ASN Board of Directors

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

President: Dr. Kyle Wedberg, New Orleans, LA

1st Vice President: Teren Shaffer, President and CEO, Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), Santa Ana, CA

2nd Vice President: Dr. LaShawn Frost, Principal, Booker Middle School, Sarasota, FL

Treasurer: Sandra Parks, Director of Arts, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT

Secretary: Jason Patera, Chicago Academy for the Arts, Head of School, Chicago, IL

Immediate Past President: Dr. Scott Rudes, Principal, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas, TX

 

DIRECTORS

Peter Castillo, Executive Principal, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, Denver, CO

Timothy Farson, Principal, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, San Diego, CA

Dr. Darla S. Hanley, Dean of Professional Education, Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA

Dr. D. Bradford Hill, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, AL

John Lawler, CEO, P.S. Arts, Los Angeles, CA

Meredith Leighty, Principal, Belmer School of Integrated Arts, Lakewood, Colorado

Dr. Anthony McWright, Executive Principal, Denver School of the Arts, Denver, CO

Phil Miller, Artistic Director, The School of Arts and Enterprise, Pomona, CA

Marly Parker, Arts Integration Specialist/Drama Teacher, Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School, Waterbury, CT

Vee Popat, Director, Fine Arts Center of Greenville County Schools, South Carolina

Melinda Zacher Ronayne, Director of Visual Arts, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, MI

Thomas Schultheis, Teaching Artist, Long Beach, CA

Dr. Ashley Stone, Recruitment Specialist, College of Fine Arts, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. W. Briant Williams III, Principal, Rainey-McCullers School of The Arts, Columbus, GA

Dr. Drew Williams, Principal, Utah Arts Academy, St. George, UT

Garry Williams, Dean of Arts Conservatories, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas, Texas

Kim Wilson, Director, Arts in Basic Curriculum Institute, Rock Hill, SC


 BIOS

Peter Castillo has been Principal of Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy (KCAA) in Denver, CO for ten years and has watched the school grow from a small K-8 school to a successful K-12 school, rated ‘Green’ by the Denver School District and Colorado state standards. Under Castillo’s leadership, KCAA has been awarded the "New and Emerging School" award and has earned an ‘Exemplary School’ designation from ASN. Previously, Castillo was Assistant Principal at the Denver School of the Arts for four years. He is looking forward to the evolution of arts-based education and continues to work with STEAM-based programs to show the career and technical side of the Creative Arts fields. Over the last twelve years, he has seen what arts-based education can do for students of all backgrounds.

 

Timothy Farson is the current Principal at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SDSCPA), a college preparatory, arts-focused Title I public magnet school for artistically passionate students in grades 6-12 located in Southeastern San Diego.  After studying Philosophy at New York University and Kent State University, Mr. Farson earned an M.A. in Philosophy and teaching credentials in English and Science from San Diego State University. He began his educational career as an English and Science teacher at SDSCPA in 2009. Mr. Farson inspires the SDSCPA community through the hope and promise of a transformational art and academic education.

With his belief that to engage the mind, we must engage the heart, Mr. Farson has empowered the SDSCPA community to elevate academic and art instruction through (1) the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS) comprehensive review process; (2) implementing an innovative arts integrated academic curriculum through the University of California Curriculum Integration (UCCI), where the arts are used as a means to access and lift academic instruction; and (3) calibrating sequential art and academic instruction through Marzano, Warrick, & Simms’ High Reliability Schools: The Next Steps in School Reform.

Mr. Farson has also been integral in shaping the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Strategic Arts Plan for San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), promising equitable access to a high level, arts college preparatory curriculum throughout all SDUSD.  Mr. Farson is excited for the opportunity to join innovative thought partners, leaders, and professionals in discourse through shared beliefs regarding the importance of the arts and education in our society. Mr. Farson is incredibly grateful to the many people who have contributed to his journey as a budding arts leader.

