Author: Kimberly Olsen

The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Elects Six New Board Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                             

July 10, 2019

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable is pleased to announce the election of six new members to the Roundtable’s Board of Directors: Ronald Alexander, Traci Lester, Toya Lillard, Ayodele Oti, Karen Sam, and Mi Ryung Song.

“The Roundtable is thrilled to have this wonderful class of experienced and talented leaders join our Board of Directors this year,” said Jennifer DiBella, Board Co-Chair, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. “We know that their demonstrated commitment to arts and community education will advance the work of our vibrant community. We look forward to their long-term impact on the Roundtable and field at large.”

Please click here for a complete list of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors.


Meet Our New Board Members

Ronald K. Alexander is an independent arts consultant, dance educator, and choreographer. He has performed with companies such as the National Ballet of Canada, the Iranian National Ballet, the Frankfurt and Hamburg Ballet Companies, and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York City. He has choreographed for numerous schools, colleges and dance companies including the Hamburg Ballet, Clark Center for the Performing Arts, The Ailey School, the Harlem School of the Arts, Boys and Girls Harbor Conservatory, the Alpha- Omega Theatrical Dance Company, and the Nanette Bearden Dance Company.

From 1994-2002, Ronald K. was a certified dance instructor with the NY Department of Education. He has held administrative and artistic positions in the following public, private and not-for-profit venues: Chairman of the Dance Department of the Harlem School of the Arts, New York (1987-92) under Betty Allen; Principal of the High School for Contemporary Arts, Bronx, NY (2003-05); and School Administrator at the Dance Theatre of Harlem,New York (2005-07) under Arthur Mitchell. He has studied the American Ballet Theatre School Training Curriculum (Primary to Level Five) under Franco DeVita and Raymond Lukens, the Vaganova Ballet Training Method (Primary to Level Three) under John White, and the New York City Ballet Workout.

Mr. Alexander has an MFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a certificate in School Supervision and Administration from the City College of New York. He has served as the Academic Principal of the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts (2008-2011) as well as a faculty member. His choreography credits include A Chorus Line (2009) and Titanic (2011) at New England’s Warner Theatre. Mr. Alexander was the subject of Five Teachers, Five Venues, a 2011 article in Dance Teacher Magazine. He is currently the Director of Education at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Youth Arts Academy in Brooklyn, NY and teaches ballet the Ailey School, the Joffrey School New York, the French Academie of Ballet and Peridance Capezio Center.


Traci Lester is Executive Director of National Dance Institute (NDI) an arts education organization founded by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise in the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage all children and motivate them toward excellence. Prior to NDI, Ms. Lester served as the Chief Executive Officer of LSA Family Health Service (LSA), an East Harlem-based human services agency. Before joining LSA, she was the Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, an early literacy, school readiness program, where she served for over a decade making waves in the field of early childhood development.

Most recently, Ms. Lester was recognized by the Manhattan Borough President as a Cultural Leader in New York City (2018). She is the recipient of the American Association of University Women’s Selected Professions Fellowship (1998), the National Association of Health Service Executive’s Community Service Award (2004), and was named to TheGrio’s 100 List as an African-American history maker and industry leader in the field of education (2012). She is also a member of the Greater New York Association of Fundraising Professionals and the American Society for Public Administrators Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society.

She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, a Master of Public Administration from California State University and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management. (Photo credit: Eduardo


Toya Lillard is Executive Director of viBe Theater Experience. A native Houstonian, Toya graduated from Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts. She has directed plays, developed curricula, led advocacy efforts and implemented innovative teaching artist training programs both in and out of our city’s schools. Prior to joining viBe, Toya served as Director of School Programs for The New York Philharmonic’s Education Department, where she helped to develop its nationally recognized School Partnership Program. In addition to leading viBe Theater Experience, Toya is also part-time faculty at The New School, where she teaches Global Dramatic Literature, Devised Theatre, and Portfolio 1. Toya is also an adjunct professor at CUNY CityTech, where she teaches Black Theater. Toya holds a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Toya serves on the Board of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable, and is an Affiliate Representative on the Board of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance.


Ayo Oti, SHRM-CP is a certified human resources professional who enjoys creating impact through strategy and operations. Her experience spans from working in startup environments to establish key processes around data management and human resource operations, to working within more established programs to bring entrepreneurial insights to the management of existing projects. She has worked in a variety of sectors and across different functional areas.

In 2016, Ayo was part of the launch team for the CUNY Cultural Corps initiative that provided paid internship experiences for CUNY students and alumni at various cultural institutions, thanks to the Department of Cultural Affairs and The Rockefeller Foundation.  While not currently working in the cultural sector, Ayo is a patron of museums and performing arts organizations. She is currently an Apollo Young Patron and part of the Alvin Ailey Young Patrons Circle. She is excited to learn from, and contribute to, NYCAiER as an At-large board member.


Karen Sam, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, has worked at several international firms. Currently, she writes on the law of taxation. She is also an accomplished amateur musician.





As Executive Director of Decoda since 2017, Mi Ryung Song leads structural growth strategies to expand the NYC-based chamber music collective’s performance, civic engagement, and artist training initiatives around the world. Her previous roles included fundraising at the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, artistic planning at New York City Opera, strategic planning at the League of American Orchestras, and special projects at The Cleveland Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, among others. Motivated early on by the unique role of artists to broaden community access to the arts, her first job supported a range of programs managed by the Office of Educational Outreach at The Juilliard School. Prior to a career in arts management, she earned her B.M. in flute performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Born in South Korea, she grew up on the US west coast and currently lives in Lower Manhattan in New York City.


