National Advisory Committee (NAC)

TAG’s work is guided in part by our National Advisory Committee, representing the depth and breadth of the teaching artists field across the US. The National Advisory Committee exists to provide input, guidance, and strategy towards our mission and vision; to connect TAG to other organizations, leaders in the field, and individual teaching artists locally and nationally. These members serve two year, renewable terms.

Meet the NAC Members

Victor Sawyer (Co-Chair)

Victor Sawyer (he/him) serves as a Fellowship Coach for the Memphis Music Initiative, working with a team of teaching artists to create engaging and impactful arts programming for youth in underserved communities throughout the Greater Memphis Area and as an instrumental Teaching Artist at the world famous Stax Music Academy. It is at Stax that Sawyer has worked within the ever more popular music education field. Utilizing contemporary music from the Soul, Rock, Blues, and Pop genres, students at Stax Music Academy learn the fundamentals of music performance while also developing socio-emotional via the group rehearsal process. Sawyer performs primarily in Memphis, TN as a freelance trombonist frequently recording at legendary studio such as Sun, Royal, and Ardent and has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, South by Southwest, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City’s Lincoln Center. Most recently Sawyer received the honor of performing with legendary Memphis recording artists 8Ball and MJG, Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, and Valerie June.

Kai Fierle-Hedrick (Co-Chair)

Kai Fierle-Hedrick (she/her) is Founder and Facilitator at Create Knowledge, Kai is currently based in Colorado, and has over 15 years of experience working at the intersection of learning, evaluation, organizational change, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. As a consultant, Kai has co-facilitated local, regional, and national projects with foundations, coalitions, nonprofits, and youth and adult community members and organizers working on/in social-emotional learning, educational equity, affordable housing, hunger, racial justice, and the arts. Prior to consulting, she spent nine years working in youth and community development at the nonprofit Free Arts NYC, lastly as Chief Program Officer, where she built long-term relationships with staff, young people, and families at over 20 community partner organizations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. And her facilitation skills were first honed via 6 years of collaborating with young people and adults as a writer and teaching artist in the UK and the US. In addition to a joint BA in Art History and English Literature (McGill University) and a Master of Philosophy in Architecture and the Moving Image (University of Cambridge), Kai holds graduate certificates in Teaching to Inspire Learning (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Leading Equity and Inclusion in Organizations (Northwestern University), and she is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory®.

Tamara Anderson

Tamara Anderson (she/her) is a multi-talented producer, activist, singer, actor, writer, and director. Her production and direction credits include a film short, Dating Chronicles. Check out the new artists at her production company, The Gumbo Lab. She is a member of the Racial Justice Organizing Committee, Black Lives Matter at School, and the Melanated Educators Collective, and the curator of the BIPOC Database and Resource Guide. Coming to a theatre soon is her newest solo show with music, Black Bitch Cape – 2022 Tamara was Critics Choice Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress and 2012 Best Supporting Actress- Zoren Award. She can be seen as Marian Stamps on The Blacklist on NBC, Deborah (Seasons 1 and 2) in the Netflix Original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt , on HBO in Show me a Hero, on Starz in Sweetbitter, and Showtime on Nurse Jackie! She has been featured in Nunsense, Matilda, Saturday Night Fever, Don’t Bother Me I can’t Cope, Ain’t Misbehavin, Winter’s Tale, Yellowman Violet, as well as numerous plays and musicals in various regional theaters across the country.

Eric Booth

Eric Booth (he/him) As an actor, Eric Booth performed in many plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway and around the U.S. As a businessman, he started a small company, Alert Publishing, that in seven years became the largest of its kind in the U.S. analyzing research on trends in American lifestyles. As an author, he has had five books published. The Everyday Work of Art was a Book of the Month Club selection, and The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible, was published by Oxford University Press.  He has written dozens of magazine articles, and was the Founding Editor of the quarterly Teaching Artist Journal. In arts learning, he has been on the faculty of Juilliard (13 years), and has taught at Stanford University, NYU, Tanglewood and Lincoln Center Institute (for 26 years), and he has given classes for every level from kindergarten through graduate school; he has given workshops at over 30 universities, and 60 cultural institutions.  He has designed and led over twenty research projects, and seven online courses and workshops. He serves as a consultant for many organizations, cities and states and businesses around the U.S., which has included seven of the ten largest U.S. orchestras, five national service organizations, Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center. Formerly the Founding Director of the Teacher Center of the Leonard Bernstein Center (now on the Board of Directors), he is a frequent keynote speaker on the arts and teaching artistry to groups of all kinds. He is the Senior Advisor to the El Sistema movement in the U.S. He gave the closing keynote address to UNESCO’s first ever worldwide arts education conference (Lisbon 2006), the opening keynote to UNESCO’s 2014 World Conference. He led the First and Second International Teaching Artist Conferences (Oslo 2012, Brisbane 2014).