 

Dr. LaShawn Frost is an experienced and skilled educator.  A born leader, Dr.  Frost is an alumna of the “Art of Leadership” Institute at Harvard University, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a select group of educational leaders across the country.  Named Sarasota County’s 2019 Principal of the Year, her experience in this high-impact training for emerging leaders, helped to foster an appreciation for understanding the complexities of leading in 21st Century schools.  Dr. Frost is currently representing the Tampa Bay Region in the 2019/2020 Leadership Florida Co-hort.  This is a true expression of the great leaders chosen to impact the State of Florida.

LaShawn Frost is currently the proud Principal of Booker Middle School, a Visual Performing Arts School but spent previous years at Booker Middle School as an assistant principal and Venice High School, in charge of curriculum, master scheduling, Small Learning Communities, professional development and other critical aspects of the learning environment.  Named by Biz941 as one of Sarasota’s 2012 “Women to Follow”, Dr. Frost has been one to follow, as seen in the work that she has done to impact her schools and community.  Dr. Frost spends much of her time working with teachers across the country to assist them in the development of professional growth and development plans to enhance their ability to work with all students. She has served on various district committees and is certified by the Florida Department of Education in School Principal, Educational Leadership and Counseling. 

Dr. Frost is a voice for all students.  She excels in giving students who were less likely to achieve, the opportunity to participate in advance and high school courses.  As a result, she leads the district in accelerated points for the number of middle school students taking and passing the high school EOCs.  LaShawn continues to transform BMS, a Title I middle school, to one of High Expectations for All

 

Darla S. Hanley, Pd.D. is an experienced arts leader, educator, and administrator who has spent her career advancing the artistic and academic lives of students and preparing/empowering their teachers. She is Dean of the Professional Education Division at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, which includes five departments (Music Business/Management, Music Education, Music Therapy, Professional Music, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences), multiple institutes (Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education, Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, Berklee Popular Music Institute, and the Music + Health Institute), along with the Center for Music Therapy at Berklee the Center for Liberal Arts Tutoring, and the Assistive Technology Lab for Blind and Visually Impaired Artists. Hanley is proud of the many initiatives and offerings developed under her leadership at Berklee—including new programs, degrees, classes, institutes, centers, and partnerships.

 Hanley holds a PhD and MM in Music Education Research (Temple University) and a BM in Music Education and Vocal Performance (dual major) (University of Massachusetts-Lowell). She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda. Hanley is a published author. Her most recent book (co-authored with Allison Kipp) is “Jazz Is Elementary: Creativity Development through Music Activities, Movement Games, and Dances, for K-5” (Hal Leonard) designed to foster creativity while exposing new audiences to iconic jazz music. 

 

Brad Hill, Ph.D. is a passionate advocate for immersive arts specialty education, equity of opportunity in schools, and the promotion of critical consciousness at all levels of secondary education. He taught for twelve years at the secondary level and has been an administrator for eleven.  He is currently Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, a school which was one of the founding member institutions on the Arts School Network and whose notable alumni include Suzanne Collins, Laverne Cox, India Ramey, and Maria Taylor. 

Hill’s original research focuses on the phenomenon of students’ transformative experiences in immersive, secondary arts schools like some of the member institutions in the Arts Schools Network. His doctoral work in Educational Studies in Diverse Populations at the University of Alabama at Birmingham led him to successfully ground a theory and conceptual model of the process experienced by students in immersive, secondary arts schools. Hill’s work also examines education and diversity issues within large metropolitan areas, including urban, suburban, and exurban communities and has begun garnering reception and attention at national and international conferences for presentation and discussion, and his theoretical model’s replicability and transferability has drawn interest from Harvard’s Project Zero. His other research focuses on how social movement literature impacted the rise of a fine and performing arts secondary schools movement in America between the 1920s and 1980s.  In 2016, he was selected as a Summer Fellow in Independent School Leadership at Vanderbilt as well as a Peabody Lecturer on Arts, Language, and Culture.  In 2006 he earned National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Master Teacher Certification and was a recipient of the United States Presidential Scholars Program’s Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education through National YoungArts Foundation.

 

John Lawler is the CEO of P.S. Arts in Los Angeles. He is the immediate past Principal of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA).  He has had a lengthy career as an award-winning director and writer, with stage, opera, film, and television projects in New York, Los Angeles, London, Munich, and elsewhere.  He was the founder of the award-winning Annex Theatre in Seattle, has been a Guest Artist at Sundance, the Eugene O’Neill Center, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and has received two writing awards at the Austin Film Festival. 

