and the UCF Quill Award. She was named a Fulbright Scholar to research in South America.  Her client schools have received prestigious awards including the Kennedy Center Arts Education School of Distinction, Florida Department of Education Music Demonstration School, Florida Alliance for Arts Education Arts Achieve! Model Schools, and Magnet Schools of America Schools of Distinction.

The consulting work of Mary Palmer & Associates transforms schools, arts organizations, and community agencies through the ARTS.


Marly Parker Marly Parker has been a teacher for the City of Waterbury,CT for 18 years. The last 3 years she has been the Drama/Literacy Specialist at Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in both Elementary and Special Education as well as a Master’s in Reading. She posts about her drama integration lessons on her blog Capture the Drama found at www.capturethedrama.edublogs.org<http://www.capturethedrama.edublogs.org>.




Pippen Parker, Director of the New School for Drama – coming soon!

Rory Pullens 3-3-13Rory Pullens is the head of school/chief executive officer at the nationally renowned Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Previously Pullens spent over a decade as an arts administrator, including serving as the arts principal and director of academic affairs at the Denver School of the Arts, assistant principal of the Los Angeles Arts Academy, and arts director of the Smith Renaissance School of the Arts in Denver, a school he designed as the first elementary arts school in Denver Public Schools. His entertainment credits span nearly two decades, including writer/producer of the award winning stage production The Choice is Yours starring Mabel King, and a series of original work stage productions he penned: Deadline, Taken!, Common Dust that toured primarily in west coast theatrical venues. Pullens has served in production and script editing for various Hollywood ventures, working with Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle, The Five Heartbeats), casting director Jaki Brown, Lou Diamond Phillips, James Edwards Olmos, (Stand and Deliver), Ron Glass, Desmond Wilson on HBO’s The New Odd Couple and NBC’s A Different World. He was the chief operating officer/executive producer of USGL Corporation, a national sports/entertainment corporation, whose work was featured in VIBE and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Melanie Reed, Director of College Counseling, SeattleAcademy of Arts and Sciences – coming soon!

Alyson RobbenAlyson Robben is in her 6th year as the Drama Director at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts K-8 in North Fort Myers, Florida. A passionate advocate for Arts Education, she has helped to develop the Arts Integration program at NFMAA which has become a model for the School District of Lee County. Along with teaching Alyson has worked professionally in regional theaters and trained in London. She holds a Bachelors of the Arts degree in Theatre from Florida State University.




Nancy Rebino

Dr. Nancy Rubino is senior director of the College Board Office of Academic Initiatives in New York City. In this role, she provides strategic direction and management of the College Board’s Academic Advisory Committees. Dr. Rubino oversaw the creation and development of the College Board’s National Task Force on the Arts in Education and is currently leading the College Board’s Arts at the Core initiatives.  Prior to her work at the College Board, she was an assistant professor at the University of Washington where she taught French literature and culture and adjunct professor of French at Columbia University.  She received her Ph.D. in French literature from Columbia University in 1997 and an MA in French studies from NYU-in-Paris, France in 1985.  Dr. Rubino has published on the convergence of the artistic and clinical discourses in the representation of hysteria in 19th-century French literature.


Rudes headshot 1Scott Rudes, Ph.D., is the principal of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX.  Prior to his appointment at BTWHSPVA, Dr. Rudes served as the principal at Orange Grove Middle Magnet School of the Arts in Tampa, Florida.  During his tenure, Orange Grove was recognized by the state of Florida as an Arts Achieve! Model School, and received the Exemplary Schools designation from the Arts Schools Network.  Dr. Rudes was also recognized by the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) as the Arts Administrator of the Year for 2012, and received the Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award from the Arts Schools Network as well.  In 2013, he was recognized by the Broadway Educator League with the League Educator Apple Award, which acknowledged his work in bringing together arts organizations in the Tampa area to improve arts education experiences in the K-12 spectrum. Dr. Rudes also served as the assistant principal for magnet curriculum at Howard W. Blake High School of the Arts, where he was responsible for the entire fine arts magnet program. Under his leadership, the program expanded from 650 students to over 850 students, and the curricular program was redesigned to include expanded offerings in theatre and media production. Prior to becoming an administrator, Rudes served as the director of orchestral studies at Bloomingdale High School. During that time, the orchestra program expanded to almost 150 students in 4 separate orchestras. Under his direction, the orchestra program received Superior ratings at both the District and State Music Performance Assessments on numerous occasions. Rudes has served as the President of the Florida Orchestra Association (FOA) as well as President of the Florida Network of Arts Administrators (FNAA).

