Leadership Transformation Cohort

The Leadership Transformation Cohort is a self-reflective, transformative cohort experience through which both seasoned and emerging leaders advance their leadership skills by engaging with top leadership trainers, nationally renowned practitioners, and a diverse cohort of peers. This 6 month long cohort program includes a five-day in-person retreat, peer-mentoring, and follow-up coaching. Learn about our faculty.

We're excited to announce our inaugural Leadership Transformation cohort! 

Leadership Transformation Cohort

Julia Aguilar Jerez (she/her), Teaching Artist, Great Bend Center for Music; Union, WA

Julia Aguilar Jerez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnomusicology with a minor in Visual and Performing Arts Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of Washington. She has over a decade of experience in arts education and arts administration in schools across California, Washington, Spain, and China. Her main instrument is the clarinet but she also has several years of experience in world music ensembles playing music from North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Her work reflects the belief that everyone is intrinsically musical. Her goal is to encourage lifelong learning and help students of all ages connect with the joy that music brings. Her passion for teaching stems from interdisciplinary approaches to music education, community engagement, and social justice. She also spends time crafting, learning languages, and visiting museums.

Brittany Arnold (she/her), Community Engagement Manager, Scottsdale Arts; Scottsdale, AZ

Brittany Arnold is the Community Engagement Manager for Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. Her passion lies in meaningfully connecting with communities through the creativity of teaching artists and giving young people the platform to be arts advocates for their community. Arnold received her MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on community engagement and her BA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance with a Minor in Art History from Arizona State University. At Scottsdale Arts, she oversees one of the longest-standing teen art programs in the country, titled Visions. She also cultivates symbiotic partnerships and relationships with schools/universities, libraries, and after-school organizations who would otherwise not have access to quality arts programming.

Charisse Bailey (she/her), Director of Programs, Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth; Cleveland Heights, OH

Charisse Bailey is my name. I am soul full of beautiful dichotomies and a proud Falcon of Bowling Green State University. I began my career in community work as a program assistant on an 80-acre rehabilitation farm. I have turned many pages and chapters since in the work of youth development and arts education. I am currently serving as the Program Director of Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth. Creative expression and transformative arts is at the very core of what I do and guides my leadership. I have done many things and the greatest achievement I have accomplished is betting on myself to make a difference and providing space for others’ to do the same through trust and belief.

Laura Burcaw (she/her), Operations Manager, Community Music School; Allentown, PA

As the Operations Manager at Community Music School, Laura oversees human resources initiatives and program operations, guiding a team of talented music teachers and administrative staff. Within the context of an arts-centered nonprofit organization, Laura previously gained experience in fundraising, customer service, and program coordination. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Lock Haven University and a certification for Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR). Laura places a strong emphasis on fostering a positive work culture and implementing best practices. She aims to optimize employee well-being and organizational success. Outside of work, she is passionate about music and has played piano most of her life. She enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and spending time at home in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two adopted greyhounds.

Mylene A. Cahambing (kapwa tao), Multimedia DreamWeaver ARTibista; Oakland, CA

They are a multimedia DreamWeaver ARTibista, twin sister, childless aunt, loving wife, and beloved daughter of Bisayan parents from the Islands of Bohol and Cebu, Pilipinas. They enjoy nature, hand ceramics, bangka-crafting, and poetry. r.a.d adores kitty Bestie Betsie and Deng Deng, who just had 3 puppies.

Magee Capsouto (she/her), Associate Director, Equity Arc; Philadelphia, PA

Magee Capsouto is an arts administrator, educator, and violinist with a passion for building opportunity and access in classical music through collective action. As Associate Director at Equity Arc, Magee is a key partner in charting the strategic responses to organizational and sector challenges, empowering team members to drive success, and shaping and executing organizational strategy. She also has the privilege of facilitating the development of innovative initiatives such as the Common Application for Summer Study and the National Pathways Festival Orchestra, empowering young musicians to advance to their musical goals and removing barriers to inclusion. In 2023, Magee was recognized by Musical America Worldwide as one of their Top 30 Professionals. While pursuing her doctorate, Magee served in a variety of administrative and educational roles, garnering experience supporting young musicians at different stages of their development. In teaching and performing across Colorado’s Front Range, she cemented her desire to build opportunities for all musicians to thrive in the field. Through her administrative and educational careers, Magee has been an avid proponent of educational initiatives and creating access to classical music. While serving as Special Projects Coordinator at Play On Philly, Magee worked with administrators and educators throughout the Greater Philadelphia region to strengthen the ecosystem of afterschool programs serving youth and their families. As a professional violinist, Magee has performed across the country with major orchestras and with dynamic soloists ranging from Sasha Cooke and Joshua Bell to Wu-Tang Clan and OneRepublic. She holds degrees from CU Boulder, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Furman University, and Bard College where her teachers included William Preucil, Harumi Rhodes, Thomas Joiner, and Ann Setzer.