Mr. Lawler is also the founder of ArTES Magnet, recipient of a California Gold Ribbon School award and designated as an Arts Schools Network Exemplary Arts School.  Working with the California Institute of the Arts and the Huntington Library, he co-founded the Arts Consortium, a non-profit organization tasked with facilitating deep partnerships between arts institutions and schools.  In 2016, Mr. Lawler was honored as the Administrator of the Year for Los Angeles Unified School District.  He became the Principal of LACHSA and Executive Board member of the LACHSA Foundation in 2018, with a mission to continue the school’s outstanding achievements while ensuring equitable access to students from all corners of Los Angeles County, especially students of color and those who come from under-resourced communities.

  

Meredith Leighty is the principal of Belmar School of Integrated Arts and has been for 8 years. She was instrumental in transforming this neighborhood elementary school into an arts integrated school four years ago, with a strongly held belief that the arts should be accessible to all children. BelArts is a public K-5 school that is part of the Kennedy Center's Partners in Education program.   

Meredith is on the Board of Directors of Think360 Arts for Learning (Colorado chapter of Young Audiences) where she advocates for the arts in the broader community. Meredith Leighty serves her community in a broader role as Mayor of Northglenn, Colorado, where she actively engages with the Northglenn Arts and Humanities Foundation, providing arts experiences to her community and using yet another platform to promote arts education for all.  

 

Mentor, performer, coach, teacher, administrator, and director are just a few of the titles that Dr. Anthony McWright has held along his journey to advocate for the arts. Growing up in the rural Mississippi Delta, Dr. McWright fell in love with music at an early age and attributes his parents and teachers for the love and support that launched his life-long educational career and impressive performing biography.

Dr. McWright earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Delta State University, his master’s degree in Music Education as well as a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. After serving as a teacher and administrator for more than 20 years, Dr. McWright decided to pursue his Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver Dr. McWright has been blessed to serve as a building-level administrator in both Mississippi and Colorado for over 20 years. Currently, Dr. McWright serves as the executive principal for the Denver School of the Arts in Denver Public Schools. When asked what Dr. McWright cherishes most in his position as Executive Principal, he credits the ability to collaborate with all stakeholders to improve opportunities for all students in the arts. This can be seen in his current endeavor to expand the DSA campus to provide more opportunities to historically underrepresented populations. 

 

Phil Miller is the first Artistic Director in the history of The School of Arts & Enterprise.He has previously served at The School of Arts and Enterprise (The SAE) as the first Executive Producer in the history of the school, the Director of Theatre (the position he was originally hired for) and the Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair. His commitment to dynamic cross circular arts education, expansive programming, professional marketing, and branding practices and arts accessibility is at the core of his artistic philosophies championed at The SAE.

Miller is an award-winning actor, director, and producer. Most notably he is the former Producing Artistic Director of the Covina Center for the Performing Arts completing the inaugural season and subsequent seasons after a 10-million-dollar theatre renovation. He was also the founder of the Young Performer’s Institute and the Founding Artistic Director of the Workman Arts & Entertainment Academy. Miller has been an arts educator and arts advocate for the past 19 years. His diverse work includes classroom instruction, marketing and sales, strategic and staff development, curriculum development, and work as a program consultant throughout Los Angeles County. He regularly teaches Master Classes in musical theatre performance, arts branding and personal marketing for the performer and producing.

His current work at The School of Arts & Enterprise includes overseeing the full restructuring of all school-wide artistic staffing, artistic departments, curriculum, marketing and programming. He is responsible for the awarding of The SAE with the designation by the California Department of Education as an Arts, Media and Entertainment Professional Development Site and along with his staff The SAE being honored as Exemplary Art School by the Arts School Network in the spring of 2019.