Adam Saifer, Ph.D. Student, Queens University – coming soon!

Dr. SantiniDouglas Santini, Ed.D., is the Principal of North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts in North Fort Myers Florida.  He has been in education for 50 years and has taught or was a Principal in Lee County, Florida for his entire career.  For the past 10 years he has been the proud Principal of North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts and has taken the school from an F to an A school.   He has successfully taken this Title One School to one of the most sought after schools to attend in Lee County.   Dr. Santini’s philosophy is to provide students with solid foundations in academics and the arts.  Through Arts Integration he has given our students the tools they need to be successful.  His passion is and has always been giving each and every child the opportunity to succeed.

Alex SAlex Sarian is the Director of Finance & New Business for Lincoln Center Education, where he oversees business development, consulting services, digital/social media, marketing, budgeting and operations for all arts education programming at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  Prior to Lincoln Center, Sarian was the Director of Education & Outreach at the award-winning MCC Theater in New York City, where he strategically led a record increase in arts education funding and programming during the organization’s $25MM capital campaign, affording the company its very own performing arts center in midtown Manhattan. As an international consultant, he founded Affinity Arts Group, with whom he’s worked with institutions of higher education, government agencies and cultural organizations on three continents. Sarian has lectured and led workshops on Arts Administration and Arts Education at Columbia University, New York University, Emerson College and others, and was a speaker on creativity at the International Baccalaureate’s inaugural TEDx conference in Toronto, Canada.  In addition to sitting on national funding panels, Sarian serves as one of fifteen national arts education advisers to Americans for the Arts in Washington, DC.  He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Educational Theatre and Performing Arts Administration from New York University, and has graduated from courses in finance and nonprofit management from UBS, Credit Suisse and the American Express Foundation.

chris schroederChris Schroeder Boston-based trumpeter, vocalist and educator, Chris Schroeder is a Resident Brass Artist at Conservatory Lab Charter School and a catalyst for social change, empowering young people through music.  He joined Conservatory Lab in 2010, at the inception of the El Sistema program, and continues to expand the winds program, creating and arranging music for various wind ensembles and works with classroom teachers and community organizations to develop music-infused curricula.  In 2012, Mr. Schroeder was a Teaching Ambassador at the “Take A Stand” El Sistema Symposium in Los Angeles, presenting on best teaching practices.  Later that year, he presented on music-infused curricula at Wheelock College in Boston.

In addition to his work at Conservatory Lab, Mr. Schroeder established the brass programs at the North End Music and Performing Arts Center and Keys for Kids, Lexington. 

A multi-faceted bass-baritone, he has performed with choirs and opera companies throughout Greater Boston.  In March 2014, he will be narrating Stravinsky’s, “L’histoire du Soldat” with Symphony NOVA.

Kate SchuttaKatharine (Kate) Schutta is an Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Co-Director of the Career + Co-op Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She advises students and alumni/ae on professional and job search strategies and coordinates the Career + Co-op activities and resources. Kate’s experience includes book cover and poster illustration, exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, and teaching at SAIC and the Royal College of Art. Grants and Fellowships: Chicago Artists Assistance Program; Canon Research Fellowship, Royal College of Art; Peoples’ Republic of Poland Art & Culture Grant. Education: MFA (1989), BFA (1985), School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BA History of Art (1983), Bryn Mawr College.