Orlando Caraballo (he/him), Artist Experiences Coordinator, Cleveland Print Room; Cleveland, OH

Orlando is a visual artist born and raised in Cleveland’s West Boulevard neighborhood. He holds a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a Major in Drawing and emphasis in Printmaking. His artwork is rooted in imaginative world-building that investigates the relationship between personal and cultural identity and the pursuit of meaning in a world filled with grief, hardship, and opportunity communal love. Also an arts administrator, Orlando serves as the Artist Experiences Coordinator at the Cleveland Print Room, creating invitational opportunities and providing resources for artists/photographers of all ages to build community and cultivate holistic creative practices through salons, residencies, fellowships, and focus groups. As Paulo Freire said, “Dialogue cannot exist without humility,” an attitude that Orlando brings to the Print Room’s strong commitment to community centered work that teaches and empowers through thoughtful exchange and intentional praxis.

Michelle Clesse (she/her), Deputy Director, Union Project; Pittsburgh, PA

Michelle is an engagement escalator, data junkie, spreadsheet fanatic, and visual artist. She believes clay can and should be used to unite people and build empathy. She is dedicated to making sure everyone has the chance to explore clay. Outside of UP, Michelle really enjoys baking, lifting weights, and making spreadsheets to track all sorts of nonsense.

Rebecca Cruse (she/her), Deputy Director, South Dakota Arts Council; Pierre, SD

Rebecca Cruse is the deputy director at the South Dakota Arts Council, where she coordinates Arts Education, Community Development, and Cohort programs along with Communications, Legislative Relations, and DEIA initiatives and monitoring. She also runs the Film South Dakota program for the state Department of Tourism. Cruse has been with the agency since 2009. She holds degrees in theater, creative writing, and Spanish and earned her Ph.D. in international public policy in 2019. Cruse lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her dog, Maui. They enjoy hiking, biking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, yoga, and playing in the snow.

Adia Edmondson (she/her), Arts Administrator and Teaching Artist; Mount Vernon, NY

Adia Edmondson (she/her) is a dancer, arts administrator, and community leader with diverse experiences in the arts and community leadership. She recently graduated from Drexel University, where she received a Master’s degree (MS) in Arts Administration and Museum Leadership and a minor in Arts in Public Health. Outside of the classroom, Adia participated in a 450-hour Pilates teacher training program at Drexel’s Pilates studio, a College Teaching non-credit certificate program, and various community service programs in Philadelphia. Prior to pursuing this degree, Adia received her BA in Dance and Theater with a concentration in Dance Therapy and a minor in Studio Art and Psychology from Manhattanville University in Purchase, NY. Adia has engaged in a variety of experiences in community service, education, and the arts, working with other organizations such as JUNTOS Collective, The DREAM Program, Pentacle, PennLiveArts, Dancing Classrooms, Groove With Me, City Year, Tessitura, Tom O’Conner Consulting Group, and others. Adia’s long term goal is to teach in higher education within a performing arts and/or arts administration department, as well as teach diverse movement/fitness styles in a variety of community settings.

Jorge Espinosa (he/him), Education Program Manager, MOCA; Los Angeles, CA

Jorge Espinosa is the Education Program Manager for Teen and Family Programs at MOCA, Los Angeles. He has worked at the museum for 12 years and has found a community of art educators who are as passionate about the arts as they are about the people they serve, always putting the learner/visitor first. Through the different teaching methods he uses for the various programs he works with, he seeks to give the learner the space and time to be heard. Contemporary art can be intimidating for some people, so one of his ongoing goals is to make complex ideas accessible to a wider audience. Combining his work as an arts administrator and educator with his own art and music practice, Jorge Espinosa is currently studying for an MFA in Sound Art at the University of Barcelona, Spain. He holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York, and a BA in Fine Arts from the Universidad Central del Ecuador.

