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CAELI Class of 2017

Kathleen Allen is currently the managing director of Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO), having recently moved into this leadership role after serving as the director of education programs and partnerships, where she was responsible for long-term partnerships with 27 area public schools. Previously, Kathleen established the position of Community Arts Liaison for Seattle School District. As a consultant, she has advised on curricula, program design, learning assessments and evaluation strategies for non-profits, public television, and school districts. Her career began in museum education having worked in education departments at the Seattle Art Museum, High Museum of Art in Atlanta and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Kathleen presents nationally and has taught students from the preschool through university level. As a community volunteer, she has been on the board of organizations that empower parents of diverse backgrounds to engage in schools. Kathleen received a bachelor’s degree at Vassar College and an M.A. in education from Harvard University.


Philip Asbury is the program manager at Philadelphia Mural Arts. Prior to joining the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philip held the position of registrar at Fleisher Art Memorial, where he managed the cyclical registration process for over 1600 adult and youth students annually.  Before Fleisher, Philip worked at the School District of Philadelphia for eight years as a special project assistant, managing data and accommodations for special needs students. Phillip earned his B.A. in business marketing and Spanish at at Morehouse College, and he later received his M.A. in art administration from Drexel University. In addition to work as an art administrator, Phillip has kept active with his own artistic pursuits. In 2007, Philip was a supporting artist on Steve Power’s “Love Letters” mural project in Philadelphia, and in 2014, he lectured at Harvard University about the impact of graffiti on contemporary art. In his personal practice he focuses on painting, photography and videography.


Durell Cooper is a native of Montgomery, AL where he was born and raised. He is a dual-state certified arts educator holding credentials in both Texas and New York State as a Theater teacher. Durell has been working at the Lincoln Center for Education for the past three years, first in the marketing department conducting outreach but most recently in the education department recruiting and training LCE teaching artists. Currently, he’s a manager in LCE’s community engagement programs department working on LCE’s partnership with NYC Department of Education’s Middle School Arts Audition Boot Camp and LCE’s Mentor-Linc program, both aimed at increasing equity and inclusion in NYC public schools and universities. Durell is an active member of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable as part of their Equity and Inclusion Task Force, and is also a 2017 panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts grant review board. Durell received his M.A. in educational theatre from New York University.


Lonnie Davis was born in Landstuhl, Germany to a military family and is a native of New Orleans, LA. Lonnie studied music at Louisiana’s prestigious arts conservatory, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, where her passion for America’s classical music, jazz, was cultivated. Displaced by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Lonnie and her family relocated to start a new life in Charlotte, NC. Lonnie is a graduate of Leadership Charlotte, Class XXXII, and is an accomplished jazz flutist who leads her own ensemble, the Lonnie Davis Quartet. In 2009, she co-founded the Jazz Arts Initiative (JAI), a Charlotte-based non-profit organization dedicated to enriching and educating the community through jazz music. Lonnie has a B.A. in psychology with a minor in music and additional graduate work in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of New Orleans and Virginia Tech.


Karen Deschere has worked as an arts administrator for over 35 years for organizations large and small on the local, statewide and national level. Karen started at the Wharton Music Center/New Jersey Youth Symphony in 2013 and spearheaded its transition to the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts as the executive director. Her past experiences include working at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music as the President/CEO; Chicago Symphony Orchestra as executive director of both the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, managing director for education for the Grammy Foundation and as executive director of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic in New York State. She is a member of the Chancel Choir at the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York. Karen holds a degree in vocal performance and music education from Syracuse University.


Patrick Dougher was born and raised in Brooklyn. He is an artist, musician and educator with over 30 years’ experience as a drummer and fine artist and over 20 years’ experience in working for community based arts and social justice organizations. He has worked as an art therapist at Kings County Hospital, a youth counselor and program coordinator at Project Reach NYC and assistant curator at The Museum of African Art. Mos recently, Patrick was the program director of Groundswell, NYC’s premiere public art and community mural organization. He has made music, art and the education and socio-emotional support of the underserved youth of the city his life’s mission.


Rachel Fritz began at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in 2007 and currently serves as chief operations officer. She serves as a member of the senior management team, oversees operations for the Conservatory’s four sites, manages the student services department and library, directs the Conservatory internship program, and maintains a small piano studio. Prior to her work at the Conservatory, she worked at the Des Moines Symphony Academy developing a group piano program and at The Academy as a general music instructor. She holds an M.M. in piano pedagogy from the University of Nebraska and a B.M. in piano pedagogy from the University of Central Missouri. She holds additional teaching certification through the International Piano Teaching Foundation. Rachel regularly adjudicates and presents throughout the region. Throughout her career she has been an active member of Music Teacher National Association and currently serves as the treasurer at the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association.


