Board of Trustees


Karen LaShelle, Executive Director, Austin Together; Austin, TX

Karen LaShelle is the Executive Director of Austin Together, an organization dedicated to strengthening nonprofits in Central Texas through sustained collaborations that increase capacity and maximize impact. Karen is a highly respected nonprofit leader and was instrumental in the success of Creative Action where she currently serves as part-time Director of Strategic Initiatives overseeing the development of a new collaborative arts education facility. During her 20-year tenure at Creative Action, the organization grew from a grassroots startup into one of the largest arts education organizations in Texas, reaching more than 20,000 students every year. Karen has received many accolades for her leadership, including the 2022 Learn All the Time Legacy Leader award, being named 2015 Mission Capital Executive Director of the Year, being recognized as a finalist for the 2012 and 2013 Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and receiving the 2011 “Austin Under 40” Award. Since 2016, Karen has been a trustee of the National Guild for Community Arts Education where she has served as the co-chair of the Racial Equity Committee and is the current Board Chair. She holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MA in Community Based Arts from New York University.

Vice Chairs

Sandra Bowie; Weehawken, NJ

Sandra Bowie previously served as the Executive Director for Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy where she led the award winning art and culture organization, currently with over 25 years of service to the Brooklyn and greater New York City communities. Prior to Ifetayo, Ms. Bowie served as Executive Director for Arts Education at the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA), where she designed and led arts education programming and advocacy for one of the leading and most innovative urban teaching and learning models in the country. Ms. Bowie also co-founded the National Urban Arts for Impact Network. Ms. Bowie served as Vice President for Arts Education at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) from 2008 -2012. At NJPAC she led one of the leading arts education programs in the country.

Lecolion Washington, Executive Director, Community Music Center of Boston; Boston, MA

After over 20 years as a performing musician, 15 years as a music professor, and 10 years as an arts administrator, Lecolion Washington has established himself as a leader for the next generation of arts entrepreneurs; and he has been a staunch advocate for the relevance of music as an agent for social change. Lecolion is the Executive Director of Community Music Center of Boston. Prior to moving to Boston, Lecolion was the Co-Founder/Executive Director of the PRIZM Ensemble in Memphis from 2009-2017, and he was the founder of the PRIZM International Chamber Music Festival. In 2015, he was named as one of the Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. In 2018, he was selected as one of Musical America’s Top Professionals of the Year. In addition to his work in the community, Washington served as a bassoon professor over the course of 15 years, and he was tenured in 2008 at the age of 33. As a performer, Washington has performed solo recitals and master classes at colleges and universities all over the world. Washington has been a featured solo and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Brazil, South Africa, Canada, and Switzerland among others. As an orchestral musician, Washington has performed as guest principal and/or co-principal bassoon with orchestras such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, and Sphinx Symphony Orchestra. He served on the faculty of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa from 2006-2013. His CD entitled Legacy: Music for Bassoon by African-American Composers was released on the Albany Records label.   


Katie Smythe, Founding CEO and Artistic Director, New Ballet Ensemble & School; Memphis, TN

After a 17-year career as a professional dancer and arts educator, Smythe saw a need for a community dance program offering a high standard of ballet training for children from every corner of the city, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or ability to pay. She founded NBE based on that mission in 2002. A 2006 capital campaign to transform an unused Midtown warehouse into a 14,500 square foot facility that includes three state-of-the-art dance studios, a Pilates studio, costume shop, administrative offices, and in 2018 an Educational Resource Center for students opened.

Under Smythe’s leadership, NBE has continued to broaden its mission, expanding community engagement and reaching more children. New Ballet Teaching Artists, toured Memphis City Schools, performing and looking for talented young people, while also working with human service organizations to recruit young dancers. In 2009, NBE entered a partnership with the community of Orange Mound, creating an after-school dance program in Dunbar Elementary School. The residency has brought a number of talented young dancers into the NBE program, and it continues today.