Dan Faltz (he/him), Director, Huntington Beach Art Center; West Hollywood, CA

Dan loves how the arts allow for expression and meaning-making for all ages, cultures and abilities. Dan has developed, coordinated and facilitated arts programs for youth, educators, the public, and adults experiencing incarceration. Since 2019, he has served on the City of West Hollywood Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, where he helps develop all aspects of the city's public art programs and cultural initiatives. Dan currently serves as director for the Huntington Beach Art Center, a community art studio and exhibition space. Dan previously served as assistant curator of education at the Ontario Museum of History & Art, coordinated the Alliance for California Traditional Arts' statewide Arts in Corrections program, and served as programs manager for UCLArts & Healing and in several roles at the Academy Film Archive and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Dan has degrees in media arts from UC Berkeley and USC School of Cinematic Arts and will complete his second master's in community art this summer. He is an alum of Arts for LA's ACTIVATE, Cal State LA Community Teaching Artist Program, the Studio
Museum in Harlem Education Practicum, and Teaching Artist Project.

Megan Hatch (she/her), Teaching Artist; Portland, OR

Megan Hatch (she/her) is an creator, curator and community arts worker living on the land of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, and Molalla peoples. Her experiences of growing up rural, working class and queer created a deep desire to shift the paradigms that control the production of, access to, and connection with art. "I know, deep down, that the arts are essential to our collective thriving," she says. "They're how we're going to find our way." After earning a BA in Studio Art from Carleton College, she has spent many years creating art, teaching in communal spaces, and curating exhibitions in often nontraditional environments. She originated and for many years led The Art of Healing, a multidisciplinary arts program centered in an inner-city hospital in Minnesota. She currently runs the exhibition program for a community-based center in Oregon, where artists from the community choose the shows and shape the programming each year. Some of her art, and more of her words, can be found at www.meganhatch.com.

Dana Heng (she/her), Manager of Artist Mentors, New Urban Arts; Providence, RI

Dana Heng is an interdisciplinary visual artist and youth worker based in Providence, RI. She attended youth arts organizations, including New Urban Arts, AS220 Youth, and The Steel Yard, as a student during her years at Classical High School. While in college at the University of Vermont, she studied sociology and studio art, continuing to foster a creative and social practice that was instilled in her as a teen in the Providence youth arts scene. Upon returning to RI, Dana dove right back into the NUA community, where she is now employed as the Manager of Artist Mentors. Greatly influenced and inspired by the people and philosophy at NUA, Dana’s practice outside of her day-job is often community-driven. She co-founded Binch Press in 2018, a member-based print shop centering queer and BIPOC artists. She has co-organized the annual Queer/Trans Zinefest in Providence, RI, which is a zine fair and event for independent publishers and artists. In her personal creative practice, Dana makes work based on food culture and memory as it relates to identity and belonging. She was the recipient of the 2019 RISD Museum Artist Fellowship, 2021 Santa Fe Art Institute Labor Residency, 2022 Interlace Project Grant, 2023 Steel Yard Ceramics Micro Residency, 2024 Providence Commemoration Lab and has shown her work in galleries around Providence. She is currently serving on Providence’s Art in City Life Commission, a community board that advises the city’s administrators on public art projects. She is a collector of random skills and hobbies (her most favorite is cooking), driven by curiosity and a desire to learn and to share.

Rangsey Keo (she/her), Director of Finance & Administration, National Guild for Community Arts Education; New York, NY

Rangsey Keo (she/her) is a specialist in operations with experience in a diverse range of industries. While pursuing her B.A. in business at Singapore Management University, she joined a coaching company as a project & logistics manager and a professional life coach, helping others improve interpersonal relationships and time management. Her adaptability and curiosity carried her into the banking industry in Cambodia where she worked as an analyst with Australia New Zealand Bank. And again, into the garment industry in New York as a production manager for apparel ordersfor stores like Macy’s, Burlington, and TJ Maxx.
At the National Guild, Rangsey was the membership and operations manager, overseeing membership administration and the organization’s general operations, before shifting to her current role as the finance director. Rangsey is an advocate of continuous learning, exploration, and capacity building. In her spare time, Rangsey travels extensively, reads books, and practices aerial arts.