Lindsey Buller Maliekel

Lindsey Buller Maliekel (she/her) is the Director of Education / Public Engagement for the New Victory Theater (American for the Arts Education Award recipient, 2008) and oversees all programs and content for family audiences as well as the theater’s youth development programs.  She manages a roster of 50 teaching artists, as well as continuing to teach in the schools and family programs throughout the year.  Prior to joining the New Victory Theater in 2004, she created and taught curriculums for the Creative Arts Team. As the Associate Director of Summer Theater Institute, she worked with youth from around the world to devise original theater. Lindsey has been a consultant, curriculum writer and Master Teaching Artist for such organizations as Girls Leadership Institute, TheatreWorks: Silicon Valley, and StageWrite.  She is also a Thesis Advisor for the first American Masters program in Applied Theatre at City University of New York. In 2014, under her oversight, the New Victory Usher Corps program won the National Arts and Humanities award, given by Michelle Obama for outstanding programs in creative youth development.  She received her Masters degree from the Gallatin School at New York University focusing on Theater as a Tool for Communication and Learning.

Summayya Diop

Summayya Diop (she/her) is a teaching artist, dancer, choreographer, actor, and administrator specializing in Folkloric performance dance culture, of the African Diaspora, and whose artistic goals and aspirations are rooted in the love of dance theatre. Sumayya has created and presented works in both traditional and contemporary African dance styles. Sumayya is currently Teaching Artist Coordinator with Arts Corps, as well as partnering with The Creative Advantage, and Youth Arts through the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. She is a co-founder of Griot Girlz, which works closely with Seattle Public Schools students in developing creative capacities and academic mindsets through arts integrated instruction. Other responsibilities include performances, community building and special projects. Sumayya has contributed to the field of dance, music and theatre through performance, instruction, and program development. Sumayya is passionate about sharing dance, song and music of the African Diaspora and bringing youth, young adults, and adults to the stage using performance as a vehicle for increased self-confidence, esteem awareness, a rooted sense of belonging, and the preservation of cultural legacy. Sumayya attended Cornish College of the Arts, majoring in dance, and was most recently selected to participate in a 7-week International Conference and Professional Development workshop in Choreography of Traditional and Contemporary African Dance in Senegal, West Africa.

William Estrada

William Estrada (he/him) grew up in California, Mexico, and Chicago. His teaching and art making practice focus on addressing inequity, migration, historical passivity and cultural recognition in historically marginalized communities. He documents and engages experiences in public spaces to transform, question, and make connections to established and organic systems through discussion, creation, and amplification of stories through creativity already present. He is currently a visual art teacher at Telpochcalli Elementary and faculty at the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has worked as an educator and artist with Chicago Arts Partnership in Education, Hyde Park Art Center, SkyArt, Marwen Foundation, Urban Gateways, DePaul University’s College Connect Program, Graffiti Institute, Vermont College of Art and Design, Prison + Neighborhood Art Project, and the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. William’s art and teaching is a collaborative discourse of existing images, text, and politics that appoints the audience to critically re-examine public and private spaces. As a teacher, artist, and cultural worker he reports, records, reveals, and amplifies experiences you find in academic books, school halls, teacher lounges, kitchen tables, barrios, college campuses, and in the conversations of close friends to engage in radical imagination. William is currently engaging in collaborative work with the Mobilize Creative Collaborative, Chicago ACT Collective, and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. His current research is focused on developing community based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces to collectively imagine just futures.