AUL BW HeadshotPaul Shapiro is the Arts Director at the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences. Previously he was the Head of Theatre at Santa Fe Prep School. He studied African Theater at the University of Ghana, holds a BA in Political Science from Kalamazoo College, attended Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Clown College and toured with Ringling Blue Unit, and holds a MFA in Acting from the University of Montana. Shapiro’s professional acting credits include the National Tour of Chekhov’s The Good Doctor. He has appeared in over 100 television commercials and 15 feature films. His awards include the Winifred Ward Award from the American Theater Association. Shapiro’s background also includes significant business experience. He worked in strategic planning for the World Bank Asian Division, was a senior consultant for the British Department of International Development; and did leadership development for IBM, Sprint, Best Buy and other corporations.

Halley Shefler 2-12-13Halley Shefler is the founder of ArtsBridge and previously served as Dean of Admissions for The Boston Conservatory, Director of Admissions for Boston University’s College of Fine Arts School of Music, and Director of Academic Affairs for the Longy School of Music. Halley attended a pre-college program at the Juilliard School before earning her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters degree at Boston University. She is an accomplished flutist who has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, the former Opera Company of Boston, and the Harvard Chamber Orchestra.




Cecilia SorianoCecilia Soriano is a veteran arts administrator who has dedicated the majority of her professional career to the two passions in her life – children and the arts.  “Art is the signature of civilization” is a central belief for her. To this end, she has been successful in raising funds and developing supporters for each of the arts programs and the arts organizations with which she has worked. Among these were CITYDANCE, during her tenure as Director of the Center for Dance Education at Boston Ballet; DANCE FOR ALL as Executive Director of American Academy for Dance and Kindred Arts in Santa Monica, CA; MUSIC L.A.!, while at the Department of Cultural Affairs in Los Angeles; the 60th Anniversary Season for Starlight Theatre in Balboa Park, San Diego,CA while she was Executive Director; and the 45th season for Colorado Ballet in her role as Vice-President Development, Marketing & Sales. In each of these endeavors, along with others, she has been responsible for the planning and execution of the Development, Marketing and Communications activities.

Now in her 4th year at Conservatory Lab Charter School, she has been responsible for promoting the El Sistema music program at the school and building collaborations with different professional orchestras in the city with whom  the student musicians can perform.  To date, Conservatory Lab students have performed at concerts with the Landmarks Orchestra, the Pro Arte Orchestra and on the Esplanade at the Hatch Shell this last summer.

mypicJennifer Stengle-Mohr was an ESL teacher and Staff Developer for the NYC Department of Education for over 12 years. She is now a full-time TESOL Lecturer and program coordinator at Queens College in the Linguistics and Communication Disorders Department where she is training future ESL teachers.  Ms. Stengel-Mohr began her journey into the Arts 8 years ago through a partnership with ArtsConnection, where she has become focused on an inquiry around language development opportunities for English Language Learners through the Arts.  



head shot tannerSusan “Susie” Franklin Tanner has worked for 30-plus years as a Producer, Actor, Director, Teaching Artist and Theatre Consultant. She was a member of the Living Stage Company at Arena Stage, Washington, D.C. for 6 years, performed with the Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego, The Mummers Theatre in Oklahoma City, The Utah Shakespearean Festival, in LA at The Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, The Mark Taper Forum, LAAT, The Coronet Theater, LATC, Theatre 40 and the Firebird Theatre Company, and worked with the Firesign Theatre as an actor, production coordinator and costumer.  She is the nationally recognized founder and Producing/Artistic Director of TheatreWorkers Project, and led the company in the development of 13 documentary plays that were performed for a wide variety of audiences, including “Lady Beth: the steelworkers’ play” that was performed during a sixteen city tour co-sponsored by Bruce Springsteen and profiled in a PBS documentary.  She was honored to be invited to meet with members of the Berliner Ensemble to share her work as the director and producer of a production of Brecht’s “A Man’s A Man”.  In partnership with Shakespeare Center/LA (SC/LA), she initiated and directs audition prep workshops for students wishing to apply to Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) where she is a member of the Theatre faculty.  She founded and currently directs Shakespeare Remixed (formerly Will Play), a summer theatre experience for youth. She is member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, where she serves on the Steering Committee of the SAG-AFTRA Radio Drama Program.  As an Associate member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, Tanner is developing projects for young audiences.  As a teaching artist, she works/has worked for LACHSA, Sequoyah School, the Mark Taper Forum Saturday Conservatory, College of the Canyons, UCLA Extension, Cal State LA EOP, LACC Theatre Academy, The American Academy of Dramatic Art, and LAUSD and PUSD public and charter schools, and has been a VAPA Theatre Standards trainer through the Armory Center for the Arts.  In addition to her work in theatre, she worked as a Story Analyst and Development Consultant for film and television for 7 years for companies including CBS, Interscope, Saban International and Lifetime TV. 