Miller is a frequent presenter at national arts conferences, speaking on a range of topics from arts accessibility to audience engagement and fundraising to the role and impact of new media in the arts and educational field today. With his extensive professional work and almost 20 years of experience in the educational setting, one of his strongest assets is his unique ability to align educational institutional strategies to that of the professional arts world. Miller is a member of the Stage Director’s and Choreographer’s Society and an alumnus of Lincoln Center’s Director’s Lab West. He holds a clear CTE Supervisory Credential in Arts, Media and Entertainment and is a Board Member of the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre. He resides in Glendora, CA with his rockstar wife Griffin, and is father to future movie star/cupcake decorator Molly and future police officer/professional golfer Hudson.

 

Marly Parker has been teaching at the elementary level for 26 years. The first 15 years she was an intermediate level classroom teacher. For the past 11 years, she has been a drama, literacy and arts integration specialist at her magnet school in Waterbury, CT. Marly is an arts in education enthusiast and believes strongly in the power of the arts. She guides her staff in creating arts integration lessons and gives professional development. Teaching drama as an art form to Pre-K to grade 5 students is her passion. As a result of the pandemic, she was called upon to serve in multiple capacities including long term sub positions within her school. After being out of the classroom for 11 years, Marly instantly welcomed helping out her colleagues and joining the classroom teacher community again as a kindergarten teacher for two long terms and a grade 2 teacher for two long terms. In Spring of 2022, Marly was named her district’s Teacher of the Year. Over the years that she has been a member, Marly has served on numerous Arts Schools Network committees. Her school was an ASN Exemplary School twice and has won the ASN Arts Integration award. She is excited and honored to serve on the ASN Board of Directors.

 

Sandra Shih Parks is currently serves as the Director of Arts at Choate Rosemary Hall, and she is also the founder and executive director of Women in Dance, a non-profit organization that advocates for female leadership. Sandra holds her BFA from New York University and MFA from Smith College, MA. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Sandra danced as a soloist with Four Seasons Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company. She toured nationally and internationally with a Broadway production of the King And I. While directing her own production, she danced and choreographed more than 80 live concerts. After she moved to Boston, she danced with Bosoma Dance Company, Dance Collective, and Impulse Dance Company. Sandra has presented her work at professional venues in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Boston, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia as well as Beijing and Taipei. She also created commissioned work for Bosoma Dance Company in Boston, Cangelosi Dance Project and Of Moving Colors in Baton Rouge, LA. Sandra was a faculty member for Boston University, Bridgewater State College, Colleges of Fenway, Drexel University, Kennesaw State University, Louisiana State University, Regis College, and Smith College, and she taught master classes at National Taiwan University of Arts. Her film work includes promotional videos for high school and university programs, documentary on Taiwanese aboriginal tribes, and a 65-minute documentary film on Chinese Dance and Culture.

 

Jason Patera has been part of the Chicago Academy for the Arts community since 1992, from being something of a teenage “intern” to later serving as a faculty member, Chair of the Music Department, Assistant Head of School, Principal, and Head of School.

A jazz pianist and drummer, Patera is a summa cum laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, where he studied arranging and contemporary writing and founded the college’s newspaper The Groove. Patera also holds a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for excellence in teaching, and was named a Golden Apple Leader of Distinction in 2018.

Patera is the author of “I Can Do Hard Things, or: How Much It Hurt to Run 100.6 Miles” for Chicago Athlete Magazine. Inspired by Academy students, his TED talk “Life at the Intersection of Excellence, Purpose, and Passion” describes the power of rejecting mediocrity, defying our limits, dreaming audaciously, and loving the journey.

 

Vee Popat is the Director of the Fine Arts Center of the Greenville County Schools. The Fine Arts Center (FAC) is South Carolina’s first public school for the visual, performing, and creative arts, offering pre-professional education in Architecture, Creative Writing, Concert Dance, Digital Filmmaking, Music (Jazz, Chamber Strings, Percussion, Recording Arts, Winds, and Voice), Theatre (Performance and Design/Production), and Visual Arts. Vee started as Director of the FAC in 2019 and was named as Greenville County Schools’ Administrator of the Year in 2022. With 20 years of experience as a public school educator, Vee served as a band director for the first 9 years of his career before moving into the administrative level. He holds a B.A. in Music Education from Virginia Tech, an M.M. in Jazz Education from the University of Miami (FL), and an M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton. 