Daniel Kerr-Hobert (he/him), Program Director, Snow City Arts; Chicago, IL

Dan works as the Program Director of Snow City Arts and as a longterm Ensemble Member of the Neo-Futurists Theatre in Chicago. He’s also a long-time collaborator with Blair Thomas and Company, and the former Artistic Director of Sans-culottes Theater and Manifest Theatre in Chicago. Since 2008, Dan has taught as a Theatre Artist-In-Residence at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Rush University Children’s Hospital, and Cook County Health. As a prolific writer, director, deviser, performer, and puppet designer, his work has been seen at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Second City, La Monnaie de Munt in Belgium with Manual Cinema, The Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington D.C., the Detroit Institute of Art, NJPAC, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Pritzker Pavilion, HERE Arts Center in New York, Dad’s Garage in Atlanta, and The Actors Theatre of Louisville. Additionally, he has taught at The Theatre School at DePaul University, Columbia College and the Art Institute of Chicago. Dan is an alum of the acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Rebecca Kirk (she/her), Artist and Educator; Jamaica Plain, MA

Rebecca Ann S. Kirk is a connector. She connects people, places, and ideas to create synergy, resonance, even magic. Rebecca is a curious explorer, a deep listener, and an embodied learner. Her career is woven at the intersection of community, education, and arts. She creates a generative space where people gather to collaborate with their whole selves alchemizing new learning, healing, growth, creation, connection, and celebration. Rebecca is an educator, a facilitator, an artist, a mentor, and a researcher. Rebecca knows that the essence of her work is in intentional collaboration—in communities, across differences/disciplines, and through emergence and joyful co-creation. Her leadership style offers generous authority and intuitive embodied response to the necessity of the moment. She leads with the heart of a teacher, the soul of an artist, and the spirit of an explorer. Rebecca constructs frameworks, structures in time and space with the methodical precision of an architect, except her scaffolds are invisible. Still, they are made to hold gatherings–safe, dynamic, creative places to work, communicate, relate, and share together. The blueprints are uniquely constructed each time, to best support those present in that moment and provide dynamic feedback toward generative iteration and rooting.

Yvette Roman (she/her), Teaching Artist; San Diego, CA

Yvette Roman is a bi-national artist, curator, muralist, and arts educator. She is deeply committed to making art accessible through community-organized collaboration. Her artwork explores memories of loss, self-discovery, and personal narratives set against the border landscape of San Diego and Tijuana where she grew up. She holds a B.A. from UCSD in Visual Arts and Cultural Anthropology, along with a Museums Studies Certificate from Mesa College. As a recipient of the Far South Border North grant, she co-founded Cuentame, a campaign aimed at strengthening borderlands consciousness through intergenerational storytelling and art-making. Yvette was chosen as the representative of San Ysidro for The Fleet Science Center's Art for Planetary Health initiative. In Mexico City, she participated in a dialogue about the Mexican American experience with Chicanx Sin Fronteras and La Esmeralda. She co-founded Residencia Ranchito Aurora, a collaborative space for border artists to exchange ideas, knowledge, and artistic practices and Cr34tive Gathering, a hub for artmaking and networking within the arts community. In 2022, she collaborated on Collective Memory, a public arts project through the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, Park Social. Yvette's murals and artwork adorn numerous spaces across San Diego, Mexico and Egypt.

Jacquline Smith (she/they), youth + community director, The Union for Contemporary Art; Omaha, NE

Jacquline Smith is the youth + community director for The Union for Contemporary Art. Born and raised in Nebraska, Jacquline has dedicated over 20 years of service to working with youth and in the community as an advocate, artist, educator, administrator, organizer, and volunteer. Their lifelong passion for the arts and helping others led them to earn a bachelor's degree in General Studies - Art Concentration, with a certification in nonprofit management from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In 2022, they were selected as the Nebraska representative for the inaugural National Leaders of Color Fellowship program. Prior to joining The Union in 2017, they served as a teaching artist locally at The Montessori Co-Op School and Metropolitan Community College as well as abroad in San Ignacio, Belize and BaƱos, Ecuador.