Elise Gallinot Goldman is the education director at KID smART, a New Orleans based arts education organization. Elise has been crafting imaginative and instructive collaborative artist residency and professional learning programs for over 15 years. Elise has been instrumental in developing partnerships with New Orleans arts and cultural agencies and schools and has designed and presented engaging professional development for teaching artists and classroom teachers. Elise is currently on faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero Classroom.





Noelia Garcia Carmona
was born in Spain and earned her degree in Spanish and flamenco dance from Institut del Teatre i Dansa. She was a founding member of Increpacion Danza, a Spanish Dance company that pioneered the fusion of Flamenco and Modern Dance. After 10 years of international touring with Increpacion Danza, she moved to Memphis where she met Katie Smythe, CEO and founder of New Ballet Ensemble & School. Noelia has worked at NBE for the last 14 years where she teaches ballet and flamenco classes and is dance program director. Some of the works she has choreographed include Yendo, El Rey de Harlem, Dos, Tiempos blending Flamenco and urban styles in her work. She was featured in New Ballet’s Harlem at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra in May of 2014. She lives in Memphis and has a 10 year old son, Gaines.


Kurtis Gildow is the dean of programs at Merit School of Music. A program administrator at Merit since 2009, Kurtis shares the organization’s passion for removing barriers to high-quality music education for Chicago area youth. He oversees a wide range of instruction for nearly 5,000 students across five major programs. Kurtis earned his M.A. for music performance from Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts, and a B.A. in music education from Miami University (Ohio). Since 2007, Kurtis has served as assistant professor of music at Concordia University Chicago, teaching classes in brass pedagogy to aspiring music educators and private lessons on tuba, euphonium and baritone. When not working, teaching or performing, Kurtis enjoys spending time with his wife, Chelsea, and his two young children, Charlotte and Nolan.


Cherie Hill is a teaching artist in Luna Dance Institute and is the communications manager, chief of staff, and First 5 grant manager. She is a longtime lover of dance and has taught dance to children in the Bay Area since 2005. Cherie received her B.A. in dance and performance studies from UC Berkeley where she performed with Bay Area Repertory Dance Company, was a McNair and Haas Scholar, and recipient of the Eisner Award and Stronach Baccalaureate Prize. She has published dance research in Gender Forum, In Dance, the Sacred Dance Guild Journal, and Dance Education in Practice, has presented at international conferences including the International Association of Black Dance Conference and the International Conference on Arts and Humanities. Her dance teaching project, “Creative Movement and the African Aesthetic” has been presented at the NDEO in Miami and Berkeley, and at Dance TAG Philadelphia. Cherie holds an M.F.A. in dance from the University of Colorado Boulder & graduate certificates in Somatic, Women and Gender Studies.


Stephanie Lin Hsu is a second-generation Taiwanese American and a feminist-musician organizer. She walks in the legacy of immigrants and women of color who have fueled creative disruption in subversive and persistent ways in the struggle for a more just world. Music-making as a communal act has been a part of her lifeblood since childhood. Her path to fuse this with her background as an organizer led her to Yakima, WA in 2012, where she founded Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA), a leadership development and social empowerment program that uses ensemble-based music to center and strengthen the voices and roles of at-promise young people and their families. Stephanie also feeds her own artistry as a vocalist and bassist in La Cantina, a female-led trio whose music focuses on equity and justice. Stephanie previously worked as an educator and organizer in New York, serving on the faculty at CITYterm and as an organizer with Chinatown Youth Initiatives. Stephanie holds a B.A. in sociology, anthropology, and educational studies from Swarthmore College.


Eliza Kiser is an artist based in Raleigh, NC, where she is also the director of Pullen Arts Center, a part of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. Previously to her tenure at the City of Raleigh, she was an account executive and project manager at Point Concepts Design, an exhibit design company in Raleigh, specializing in designing and building corporate interiors, tradeshow displays, and museum exhibitions. Eliza is a graduate of NC State University’s College of Design. As an artist, Eliza considers herself to be an illustrator, although her works frequently come off the page through collaborative projects in fibers, clay, and installation. Community and creative problem solving are themes that underlie all of Kiser’s pursuits. She volunteers her time serving her community through diverse organizations from VAE Raleigh to State Employees’ Credit Union. Eliza lives in Raleigh with her husband Jason and her daughter Laurette.