Tanner was trained as an improvisational theatre actor and workshop leader by Robert Alexander at Living Stage, studied at ACT, studied Theatre of the Oppressed techniques briefly with Augusto Boal and Brent Blair, and has done multiple trainings in Suzuki and Viewpoints with the Siti Company and Anthony Byrnes.

She is an 11-time recipient of California Arts Council Artist-in-Communities and Artist-in-Schools grants, a 2011 Music Center Bravo Award winner, was the recipient of a 2011 CTG Chase Theatre Educators Fellowship, and was a LA Cultural Affairs New Genre grantee. She is the recipient of the Poly Phi Kappa Award for Outstanding artistic and professional contributions to Labor struggles and the LA County Federation of Labor’s Labor Image and Union Label Awards for her work creating theatre with unemployed steelworkers, shipbuilders and Latino immigrant workers.  Susie has a B.A. in Theatre from UC Riverside, an M.A. in Psychology, and holds a Lifetime Community College Teaching Credential and a Career Tech Ed Credential in Arts, Media and Entertainment.

M. Scott Tatum, Graduate Student, College of Education, Member, Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin – coming soon!

Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons – coming soon!

JTsaiHeadshotJerry Tsai is Vice President of Acceptd, the world’s largest arts admissions and recruiting network. Jerry is passionate about problem solving, building relationships, and creating opportunities. Prior to Acceptd, Jerry served in the classroom and on staff with Teach For America after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati where he was the 2006-2007 Student Body President and 2005 Homecoming King. During his free time, he enjoys time with friends and family and spending the afternoon on the sand volleyball court.



Alan Watson, Administrative Coordinator, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, came to the Recorded Music at the Tisch School of the Arts in Spring 2013 after working in Online Marketing for non-profit arts organizations.  Previously, Alan worked in NYU in multiple capacities, most recently in NYU’s Psychology Department, working with academic administration of their Masters’ Programs.  At Recorded Music, Alan oversees registration, admissions and the high school pipeline programs at the Institute.  In his free time, Alan teaches hip-hop dance classes in the city and competes at any Locking competition he can find.  As a lover of funk music, Alan and is always looking for new songs to dance to.

Lily WeissLily Weiss, Dance Coordinator, Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts – bio coming soon!






verdine whiteVerdine White   Ph.D.   A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Verdine has been a member of the legendary group (founded by his brother Maurice) Earth Wind and Fire since its inception in 1971. His distinctive bass has been heard on virtually every Earth Wind and Fire record since then.  He is additionally an accomplished songwriter and producer. Noted for his playing style and unique wardrobe, Verdine is probably one of the most recognized bass players in the world. A true believer in the power of education, Verdine’s committment to the arts is evident in his various charity work, the Grammy in the Schools programs, and Washinton DC’s Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts.


Cory Wilkerson is a former theatre arts educator and teaching artist, who works as a free lance arts education consultant specializing in curriculum development and arts assessment. Ms. Wilkerson served as a trainer at the PA Governor’s Arts Institutes and co-chaired the Arts Framework Committee for Pennsylvania’s Standards Aligned Systems. Her current work has been with technology in arts education. Ms. Wilkerson serves with the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards as Communications and Technology Manager, working on the next generation of national arts standards interactive web based home.