Christina Farrell

Christina Farrell (she/her) is a teaching artist, performer and consultant who has returned to her Midwest roots after two decades of working in Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. She is the Founding Director of Opera Ignite, a nonprofit which has served as an educational collaborator with organizations including Toledo Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Festival Opera. As a Master Teaching Artist with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, she has led classroom residencies, professional development and teaching artist training across the U.S., as well as Singapore and India. Christina supported curriculum design and program structure for Pittsburgh BUZZWORD, an collaborative initiative of six arts and sciences organizations which provide interactive learning experiences for families with young children. In 2018, the Iowa Arts Council contracted Christina to conduct an environmental survey of teaching artistry throughout the state with the goal of providing recommendations for teaching artist training and sustainable practices for the field. She has been invited to serve on the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education Advisory Committee, Opera America Teaching Artist Network Leadership Committee and the Gallagher-Bluedorn Education Advisory Council.

David K Freeman

David K Freeman (he/him) is a musician/producer/teaching artist based in New York. He has traveled extensively to study music, including in the Dominican Republic and India. His work is infused with a passion for Jazz, Latin, and Folk music traditions. David is celebrating his latest album Overview Effect and remains an active member of the Outer Bridge Ensemble, The Biryani Boys, Sha’ar and collaborates on projects in the visual arts, dance, and film, including the composition and performance of original music for PBS’ The Mind of a Chef and The Love Guru motion picture soundtrack. David has worked with notable artists such as Mike Myers (SNL), Chris Hajian, Douglas Keeve, Alan Cumming, Annie Lanzillotto Jimmy Buffett, Billy Martin (MMW), James Zollar, Mark Gross, Gwen Laster, Daniel Carter, Fast Forward, Brent Green, Paul Rucker, Stephen Chopek, Nadine LaFond, Alicia Jo Rabins, Daniel Saks, Wyndham Boylan-Garnett, Lilah Larson, Lou Guarneri among many others.David is a current faculty member at Pace University’s Media Communications and Visual Arts Dept. where he teaches Jazz Music History, The Entertainment Industry, Writing for Print Media and Public Speaking. David is the Education Director for Brooklyn Raga Massive and serves as a board member for the Teaching Artist Guild.

Jean Johnstone

Jean Johnstone (she/they) holds a Masters in Public Affairs from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, and both her BA and a Post-Graduate degree in Theater Arts from University of California, Santa Cruz. She earned certificates for training from the Moscow Art Theater (acting/directing) and the Presencing Institute at MIT (social and organizational change). Jean specializes in Arts & Cultural Policy, and on education and workforce development issues, international comparative cultural policy and cultural economics. She is a researcher on the California 100 project, developing forward thinking policies for the State of CA for the next generation. She recently consulted with the Cultural Affairs Department for the City of Oakland, and assisted on graduate level policy courses at The Goldman School.  Prior to this work, Jean spent 7 years as the Executive Director of Teaching Artists Guild, a national organization dedicated to supporting and advocating for artists working in participatory settings. She worked in partnership with County Offices of Education, the Dept. of Education, philanthropies, and statewide on national policy councils for arts, education and labor issues. Jean was a school board member and chair of the education committee at Francophone School of Oakland. Jean founded the Applied Theater Action Institute, which offered community arts and media programs internationally, and spent several years teaching drama and applied theater in Hong Kong, China. She directed productions in San Francisco serving people transitioning out of homelessness, was the theatrical director for a modern dance company, an artistic director of an award-winning political comedy theater, and a founding member of the Million Fishes Art Collective in San Francisco. She studied Russian, Spanish, and French. She lives in Oakland CA with her two kids and doggy.

Lauren Jost

Lauren Jost (she/her) creates, designs and teaches theatre-based workshops and classes for students of all ages for various arts companies and community organizations. An arts education and theatre professional, she has worked for some of the country’s most renowned theatres for young audiences. Lauren is the Founding Artistic Director of Spellbound Theatre, an innovative New York theatre company creating original, multi-disciplinary performance for very young children and families. Lauren is currently Executive Director of Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington.

Tina LaPadula

Tina LaPadula (she/they) is an east coast transplant and warrior for equitable art making and learning opportunities in Seattle. Tina co-founded the Speakeasy Backroom Performance Space and Gallery, the Belltown cultural hub that incubated and showcased work by northwest artists. She currently serves as the Education Director for the award winning arts education non-profit Arts Corps that she helped found on the principle that all young people, not just those with resources, should have access to quality arts learning. As a performer, Tina makes solo and ensemble work that explores stories of human connectivity. She has collaborated with The Frye Museum and The Museum of History and Industry to curate exhibitions that elevate the perspectives of young people. As a teaching artist, Tina has taught at Centrum Arts, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The University of Washington, and in a multitude of public schools and after school programs. She regularly facilitates workshops on social justice and the arts for the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Seattle Public Schools and national conferences. Tina has been a leader in the development of teaching artists and the field of teaching artistry. She is the former co-chair of the Association of Teaching Artists, founder of the Seattle Teaching Artist Network and a faculty member for the WA State Teaching Artist Training Lab. Her experience and opinion have made her a featured blogger with Americans for the Arts.