Ms. Smythe was first elected to the National Guild Board in 2014 and served two three-year terms before rotating off the board for a year. She is seeking reelection to her third three-year term.


Kyle Carpenter, Chief Executive Officer, MacPhail Center for Music; Minneapolis, MN

Kyle Carpenter, chief executive officer of MacPhail Center for Music, began his tenure at MacPhail in September 2011, bringing 35 years of business experience coupled with significant nonprofit board experience to the organization.  Carpenter previously served as senior vice president for strategy and business development for Capella Education Company, an online graduate university serving 38,000 students.  In this role he established the company’s first-ever growth venture, Sophia Learning LLC, a social media teaching and learning website. Carpenter’s experience includes 12 years serving as president and CEO for Electrosonic Group, an international digital media company, and three vice president positions during a 20 year career with Honeywell. In the community, he is a former board chair and trustee for Twin Cities Public Television, and a former board member of the Greater Twin Cities United Way. Carpenter also serves as a director for CompView Systems, a Portland, Oregon based audiovisual systems and service company, and recently completed service as a director for the Harlem Globetrotters after 15 years. He is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in management science.  He is an avid guitarist and regularly takes lessons from a MacPhail teaching artist.

Term Trustees

Duffie Adelson (Immediate Past Chair), Life Trustee, Merit School of Music; Chicago, IL

Duffie A. Adelson served until June 2015 as president of Merit School of Music, a community music school located in Chicago nationally renowned for the caliber of instruction and level of financial support provided to thousands of students annually. Prior to her work at Merit, Adelson directed school music programs in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Adelson began her tenure with Merit as an instructor in 1982. She was appointed associate director in 1987, executive director in 1993, and president in 2007. Under her leadership student population and instructional offerings grew significantly and the organization launched a campaign raising nearly $20 Million, allowing Merit to purchase a building and to grow the endowment fund significantly.  In addition to serving as a National Guild trustee and a life trustee of Merit School of Music, she serves on the boards of ChiArts High School, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Pilgrim Chamber Players, and the Lawrence University Alumni Board. She is a member of the WFMT Radio Committee of Window to the World Communications, Inc; is a member of the Know Your Chicago Committee of the Graham School, University of Chicago; and an advisory board member of Omnia.

Matt D'Arrigo, Co-Founder and Director of the Center of Creative Youth Development at the Clare Rose Foundation; San Diego, CA

Matt D’Arrigo has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to being a champion and advocate for the arts and young people. He is the Co-Founder and Director of The Center for Creative Youth Development (CYD) at the Clare Rose Foundation in San Diego, CA. The Center is a philanthropic intermediary established to ensure that CYD funders, practitioners, organizations, and young people have access to the resources, tools, opportunities, and relationships they need to thrive. Through a collective action approach D’Arrigo oversees all local, regional, and national strategy, investments, advocacy, coalition building, and field building activities. 

Prior to joining Clare Rose Foundation, D’Arrigo was the Founder and CEO of A Reason To Survive (ARTS), a nationally recognized CYD organization based in National City, CA. His work with ARTS was the subject of the 2013 Academy Award winning documentary short “Inocente”, featured on the Today Show, was a case study in the New York Times best selling book "Decisive" by Chip and Dan Heath, and profiled in Darius Graham’s book “Being the Difference: True Stories of Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to Change the World”.

Sofia Fojas, Arts Coordinator, Santa Clara County Office of Education; Santa Clara, CA

Sofia Fojas has been a K-12 educator for over 25 years. She was a classroom music teacher and high school music director for 20 years. For 5 years, she worked in the San Francisco Unified School District’s Visual and Performing Arts Department as Supervisor for Cultural Equity and Social Justice in the Arts. She was the founding director of the SFUSD Mariachi Program in 2014. Ms. Fojas then served as Director of Visual and Performing Arts for the Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento County. Ms. Fojas has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership at the California State University East Bay. She has served on the boards of the California Alliance for Arts Education, the California Music Educators’ Association, and the California American String Teachers’ Association. Ms. Fojas was a violinist with the Stockton Symphony for 20 years and continues to play violin and viola professionally.