The bulk of Vee’s career as a music educator was in the award-winning programs of the Randolph Township Schools in Randolph, NJ, where he was twice named “Teacher of the Year.”  His tenure as an administrator began as an Arts Supervisor, serving in that role in the Randolph Township Schools and the West Essex Regional School District (North Caldwell, NJ). He then served 6 years as West Essex Middle School Principal before moving to Greenville to become the Fine Arts Center’s Director. Vee currently serves on the Board of the Greenville Center for Creative Arts and Palmetto State Arts Education. He also maintains an active career as a saxophonist and educator, playing jazz gigs in both South and North Carolina, and teaching sax lessons in person and over Zoom. He lives in Greenville with his wife Heather, who is also a GCS Educator, and their three children - Nate, Charlotte, and Addison.

 

Melinda Zacher Ronayne is the Director of Visual Arts at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Ronayne joined Interlochen in August 2010 and leads all aspects of visual arts education at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Camp, including the management of a 1,500 sq. ft. professional gallery and visiting artist program. Over the years, Ronayne has overseen the redesign of the visual arts curriculum and assessment system; the creation of a service learning in the arts program, including a partnership with the Munson Medical Center, and several large collaborative projects with other arts and academic divisions. Ronayne has developed and implemented several new visual arts Camp majors including High School Experimental Fashion, Intermediate-Advanced Drawing and Painting, the Junior Visual Arts Major for ages 8 – 13, and two week-long Institutes in Precious Metals and Experimental Drawing and Painting.

Ronayne has been named a Distinguished Teacher for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Over the last ten years, her students have consistently been Finalist recipients in the National YoungArts competition, Gold Medal recipients in the National Scholastics Art and Writing Awards and she has taught two Presidential Scholars in the Arts and seven Presidential Nominees.

Prior to coming to Interlochen, Ronayne taught AP 2D and AP Drawing at the Design and Architecture Senior High School in Miami. While at DASH, she served in a program that brought high-level arts instruction to inner-city youth at the Miami Edison Senior High School in Little Haiti. Ronayne has worked as an admission counselor and the coordinator of scholarship programs at the Maryland Institute College of Art and has taught International Baccalaureate Studio Art at Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, FL. 

She is a regular presenter at the state and national level on the topics of arts and health, service learning in the arts, collaboration and portfolio development. This includes conferences for the Arts Schools Network, the National Art Education Association, the Michigan Art Education Association, and the Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Leading Ethical Improvement in Healthcare Symposium at the McCombs School of Business in Austin TX. Ronayne is actively involved in her local community as well where she serves on the Board of Trustees for the Great Lakes Children’s Museum and volunteers at the Cowell Family Cancer Center.  Ronayne is an interdisciplinary visual artist. She received her MA in Arts Education and BFA in general fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Ronayne lives in Traverse City, MI with her husband Justin and two daughters, Quinn and Sadie.

 

rudes-scottScott Rudes, Ph.D., is currently the principal of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX.  BTWHSPVA has been ranked one of the top eight magnet schools in the country and has a record 23 US Presidential Scholars in the Arts since its inception in 1976.  As one of the top arts high schools in the country, students are well prepared for the top universities and conservatories throughout the world.  Some of the notable alumni from BTW include Nora Jones, Erikah Badu, Roy Hargrove, and Edie Brickell.  Rudes also serves as a board member of Arts Schools Network, an organization which supports specialized arts programs, educators, and leaders.

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.  Rudes has served as the President of the Florida Orchestra Association (FOA) as well as President of the Florida Network of Arts Administrators (FNAA).

 

Thomas Schultheis received his Master of Arts in Strategic Communications from National University and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from James Madison University. He is the Dean of Admissions with The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts, and is a Board Member with the California Educational Theatre Association. Thomas is also a Teaching Artist with Dramatic Results. He has created curriculum, taught at conferences, and given keynotes with organizations around the country. Thomas is the Theatre Consultant for the REACH Grant, and on the Musical Theatre Competitions of America Creative Team. He worked for 15 years at the Disneyland® Resort with Disney Performing Arts, and was the Team Captain for The Spark File Select Group Creativity Coaching. Thomas performed on Broadway in Grease! and tours of Smokey Joe’s CafeChicago, and South Pacific. Additionally, he founded The Educators Collective, bringing together exceptional leaders in education, and created The Educators Collective Virtual Summit.