Jamie Mayer

Jamie Mayer (she/her) is an arts education administrator most recently serving as Director of Curriculum and Professional Development at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, NJ. In her role at NJPAC Jamie oversaw teaching artist training and recruitment, professional development programming for teachers and school administrators, and the development and implementation of curriculum in all arts education programs. In addition to her work at NJPAC, Jamie has taught, performed, and directed with various organizations and schools throughout New York City and San Diego. She is a firm believer that giving youth access to a quality arts education plays a significant role in developing their limitless potential to be the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.

Indi McCasey

Indi McCasey (they/them) uses their super power as a creative connector to co-construct liberatory futures. Indi is a white, San Francisco Bay Area born and raised, gender non-conforming, queer creative who has spent the past 20 years working at the intersection of arts, education, and community health with non-profit organizations and school districts in Boston, Chicago, Juneau, Santa Fe, Seattle, and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Indi is currently the Executive Director of the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area (AEABA), connecting and catalyzing local arts education coalitions for a more just and creative San Francisco Bay Area. They facilitate professional learning communities of local, national, and international educators, thought leaders, and organizations in partnership with institutions such as the former Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Department and Harvard’s Project Zero. Indi’s social practice is rooted in their experience as a teaching artist, performer, producer, program administrator, and arts advocate. They serve on the Funding Advisory Committee of the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program and are co-chair of the American Youth Circus Organization’s Social Circus Committee. Their creative work has been funded by the California Arts Council, Horizons Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, and Zellerbach Family Foundation among others. Along with India Davis, Indi co-founded Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus, an annual event at the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco that highlights queer and trans* performing artists of color. In 2016, they co-launched the White Advocates for Racial Equity Network within the National Guild for Community Arts Education, supporting conversations that address power, privilege, and culture in community arts nonprofits. As a member of the Creative Youth Development (CYD) National Partnership, Indi continues to collaboratively develop a shared practice framework based in the CYD values of youth leadership, racial justice, and collective action. Indi holds a self-designed BA from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Maura O’Malley

Maura O’Malley (she/her) is the Co-founder and CEO of Lifetime Arts. Maura is an arts specialist with over 30 years experience in program design and implementation, arts education policy and funding, non-profit arts management and community cultural work. She has worked with the New York State Council on the Arts, Westchester Arts Council, New York City Department of Education, and Studio in a School Association, Young Audiences of New York and many other premiere arts, educational and community organizations. Maura graduated from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and earned a Master of Public Administration in arts policy and planning from New York University.

Amalia Ortiz

Amalia Ortiz, (she/her) Tejana poet and playwright, appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO and the NAACP Image Awards on FOX. NBC Latino named her book of poetry, Rant. Chant. Chisme. one of “10 Great Latino Books of 2015,” It was awarded the 2015 Writers’ League of Texas Poetry Discovery Prize. Amalia was chosen to speak at TEDx McAllen 2015. Latina Magazine honored Amalia for founding and performing in the all-female performance troupe, Women of Ill Repute: Refute! which raised money for the San Antonio Rape Crisis Center. She was awarded the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Grant and a writing residency at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a Hedgebrook writer-in-residence alumna. She was the inaugural performing-artist-in-residence at ArtPace in 2018. Amalia received her MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is the director of theatre arts for SAY Sĺ’s ALAS (Activating Leadership, Art, and Service) Youth Theatre Company. Serving San Antonio’s youth, SAY Sí is a year round, long-term, non-profit multidisciplinary arts program.

Melissa Parke

Melissa Parke (she/her) is an Afro-conceptualist artist and is the founder of Black Teaching Artist Lab (BTAL), Pan-African Cultural Exchange (PACE), and Zora’s Legacy’s. Melissa also created and trademarked the Afrocentric Social-Emotional Learning framework. Melissa recently joined the Teaching Artist Project (TAP) spring cohort, a division of the Community Word Project in order to better understand the teacher training process and to become a stronger facilitator herself.