Sister IAsia Thomas (she/her/sis), Executive Director, Children's Windows to Africa; Pittsburgh, PA

Her work gives voice and presence to the juxtapositionality in all things and the power of translation, interpretation, and remembrance of Pittsburgh’s HipHop, immigration, cultural, and gang/truce chronologies. She served as equity officer for Pittsburgh Public Schools from 2014-2024 emphasizing the visibilities of continental African, Black, Muslimah, and Sisterhood's through praxis; is Director of Creative and Cultural Programs for Children’s Windows to Africa; and is Chair of Praxis and Residencies for the Black Transformative Arts Network. Her numerous tours as a community worker center on public housing communities to make creative and cultural arts accessible to children in their communities and is the most essential work that she loves. She also helped launch the Black Transformative Arts Network to center the potential and goodness of artists teaching children.  Her work in education includes The Promise of Sisterhood; unifying Muslim Sisters, African Sisters and Black Sisters as the highest priority in the mid 2000’s;  is African-centered trainer of Asa Hilliard’s “To Be an African Teacher, and has been a birth doula for twenty-two years. She is currently a doctoral candidate out theUniversity of Pittsburgh’s School of Education with a concentration on Urban Education, with graduation on the horizon in the Spring of 2024. Sister I commemorates her commitment to the rise and solidarity of Black, African, and Diasporic peoples since she arrived in Pittsburgh in 1989. She is married to the love of her life and is the mother of four daughters.

Jana Lynne (JL) Umipig (she/they), Cultural Organizer and Cultural Bearer; Bronx, NY

Jana Lynne (JL) Caldetera Umipig was born and raised in Honolulu on the Kingdom of Hawaii and currently resides on Lenapehoking Territory (Bronx, NY). She uses multidisciplinary artistic expression/creation work, intuitive, somatic and bodywork healing and decolonial, education for liberation to support her work as a cultural organizer and cultural bearer JL received her colonial institutional degrees at The Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine in Theatre and Ethnic Studies, and Steinhardt at New York University in Educational Theatre for Social Justice and Communities. JL also studied at the Accamdia Dell'arte in Arrezo Italy. Her artistic focus has been rooted in Physical Theatre, Embodied/Somatic Theatre Therapy and Transformative Community Storytelling with influences of Applied Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed Techniques. She has been doing direct service organizing work using the arts, all over the US and Internationally in detention centers, rehabilitation centers, community centers, and the homes of those in need, for over 13 years.. She spent 7 years serving through leadership at El Puente shaping programs for Creative Justice and Healing with young people in Williamsburg Brooklyn and is a founding member of the Global Justice Institute supporting the codifying of curricula to match EP's 40 years of service to the Afro-Latino movements across the US and has recently returned to EP asa recipient of the Creatives Rebuild New York initiative where she focuses on creating convening spaces for intergenerational dialogue and creation.. She also was the founding Teacher at East Brooklyn High School, building Theatre through a lens of Social Justice and Healing. She currently is the Associate Director of Curricula with OF/BY/FOR ALL supporting organizations of Arts and Culture Internationally. She is the host of podcasts Kultivating Kapwa and Our Bound Liberation and founder of Center for Babaylan Studies’ Decolonization School and Co-founder and Artistic Director/Creator of Raised Pinay through Roots of Health. Some of JL's most know creative works include the US/Internationally traveled Journey of a Brown Girl and the Diasporic Pilipinx divination tool- Kapwa Tarot.

Dacia Washington (she/her), Director, Lincoln Center Education; New York, NY

Dacia Washington, actress and arts educator, has been a theater teaching artist at Lincoln Center Institute since 1995, a member of the full-time teaching artist faculty since 2009. Formerly an adjunct professor at New York University, teaching both acting and speech in the Tisch School of the Arts. As well, Dacia has taught at Playwrights Horizons Theater School, the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, and at the Barrow Group, where she also designed and inaugurated their Conservatory Training Program. Dacia is a graduate of the Conservatory Training Program at Purchase College. She has toured internationally with the American Drama Group/Munich and nationally and regionally in the cast of Little Shop of Horrors. Her journey in the field of arts education began as a teaching artist with the National Actors Theater and continued into a longstanding tenure at Young Audiences New York.  Further affiliations included the Theater Development Fund (TDF) as facilitator for both student workshops and teaching artist professional development.  As a moderator and consultant for film screening programs at both the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, she developed professional development and student workshops for both organizations. Dacia was the Education Director at Amas Musical Theatre and is proud to have successfully acquired significant funding to provide arts programming for children and teens in community and school programs in NYC.   Having served in many pre-eminent arts education organizations, Dacia chose to dedicate her expertise and experience to Lincoln Center Education, working with pre-kindergarten through adult learners in NYC public schools, Schools of Education, and facilitating adult learners in professional development.  While much of her work is focused on impacting teaching and learning in her hometown and region, she is proud to have had the opportunity to share LCEs approach to Aesthetic Education both nationally and internationally as a facilitator of educator workshops and presenter and panelist at conferences.