  

Teren Shaffer is an award-winning arts manager, educator, and conductor based in Orange County, CA. He serves as the President & CEO of Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) and President of the California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV) Foundation, where he oversees a staff of approximately 500 employees and an organizational budget of more than $40 million. OCSA and CSArts-SGV are both nationally recognized public charter schools, which offer a rigorous academic education and pre-professional arts training to 3,500 students in grades 7-12 from more than 150 cities throughout Southern California.

Mr. Shaffer began his tenure at OCSA in 2011 as Music Director and Conductor of the internationally acclaimed Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble. He led the ensemble to become a finalist in The American Prize for Wind Ensemble Performance and to present a concert at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival. In 2014, the ensemble was the first band from Southern California to perform at the Midwest Clinic. This is the largest annual music conference of its kind, hosting nearly 20,000 educators and performers from more than 30 countries. He was quickly recognized for his leadership, being promoted to Director of the Instrumental Music Conservatory and then to Dean of Arts.

Prior to his appointment to President & CEO, Mr. Shaffer served as Executive Vice President for both OCSA and CSArts-SGV, overseeing a team of development, marketing, public relations, special events, and graphic design personnel. In this role he was also involved in strategic management of the arts conservatory programs, CSArts Academy extracurricular classes, and special projects. Launched in OCSA’s 30th anniversary season, Mr. Shaffer assisted in facilitating the school’s Master Artist Series, which brings industry professionals to campus to work with students. The series features collaborative performances, master classes, and residencies with internationally acclaimed artists, such as: Wynton Marsalis, Deborah Voigt, Misty Copeland, Joshua Bell, Lythgoe Family Productions, Ali Stroker, Matthew Morrison, and many others.

Mr. Shaffer was previously on faculty at Chapman University and also served as General Manager for the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has received many prestigious awards for his work, such as The Kennedy Center’s Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, the Arts Schools Network Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award, Stanford University's Exceptional Teaching Award, and Orange County Department of Education’s Outstanding Arts Educator.  Shaffer earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and bachelor’s degrees in instrumental conducting, music performance and music education from Chapman University.

 

Ashley Stone, DM is the Student Recruitment Specialist for the UNLV College of Fine Arts and an instructor of Applied Voice Lessons and First Year Symposia, serves as a consultant for prospective College of Fine Arts students. Dr. Stone is charged with aiding the recruitment endeavors of the Schools of Architecture and Music, the Departments of Art, Dance, Film, and Theatre, and the Entertainment Engineering & Design Program at UNLV. She joined UNLV in 2016, and prior to her appointment as a recruitment specialist, she served the College of Fine Arts as a Strategic Planning Coordinator and the School of Music as a Visiting Lecturer of Music.

 Dr. Stone, a mezzo-soprano, earned a Doctorate of Music degree from Indiana University, a Master’s Degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor’s Degree from Texas State University.  Dr. Stone is a member of the Arts Schools Network and has given presentations on her thesis topic, The Gamification of Opera Workshop, at both the National Opera Association's 2017 National Convention and the 2014 New Music Educator’s Symposium. 

 

Kyle Wedberg, Ph.D. has a professional career that has focused on education and public service.  His career began as a City Year AmeriCorps volunteer in Boston, MA. After graduate school, he was a Senior Budget Analyst for the Office of Budget and Management for the City of Chicago. He was then recruited to the School District of Philadelphia where he served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer. Kyle then returned to City Year to help lead new site development and the start of City Year Louisiana (where he fell in love with New Orleans), City Year Johannesburg, and City Year Los Angeles. Kyle embraced the opportunity to move to New Orleans and took a leadership role in the Recovery School District where he served as Chief Administrative Officer. While working at the RSD, Kyle visited and was inspired by NOCCA-the performing and visual arts high school for the State of Louisiana- where he, until recently, served as President and Chief Executive Officer. In his spare time he enjoys being with his wife Michelle and son Waylon above all else; traveling the state; and experiencing the arts, sights, sounds, food, culture, and sports (especially the Saints) of New Orleans and Louisiana. Kyle has had the privilege to perform artistically as Heck Tate in the NOCCA Stage Company production of To Kill a Mockingbird and as the Narrator for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s production of Peter and the Wolf. He has a BA from St. Olaf College, an MPA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Southern University and A&M College Nelson Mandela School of Government.