Katie (M.K.) Rainey

Katie (M.K.) Rainey (she/her) is a writer, teacher, and editor from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is currently a Teaching Artist and the Director of the Teaching Artist Project (TAP) at Community-Word Project. She has been a teaching artist for over 10 years, and has taught poetry, fiction, theatre, photography, English as a second language and filmmaking in various parts of the world. Katie also serves as Co-Chair of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Teaching Artist Affairs Committee and was a part of the 2018 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Emerging Leaders Boot Camp. She is the winner of the 2017 Bechtel Prize at Teachers & Writers Magazine, the 2017 Lazuli Literary Group Writing Contest and the 2018 Montana Award for Fiction from Whitefish Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lit Hub, Writer’s Digest, The Collagist, 3AM Magazine, and more. She co-hosts the Animal Riot Reading Series, and is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Animal Riot Press, a literary press that strives to collaborate with writers to create work that matters. She is also the co-host of the feminist podcast Rosé All Day Anyways. Find out more about her here:

Annette Ramos

Annette Ramos (she/her) Originally from New York City by way of Los Angeles, Annette Ramos works with the Monroe County Parks Department to enhance Park offerings as a Rochester-based arts professional, community advocate and Cultural curator. Her work as a master storyteller has been presented across the USA, and in multiple school districts, conferences and festivals. Annette serves as cofounder, producer, director & playwright for dozens of Latinx productions in the role of Executive Director for the Rochester Latino Theatre Company founded in 2011. Annette continues to lead through her civic engagement serving on the nationals boards of the Association of Teaching Artists and the Latinx Theatre Commons Advisory Board. Locally, Annette continues to serve on the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Council and the Latino Leadership Committee, and she still finds time to advocate on issues impacting WOC, pay equity, youth empowerment and community-driven initiatives.

Nicole Ripley

Nicole Ripley (she/her) is the Director of Education at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL where she overseas community partnerships, on-site programs, in-classroom residencies, and touring productions that reach 10,000 Chicago students each year. She has worked extensively as a teaching artist with communities and youth in the U.S. and in Asia. Her teaching artist work has included collaborations with Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Redmoon and Gabfai Community Theatre in Thailand, among others. Her focus is on applied theatre and using theatre for dialogue to address issues of social justice in classrooms and community-based settings. Ripley is a member of the steering committee to address the national state of the field of teaching artistry in collaboration with Eric Booth, Teaching Artist Guild, ATA, New Victory Theater and FreeArts NYC. She is co-creator of Ag47, an arts mentorship non-profit collective and co-creator and facilitator of Teens at the Table, a participatory program using arts as civic practice to address youth violence in Chicago. An alumna of Northwestern University, Ripley has presented at national conferences, was a 2006 Luce Scholars Fellow in Thailand, Fulbright recipient, the 2013 Communities In Schools of Chicago Al Ward Spirit of Giving awardee, and a 2013 nominee for a 3Arts award in teaching arts.

Jean E. Taylor

Jean E. Taylor (she/her) is a teaching artist for Lincoln Center Education, working extensively in their local programs and international consultancies. She received Lincoln Center’s Directors Emeriti Award in 2012. Jean teaches Theatrical Clown for The New School for Drama’s BFA and MFA programs and most recently taught Clown for the World Economic Forum Global Leadership program at Columbia University. She presented at the International Teaching Artist Conferences in Oslo, Norway in 2012 and Brisbane, Australia in 2014. Her most recent performance work with director Eric Nightengale, True Hazards of Childhood, premiered at The Barrow Group in 2013. A trilogy of her theatre work is scheduled for January 2016. Additional performing work includes The Reclamation with Hilary Easton + Company and Snatches, a play begun at the 78th Street Theatre Lab, performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, London’s New End Theatre, and presented on BBC Radio 4. Jean studied clown/movement with Philippe Gaulier, Ronlin Foreman, David Shiner and Merry Conway, among others. Her approach to theatrical clown has been published in Movement for Actors, Allworth Press. She is a member of The Teaching Artist Journal’s editorial board and a board member of The Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and Social Imagination.