Lili Hussey; New York, NY

Lili Hussey lives in New York City. Most of her career has been spent in the financial services industry, and for the past 12 years with the French bank, BNP Paribas, most recently managing a regulatory project team for the Global Markets Division in the US. During the last nine years at BNP Paribas, she was active in the firm’s Corporate Responsibility initiatives. She was a founding member of the Diversity Council, a group of senior members of the firm selected to define and oversee the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy, including the grassroots establishment of employee networking groups, for which the Council won an Innovation Award. In addition, she has driven the firm’s governance and transparency of its Philanthropic Initiatives, through the establishment and direction of the Philanthropic Initiatives Council. Much of her volunteering has been in the arts.

SoYoung Lee, Executive Director, Rocky Ridge Music Center; Boulder, CO

SoYoung Lee serves as the Executive Director of the Rocky Ridge Music Center.  Under her leadership, the Center’s student participation, operating budget and donor base has more than doubled, and the fundraising committee raised over three million dollars, which was invested in scholarships, and the preservation and modernization of historic buildings. She led the development of a bold strategic plan that includes the expansion of the summer residential program to include year-round, meaningful collaborations with community music schools in Denver and Boulder, and a concert hall sited on a 17-acre campus just steps from the Rocky Mountain National Park.  

Magda Martinez, Chief Operating Officer; Mural Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Magda Martinez joined Mural Arts Philadelphia after 16 years as the Director of Programs at the Fleisher Art Memorial. As a member of Fleisher’s leadership team, Magda shaped the strategic vision of the institution. In addition, she designed and implemented Fleisher’s nationally recognized audience engagement initiative—which has been featured in the publications Staying Relevant in a Changing Neighborhood: How Fleisher Art Memorial is Adapting to Shifting Community Demographics and The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences—and the nationally recognized Teen Lounge, an arts-based drop-in program for young people between the ages 13–18, featured in the report Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts.

Magda has served as a board member of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and has served on the board of the Bartol Foundation and Taller Puertorriqueño.

Gayle Morgan; Brooklyn, NY

Gayle Morgan lives in Brooklyn, NY. She was the director of the Mary Flagler Cary Trust’s music grant program until 2009 when her retirement coincided with the closing of the Trust. She has served as chair of the National Guild and is formerly treasurer. Gayle is also on the boards of New Music USA, a national service organization that supports composers and their engagement with communities; and Roulette, an experimental music concert presenter in Brooklyn. She is on the Kaufman Music Center’s advisory board for Merkin Concert Hall in Manhattan.

Robyn A. Newhouse, Vice President/Assistant to the Publisher, The Republican; Springfield, MA

Robyn Newhouse, Ph.D., currently serves on the boards of Bay Path College, the Community Music School of Springfield, the National Conference for Community and Justice of CT and WMA, the Springfield Symphony, and WGBY (PBS channel 57 in Springfield, MA). Newhouse is actively involved with many organizations in Springfield area. She sits on the Rays of Hope Steering Committee (part of the Baystate Health Foundation), and serves on the distribution committee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. A licensed psychologist in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Newhouse received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the United States International University in San Diego, CA (Now Alliant University, Alhambra, CA). 

Nancy Ng, Executive Director of Creativity & Policy, Luna Dance Institute; Berkeley, CA

Nancy Ng is on the Professional Learning faculty at Luna where she facilitates professional development workshops; and mentors and coaches teaching artists, teachers, and social service workers committed to dance education as a way to strengthen communities. Prior to joining Luna, Ng was the Administrative Director and a resident choreographer with San Francisco’s Asian American Dance Performances (AADP). In her eight- year tenure with AADP, she presented the work of regional, national and international artists; directed outreach and education programs; and choreographed her own works which delved into Asian female stereotypes, immigration and racism. Ng is a co-founder of MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together), Luna’s nationally-recognized program for families in the child welfare system. Ng helped author the state of California’s Early Learning Foundation’s in the Visual and Performing Arts, and she was an invited reviewer for the National Core Arts Standards. 