Chloe Kline is education director at Community MusicWorks, where she is responsible for coordination and implementation of the organization’s educational initiatives for students and staff. Chloe also directs and designs CMW’s Institute for Musicianship and Public Service, a bi-annual professional development opportunity for musicians and artists interested in careers that unite artistry and service. Chloe received her masters of education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education; she also holds B.A. and M.A. in viola performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Kline has presented on CMW’s education programming and evaluation work for organizations including Brown University, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the New Directions in Music Education Conference, and the Continuing the Conversation Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Andre Middleton is the director of equity and digital inclusion for Portland Community Media (PCM). Andre’s career has focused on civic engagement and community service for the past 10 years. Prior to joining PCM, he was the community service coordinator at the Regional Arts and Cultural Council (RACC). Andre also taught for the visually impaired in Seattle cable access station, SCAN for four years, where he taught video production to children and inherent bias in regards to our evolving arts and cultural landscape, with a focus on how RACC’s resources could be made available to marginalized and established communities alike. Andre is a proud member of the board of trustees at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and the co-chair for the board of directors at Friends of Noise.


Shaun Neblett is the founder of Changing Perceptions Theater, a theater company that provides theater and performance training to youth in urban communities. Over the past 17 years, Shaun has created and managed multiple youth theater programs throughout low-income neighborhoods in New York City. As a playwright, Shaun was produced off-Broadway when he was 18 years old at the Public Theater. Since then, his plays have been produced internationally, off-Broadway and at regional theater venues. He is completing his 7 Homages for 7 MCs play cycle, which is a suite of seven original plays that originate from the spirit of classic hip-hop albums. Shaun’s first completed play in the cycle pays tribute to the rapper Nas’ debut album Illmatic. Shaun is also a published author. His essay Jazz, Hip-Hop, & Dad in my Subconscious was published in the 2008 nationwide anthology Be a Father to Your Child: Real Talk from Black Men on Family, Love, and Fatherhood.


Candy Nguyen Smirnow has nearly 20 years of experience supporting artists ranging from professionals at the height of their careers, to students that are just discovering their talents. She began her career in the music department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and worked her way up the corporate ladder after she completed her B.A. in music industry from University of Southern California. After 10 years at CAA, Candy’s dedication to the arts continued as she shifted her focus to arts education and advocacy in her position as interim executive director of Michigan Youth Arts. Leading a team of Michigan delegates, she was the state captain at 2013 Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. After a few brutal winters in the Midwest, she returned to her southern California roots to accept her current position of business manager/registrar for the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts. She lives in Altadena, CA where she enjoys golfing with her husband Andrew and hiking with their dogs Hank and Charlie.


Erin Perry is a mother, wife, teacher, artist, arts administrator, and longtime advocate for culturally relevant education and community engagement. As the executive director of the Legacy Arts Project, Erin has maintained a connection with the Pittsburgh Black arts community, dating back to the founder’s youth in the historic Hill District neighborhood of the city. Most recently, Erin has established partnerships with artists, arts administrators, and funders, including Sankofa Village for the Arts, the Lighthouse Project, 1Hood Media, Staycee Pearl Dance Project; Pittsburgh Public Schools and APOST; the Heinz Endowments, Pittsburgh Foundation, and more. She is also a founding member of the Nefertiti Alliance, a network of Black women artists and arts administrators who are focused on creating spaces for self-care and the maintenance of “cultural capital.” Erin also has served as an advisory board member of the TAP (Transformative Arts Process) Program of the Heinz Endowments.


Emily Reed seeks to build community and elevate our human experience through the transformative power of music. As vice president of education and community engagement for the Handel and Haydn Society, Emily oversees six youth choral ensembles, extensive programming for students in Greater Boston public schools, collegiate and adult learning opportunities, the Heartstrings ticket equity program, and a chamber concert series. Previously at H+H, Emily managed the institutions’ celebration of its bicentennial and for six years worked in individual philanthropy and special events. Her foundational experiences in performing arts administration were at the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. Emily completed her undergraduate studies in music and business management at Bucknell University and received her M.A. in arts administration from Boston University.