Committee Alumni

Glenna Avila (she/her)  is an artist, educator, and arts administrator, dedicated to the arts, young people, and communities. She is currently the Artistic Director and the Wallis Annenberg Director of the California Institute of the Arts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) program and has served in this position since 1991. The CAP program is a co-curricular program of the college and encompasses 55 distinct youth arts education programs located in 60 diverse neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County in partnership with 45 public schools, community-based organizations and social service agencies; employing 60 CalArts faculty artists, 50 CalArts alumni artists, and 300 CalArts student artists as instructors; and creating innovative, in-depth arts education programs for 10,000 youth ages 6-18 annually.  In 2004, the CAP program received the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the highest national honor for exemplary youth arts education programs. Before coming to CalArts, she held a variety of positions with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, including Director of the Los Angeles Murals Program, Director of the McGroarty Art Center, and Director of the Los Angeles Photography Center.  For thirteen years she was a Supervisor in the Summer Youth Employment Program through the U.S. Department of Labor, teaching and providing hundreds of jobs in the arts for low-income youth ages 14-21.   She has painted over 75 community murals throughout Los Angeles, the majority of which are collaborations with youth and their communities.  As an arts educator, she has taught the visual arts to K-12 students throughout Los Angeles County.  She has worked as a teaching artist in public schools, in after-school mental health programs, and with incarcerated youth in juvenile detention centers and probation camps.  Glenna Avila has exhibited her work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Armand Hammer Museum, Laguna Art Museum, among others.  She was one of 10 artists commissioned by the Olympic Organizing Committee to paint a mural on the freeway in downtown Los Angeles for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival—entitled “L.A. Freeway Kids,” a tribute to the youth of her native Los Angeles.

Lara Davis (she/her) has been active in youth development and community arts education for more than a decade. She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, an award winning Seattle-based youth arts organization. As arts education manager for the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Lara manages the Creative Advantage, a public/private partnership to ensure equitable access to high quality arts learning for all Seattle students.  Lara also facilitates equity and racial justice trainings for teaching artists, educators and organizations, and presents locally and at national conferences. As a person of color, Lara understands the value of cross-cultural, multi-sector efforts to dismantle racism and other oppressions, and to promote justice.  As an artist and arts administrator, she knows firsthand the power of creativity necessary to build access, foster engagement, transform communities, and inspire systemic change.

Jon Hinojosa (he/him) serves as the Artistic | Executive Director of SAY Sí, a national award winning, creative youth development program for urban students. The tuition-free program encompasses 6 distinct multidisciplinary arts programs, including visual, performing, film, and game design. SAY Sí is situated in a 26,000 square foot warehouse in San Antonio’s Cultural Arts District. Jon is also a producing and exhibiting visual artist and is active in professional – local, regional and national arts education initiatives, including currently serving as a national trustee for the National Guild for Community Arts Education. The Wallace Foundation recently highlighted SAY Sí as an exemplary national arts learning model that needs to be replicated across the country. Jon has presented and facilitated learning at numerous conferences and symposia on the value, tangible evidence, and the transformative power the arts have on urban youth, these include Grant Makers for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and The National Guild for Community Arts Education. Jon is also an Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders – Arts Fellow, A joint program of National Arts Strategies and the Stanford Graduate School of Business and was recently presented with a national award for his work in arts education by the Americans for the Arts.  He hopes his legacy will be inspiring and educating the next generation of our nation’s creative leaders.

Lynn Johnson (she/her), is a social entrepreneur, theater teaching artist, girl advocate, and the Co-Founder & CEO of Glitter & Razz Productions LLC based in Oakland, CA. The mission of Glitter & Razz is to ignite a compassion revolution by putting girls center stage. They do this through their highly popular Go Girls! Camp, a summer camp for elementary school age girls to learn and practice essential social/emotional skills through the creation and performance of their very own plays Go Girls! has received international recognition from Ashoka Changemakers as a quality social innovation to activate empathy in schools and has been featured as a model program in social/emotional learning by the George Lucas Educational Foundation on the website. For over 20 years, Lynn has designed, directed, and taught hundreds of community-based arts learning programs for folks of all ages in Chicago, North Carolina and the Bay Area. Lynn regularly works as a facilitator, speaker, workshop leader, and organizational development consultant. As the founding Membership Director of TAG, Lynn has served as a judge for the Teaching Artist Award sponsored by 3Arts Chicago (2014) and has been involved with TAG (and its preceding incarnations) in multiple capacities since the beginning.