 

Dr. Briant Williams is an educator with over a decade of teaching and administrative experience. As a teacher, Dr. Williams served in the Savannah Chatham County School System, Memphis City Schools, DeKalb County School System and the Atlanta Public School System. Dr. Williams has also taught courses (as a graduate assistant) in the Center for Black Studies at Northern Illinois University. As an administrator, Dr. Williams served as the assistant principal for curriculum at Creekside High School in the Fulton County School System, the principal at Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities in Indianapolis, Indiana and is now serving as the founding principal at the Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts in Columbus, Georgia.           

A native Georgian, Dr. Williams is new to Columbus by way of Atlanta, Georgia. His original hometown is Savannah, Georgia. Dr. Williams is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education and holds the Master of Music Degree in Music Education from Northern Illinois University, an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Administration from Columbus State University and the Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Administration from Georgia Southern University.  Dr. Williams is a spring 2002 dully initiated member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Williams’ enjoys politics, reading, traveling, learning, music, shopping, spending time with friends and family; and seeking avenues to make the greatest possible impact and to live life to the fullest. Two of his favorite quotes are: “Make your life a choice, not a chance” made by his father Dr. Weldon Williams, Jr. and “We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This, is the inter-related structure of reality” by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Drew Williams, Ed.D. currently serves as Executive Director and founder at Utah Arts Academy (UAA). He earned his Masters in Educational Leadership and his Doctorate of Education in Strategic Planning and Organizational Theory. Having performed for three decades as a professional touring and studio musician, as well as serving as a dedicated educator and administrator, Drew found the perfect fit in an arts-focused school. Always an advocate for arts education, Drew’s interest in creating UAA was the perfect way to blend his educational passion with an environment to advance students' abilities and excel creatively. Drew began his journey as a woodshop teacher, and when he and his wife (also a talented musician and songwriter) decided to move to Nashville, TN., they both continued to play music and work in education. Throughout their years in Nashville, they toured with groups nationally and internationally, released three studio EP’s and, most importantly, had three beautiful children: Emmy, Holland, and Beckham. Drew is thrilled to be part of ASN, continuing his passion for arts education and the impact it has on students and ultimately the world. 

 

A Dallas native and proud Booker T. Washington graduate, Garry Williams is an artist and arts educator with over 20 years of experience in education. Serving as a teacher, advocate, and administrator, he has worked diligently to ensure that scholars and teachers have meaningful opportunities that promote excellence in the arts and academics.

As a Director of Fine Arts, Garry worked with all performing and visual arts disciplines from PreK through 12th grade. This included the development of a cohesive vertical pipeline for instruction in visual arts, piano, dance, theater, and vocal music. He illuminated the importance of educational exposure experiences by partnering with arts organizations and supporters, such as, The Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Black Dance Theater, and North Park Center. He also served as an executive producer for the district’s annual fine arts production, held at both the Meyerson Symphony Center and the historic Majestic Theater, which showcased the talents of 300+ scholars.

Garry obtained a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. He is humbled and elated to have the opportunity to return to his alma mater, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, as the Dean of Arts Conservatories and serve alongside a creative and passionate group of artists, educators, and scholars.

 

Kim Wilson is the Director of Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Institute, a statewide partnership between South Carolina (SC) Department of Education, SC Arts Commission, and Winthrop University. She has twenty-five years of experience in arts education and administration. ABC Project's mission is to provide leadership to achieve quality, comprehensive arts education for all SC students. Her teaching and administrative experiences began in community education, which included such roles as Director of Education at Pewabic Pottery, a historic Arts and Crafts era production pottery, in Detroit, MI, and Executive Director for Sawtooth School for Visual Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Over the last twelve years, Kim has focused on public arts education. After only teaching four years in public education, Kim was recognized as the 2012 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. Since that time, she has transitioned into empowering all educators with creativity-fostering teaching practices and advocating on the power and influence of arts education for student development.