Amy Rosenbluth has worked with youth during in-school and out-of-school time programs since 1991. She created the Youth Leadership group and Mentoring program for the Shaker Heights Youth Center and has been facilitating Teen Poetry workshops and Slams in the Heights area for 20 years. A credentialed 7-12 English teacher and Prevention certified youth advocate, Amy is co-founder and oversees all operations of Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth. She still works directly with youth, primarily teen poets, facilitating writing and spoken word workshops, both on site and off. Amy taught as adjunct English faculty at Lakeland Community College from 1998 until 2016. She received her B.A. in English from Hiram College and her teaching certification and Master’s work from San Francisco State University. Her training in Bay Area Writers’ Project has given her a passion for and strategies in incorporating writing throughout the curriculum. She believes that all youth deserve to be heard, and uses Creative Writing as a way to make that happen.


Howard Sid Lucas is a job counselor at the National Caucus and Center for Black Aging, Inc., and a consultant at the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  He is an accomplished manager with extensive experience in education, performing arts, social services, community outreach and production. Howard has worked with The Nia Center as their strategic planning consultant and with the Philadelphia Clef Club as the education/project development consultant. He has worked with adult populations for training and employment with the National Caucus and Center for Black Aging, Incorporated and Maturity Works, A WorkPlace Opportunity geared towards helping older adults prepare for re-entry into America’s workplace. He holds an M.F.A. from Temple University Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance and a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh.


Marie Tai is the associate director at Community Music Center of Boston where she oversees the school’s operations, human resources, information systems and registration. Prior to her position, Marie served as registrar, early childhood coordinator and administrative director at CMCB and held staff positions at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her commitment to ensuring access and inclusion in the arts is influenced by the music education she received as a high school student at CMCB and Berklee City Music. She believes in the power of the arts to inspire social change and finds joy in working with students, from the young to the young at heart. Marie holds a B.M. from Berklee College of Music as a clarinet principal and majored in music business. Marie received an M.B.A. from University of Massachusetts. She is a community volunteer, tennis player, traveler, and ukulele student.


Leo Van Asten is the executive director at Rhapsody Arts Center. Leo began teaching in 1998 through the Conservatory for Creative Expression at Universtiy of Wisconsin Stevens Point. In the 12 years since, he has taught many ages and abilities and has seen countless students blossom and even go on to study music in college. As a soloist, composer and teacher, Leo has been making music in Wisconsin, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia and Germany. In addition to teaching music, Leo taught German at St. Lawrence Seminary high school where he also served in the role of dean of students.  As dean, Leo oversaw the disciplinary aspects of this all-boys boarding school, worked on long-term planning committees and was chairman of the discipline board. Leo holds a B.A. in music from University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and “künstlerische ausbildung” degree (equivalent to a performance masters) from Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany.


Xavier Verna arrives at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts as the executive director, after having served for five years as director of education for the Sphinx Organization in Detroit, MI. At Sphinx, Xavier oversaw the development of local and national programming. A skilled and professional percussionist and educator, Xavier received his degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater & Dance. Xavier has appeared in PBS television broadcasts with the Sphinx Symphony, Rhyta Musik, and has appeared on stages at Ann Arbor Arts Festival, Arts Beats, and Eats, and the international conference on diversity in the arts, SphinxCon. Xavier resides in Manistee County with his fiancé and her dog. In addition to the arts, Xavier is passionate about coffee, exercising, loves to cook, and enjoys travel.


Guillermina Zabala was born in Argentina and is a San Antonio-based media artist and educator. She’s a recipient of the SA Artist Foundation Award and the NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant. Currently, she is the media arts director at San Antonio’s SAY Sí, and creative lead for Project Papalote, a national and international youth art collaboration. Her artworks have been shown in numerous museums and galleries in San Antonio, including the McNay Museum, Blue Star Contemporary Arts Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art, University of Texas in San Antonio, Museo Alameda, Centro Cultural Aztlan, Artpace; as well as in NY, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami, Cuba, Spain, Argentina, and Germany. Recently, Guillermina was selected to be part of the Contemporary Art Month Perennial at the Southwest School of Arts. Additional works include the film Yanaguana Woman, the music video A Night in December, and the documentary Juanito’s Lab, about the life of blind musician Juanito Castillo, 26, proficient in 14 instruments. Guillermina holds a B.F.A. in cinema from Columbia College-Hollywood.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. www.nationalguild.org