Nas Khan (she/her) is a media artist, musician,
arts educator, and an arts administrator at the Ontario Arts Council.
In this role, she manages arts education granting programs that connect
arts communities and learners of all age, partnerships with school
boards connecting artists to teachers and students, and partnerships
with arts organizations to develop artists’ pedagogical skills across
the province of Ontario. She has worked both in and outside of the
education system as an arts educator. She has also worked for arts
organizations like the Art Gallery of Ontario, Inside Out Toronto
Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, and Images Festival. Nas is
committed to equity and access in arts education recognizing its vital
importance to building a healthy arts ecology. Born and raised in
Toronto, Nas is a second generation immigrant and of mixed parentage
(Indian and Welsh).

Ami Molinelli (she/her) is a professional percussionist and educator who received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in World Music with an emphasis in percussion and performance. Currently, Ami works as a music integration specialist at Music In Schools Today and has created an early education music and literacy program, Music FIRST!, in collaboration with Head Start sites in San Mateo County. With MUST, she also worked with San Francisco Unified and their SLANT (science, arts and learning integration) department to create music and science curriculum. In addition, she also works as a curriculum specialist for the San Francisco Jazz Festival and Living Jazz. She has been a teaching artist for over 15 years and has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic both as a teaching-artist of percussion and in curriculum development. She collaborated in publishing percussion curriculum for a “Jazz and the Orchestra” series in 2010 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and was part of their team that received and “award of excellence” in orchestra education from the Bank of America Foundation. She has worked as an “artist-in-residence” for the Los Angeles Music Center, SOTA/School of the Arts High School in San Francisco, San Francisco’s El Sistema Music Program, and Healdsburg School district to name a few. She still regularly gives percussion and music workshops with Living Jazz at Jazz Camp West and at the Berkeley Jazz School and performs with her Brazilian ragtime ensemble, Falso Baiano.

Louise Music (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Department of Integrated Learning at the Alameda County Office of Education. A visionary leader and bold advocate for equity in education, Music has developed innovative models for supporting professional practice and tapping creative capacities of educators for deepening and continuously improving teaching and learning. As Director for the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership, Music is charged with implementing its strategic plan: “Mapping the Next 10 Years” for the 18 school districts in Alameda County. Recent publications include “Arts Learning as Equitable and Meaningful Education,” in Artful Teaching (Teacher’s College Press, June 2010), and the Foreward to the second edition of Studio Thinking2 (Teacher’s College Press, September 2012).

Nick Rabkin (he/him) Nick Rabkin is the managing partner of reMaking Culture, a research and consulting firm for the cultural sector and philanthropy that is focused on revitalizing the arts and culture and reimagining the roles they play in building communities, making our democracy more robust, our lives richer, and leveraging learning. He has studied and advocated for the arts’ and artists’ roles in making our communities, schools, and our democracy stronger for three decades. He has been the executive director of a nonprofit theater, Chicago’s deputy commissioner of Cultural Affairs, the senior program officer for the arts and culture at the MacArthur Foundation, and directed the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College. He was a senior research scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago, where he did a major study of teaching artists who work in communities and schools across the country. As deputy commissioner, he was part of the team that developed Chicago’s first cultural plan, and he was a consultant on its second in 2012. reMaking Culture is working now on a cultural plan for the Village of Oak Park, research research on the public benefits of the arts in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, a community music project in Chicago’s infamous Back of the Yards neighborhood, and evaluations for two Chicago theater companies. Nick is the author of Putting the Arts in the Picture: Reframing education in the 21st Century (2005); an NEA monograph, Arts Participation and Arts Education in America: What Declines Mean for Participation (2011); and Teaching Artists and the Future of Education: The Teaching Artist Research Project (2011). He writes about the arts on occasion about the arts for Huffington Post.

Amy Rasmussen (she/her) has served as Executive Director of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education since 2007. CAPE inspires students to be passionate about their educations by weaving visual and performing arts into their classroom lessons. To bring their academic subjects to life through art, we partner teaching artists with Chicago Public School teachers to develop original, creative approaches to teaching and learning. This instruction integrates music, dance, drama, digital art, video and photography into classrooms; and, also expands learning beyond school walls into community sites like art studios, performance halls and exhibit spaces. CAPE’s unique approach to art-based education better engages students, improves their understanding of class material, and boosts their grades. CAPE commissions long-term research to show that integrating art into education continually improves students’ critical thinking, self-esteem and confidence. In July 2011, Amy was named a White House Champion of Change for Arts Education by President Barack Obama for her work. Amy is committed to improving the policy environment for arts education. She was on the writing team for the development of the Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Plan and continues to serve on the Ingenuity Incorporated Advisory Panel as well as the Marian Catholic High School Metro Chicago Alumni Association. Amy holds an M. A. in Arts Entertainment and Media Management from Columbia College and a B. A. in Music from DePaul University.