Myran Parker-Brass; Boston, MA

Myran Parker-Brass, a native of Chicago, Illinois, is a professional musician, music educator, and administrator, with over thirty years experience providing access to quality arts education for schools and communities.  In 2011, Myran joined the Boston Public Schools (BPS) as Executive Director for the Arts providing strategic vision/planning and building capacity to deepen arts education with a focus on access, equity and quality for all K-12 students. Myran served in this capacity for nearly a decade before retiring. Before joining BPS, Myran was the Director of Education for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During her twenty year tenure she developed model programs to support arts education for all Massachusetts communities.  Myran also served as the Chair of Experiential Education at Longy School of Music at Bard College, developing the graduate program that provides teaching artist training for Longy students. Myran has served on the Arts Education Council for Americans For The Arts, the Board of Overseers for the Museum of Fine Arts, Board of Directors for the Boston Children’s Chorus, and Board of Overseers for Landmark Orchestra. 

Erin Perry, Executive Director, Legacy Arts Project; Pittsburgh, PA

Erin Perry is a mother, wife, teacher, artist and arts administrator, and long time advocate for culturally relevant education and community engagement. She is the executive director of the Legacy Arts Project (LAP) and is passionate about the healing and transformative power of the arts. Since her first immersive experience with West African drum and dance, Erin has been on a mission to learn more about herself and the world through cultural exploration, appreciation, and expression.

As Ms. Perry has continued to evolve, so has her work. Rooted in cultural exploration, she has grown to understand the role of arts and culture in the development of a strong self-identity. As such, she has traveled throughout the African diaspora, experiencing culture through direct immersion in the activities of the people and places she has visited. From these experiences, relationships have been formed, knowledge transmitted, and bridges built, enabling Erin to develop a foundation from which to share her knowledge.

Martha Rochelle, Board President, Armstrong Community Music School; Austin, TX

Martha P. Rochelle is President of the Board of Directors of the Armstrong Community Music School in Austin, Texas.  She has worked with the school for over ten years, having served on its Advisory Board and later as a member and then chair of the Education Committee of Austin Lyric Opera, the school’s founder. Ms. Rochelle served two terms as a trustee of the opera and became president of the school’s board of directors in February 2012, when it separated from the opera and became an independent institution.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from the Southern Methodist University School of Law.

J. Curtis Warner, Jr.; Boston, MA

J. Curtis Warner Jr, born in Philadelphia PA, is an education consultant specializing in strategic partnerships and community-based non-profits with a focus on the arts. He occupied a number of posts at the internationally acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts over a 25-year period. He joined the college as Assistant to the President for Education and Community Partnerships and finished his tenure as the Associate Vice President for Community and Government Relations. He is the founder and architect of the popular Berklee City Music program that brings inner city middle and high school students from Boston and other affiliate organizations around the country to Berklee for a collegiate experience. He served as its executive director for 23 years. In the Fall of 2018 a full tuition college scholarship was created in his name. Mr. Warner holds a Music Education degree from Berklee and a Master’s in Education Administration from Cambridge College. He is most widely known among his educational peers as a primary force in the planning and creation of the Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s only high school for the visual and performing arts, for which he served as the Planning Team Chair.
From 1993 to 1996 he managed the Berklee International Network, an arrangement designed to establish mutually beneficial relationships between Berklee College of Music and centers of music with an educational commitment to the study of contemporary music abroad. Prior to joining Berklee in 1993, Mr. Warner completed a 17-year tenure with the Boston Public schools as a high school instrumental/choral music director, dean of students and assistant headmaster for student support services. He is an active drummer and performer.