Jessica Mele (she/her) is a Program Officer in the Performing Arts Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In this role, she manages a diverse portfolio of grants, with a particular focus on arts education advocacy and policy. Prior to joining the Hewlett Foundation, Jessica was executive director at Performing Arts Workshop, an arts education organization in San Francisco. During that time, she was also an active arts education advocate, serving on the executive committee of the Arts Provider’s Alliance of San Francisco, the steering committee of the Alameda Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership, and the national advisory council of Teaching Artist’s Guild. In addition, Jessica advocated with community-based organizations outside of the arts sector as part of the steering committee of the Family Budget Coalition in San Francisco, which was active in drafting legislation and re-authorizing the city’s Children’s Fund and Public Education Enrichment Fund in 2014. From 2002-2005, Jessica managed the research projects of Marshall Ganz at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and served as an organizer for the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (AFSCME, AFL-CIO). Jessica holds a B.A. in Anthropology and French Studies from Smith College, and an Ed. M. in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her spare time, Jessica writes, directs and produces sketch comedy as part of Chardonnay, one of two in-house sketch groups at San Francisco’s Pianofight Theater Company.

Sandy Seufert (she/her) has over ten years of experience in teaching artist training, curriculum development, program management, teaching artistry, and professional development. She currently works as a consultant for non-profits and individuals for teaching artist training and curriculum development. Most recently she served as the Implementation Director for Turnaround Arts: California which is part of a national program from the President’s Committee of the Arts and the Humanities. Sandy’s other work in arts education has been with The Armory Center for the Arts, The Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles Opera, and The Da Camera Society. Just prior to her work in arts administration, she worked as a teaching artist in a middle school with young cellists and violinists, where she got to see just how fun teaching the arts could be. Sandy also worked in special education with Los Angeles Unified School District for over ten years, which ended up being a formative experience for her work as both a teaching artist and an arts administrator. Sandy also currently doubles as a professional cellist and folk fiddler, specializing in classical, jazz, and Scandinavian folk music, holding the value that it is important to keep her artistic practice alive. Lastly, Sandy serves the field by serving on the Regional Advisory Council for the Teaching Artist Support Collaborative of California, the Board for the Association of Teaching Artists, the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artist Guild, and the Board of the Culver City Symphony Orchestra.

Yael Silk, Ed.M. (she/her) is an arts and education specialist providing consulting services to school districts, cultural organizations, and foundations. She recently evaluated the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Turnaround Arts Initiative. Additional project work includes evaluating the STEAM grants in Allegheny County funded by the Benedum and Grable Foundations and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ indepth teaching artist residency programs. Past clients include Americans for the Arts, the RAND Corporation, Gateway to the Arts, The Pittsburgh Promise, Marin Community Foundation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission (Arts for All), Pasadena Unified School District, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms.Silk is a Barnard College graduate with a degree in music composition. She earned a master’s degree in arts education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In Memoriam

Betsy Mullins (she/her) was the Artist Services Director for Arts for Learning/Miami. Ms. Mullins studied for a Master’s degree in art history at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Before joining Arts for Learning, she taught at ArtCenter/South Florida and at several high schools in Japan. Ms. Mullins had an extensive background working with visual and performing artists from all over the world through her work with the JET Program, and volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and Go M.A.D. She worked in the capacity of After-School Program Manager with Arts for Learning for more than two years, effectively running after-school and summer camp programs at more than 25 sites before becoming the Out-of-School Director and then launching Arts for Learning’s Artist Services Department. Through this department, she brought best Teaching Artist practices to Miami by presenting workshops led by local and national experts (including individuals from The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center, and the Guggenheim Museum) and by developing and facilitating more than 60 artist professional development modules with topics ranging from student assessment and classroom management to costume design. She guest lectured at Florida International University’s Community Arts Class, presented workshops for HistoryMiami, and regularly spoke to college students about careers in the arts. In 2008, she worked with the University of Miami and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony to start the Frost MusicReach Program. Through this program, Ms. Mullins coached UM music students on how to be an effective mentor while providing quality music instruction. She passed in 2018, and her warmth and intelligence are sorely missed.