About the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. We are a community of organizations and individuals that shares information, provides professional development, and communicates with the public to promote our work in schools and beyond. Founded in 1992, the Roundtable produces a major annual conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs; a destination website; and other activities, in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for over 1,000 individuals and member organizations.

For more information please visit:

Social Justice Workshops from Seachange Collective

Incorporating Gender & Sexuality Into Social Justice Work **NEW WORKSHOP**

June 7 , 2019, 9am-5pm, hosted at Synergos, Midtown Manhattan, NYC

Join our gender & sexuality workshop to go beyond the basics of inclusion, to incorporate a more complex understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality in non-profit programs, community organizing, and everyday life. We’ll explore what the buzzwords really mean, and how these aspects of our identity intersect with different forms of oppression. You’ll gain theory and practical tools to incorporate a holistic gender justice lens to program design, implementation, and beyond.

Register by May 17 for 15% off!

>>> Click here to learn more: Seachange Collective Gender & Sexuality Workshop <<<


Grounded Program Design: Incorporating Anti-Oppression Approaches to Social Justice

June 10, 2019, 9am-5pm, hosted at Civic Hall, Chelsea, NYC

How can we effectively “do good” in our non-profit programs, school activities, community organizing, and lives? How can we ensure that our good intentions aren’t reinforcing inequality and injustice? This interactive,1-day workshop will introduce you to the 6 steps of Grounded Program design and give you tools to build programs based in community needs and justice – rather than assumed knowledge and charity.

Register by May 17 for 15% off!

>>> Click here to learn more: Seachange Collective Grounded Program Design Workshop <<<

You’re Invited to Mark Morris Dance Group’s Curriculum Slam!

Calling All Dance Educators!

Mark Morris Dance Group is announcing our first Curriculum Slam, taking place on June 13, 2019 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the Mark Morris Dance Center (3 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11217). We are excited to invite you to attend and, if you wish, apply to present at this gathering for Dance Educators throughout New York City. Find important details below:

What is a Curriculum Slam?

The Mark Morris Dance Group Curriculum Slam is an opportunity for Dance Educators working with students of any age group to share an activity they find particularly successful in their classroom. Borrowing its name from Poetry Slams, presenters are meant to demonstrate activities concisely, with the main learning objectives and logistics of the activity comprising most of the presenter’s designated time. With a goal of providing a collegial, fun opportunity to learn from our peers, we welcome anyone to apply. Please note, there is NO FEE to participate, either as an attendee or presenter. A broad agenda will be as follows:

  • 4:15-4:30pm – Doors open
  • 4:30-4:35pm – Welcome people into the room
  • 4:35-4:45pm – Reminder of objectives and format
  • 4:45-6:15pm – 7 presenters each presenting one activity
  • 6:15-6:30pm – Wrap-Up/Reflection

I don’t want to apply to present, but I want to attend; where can I RSVP?

RSVP to let us know you’re attending the event by CLICKING THIS LINK. 

What are the steps for applying?

All Dance Educators interested in applying can CLICK THIS LINK to fill out the application form by May 22, 2019 at 6:00pm.

How many and What type of activities will be selected to be presented at the Curriculum Slam?

The MMDG Education team will select (lottery style) 7 presenters to demonstrate their activity as part of the Slam. Each presenter will have 7 minutes to talk about/demonstrate their activity and an additional 5 minutes to answer questions from the audience about it. Applicants will be notified whether they have been selected to present by May 29, 2019. Things Educators can think about prior to selecting the activity they choose to submit on their application are:

  • What age group is your activity for?
  • Where does it fall in your lesson plan? In your curriculum map?
  • What is the main learning objective for your students?
  • Why is this dance skill/concept important for your students to master?
  • How does this skill/concept transcend genre so that it is relevant to all dance styles/forms?
  • How does this activity address musicality?
  • Where/how does this activity make space for a multitude of learning styles and abilities?
  • How will you teach this activity to a room full of Dance Educators so that it includes both depth and an interactive component?

All questions can be addressed to Alex Cook at We look forward to receiving your applications and RSVPs! See you on June 13th.

Shape the Next 25 Years of Arts Education in NYC (and enter to win a free Face to Face Registration!)

Basking in the glow of our 25th Anniversary, the Roundtable is now embarking on a strategic planning process to discover how we can best support YOU!

We’d like to ask you to take a moment and fill out the following survey (and share with your full staff and contacts!). This survey is a pivotal moment for the Roundtable to harness the expertise of our arts in education community by enabling members and non-members to weigh in on the organization.

Complete this survey by March 31 and enter to win a FREE Face to Face registration!


Create your own user feedback survey

NYSCA Face to Face 2019 Regrant Program

  • Conference Dates: Wednesday, April 24 & Thursday, April 25, 2019
  • Time: Full-Day
  • Application Deadline: Extended to Monday, March 11, 2019 at 11:59 EST

The only event of its kind in NYC and the largest in the state, Face to Face is a professional development conference for arts administrators, teaching artists, and others interested in the field of arts in education. The conference strives to demonstrate effective teaching and learning strategies for practitioners in the field of arts in education, as well as to provide forums for discussion of other critical issues such as policy and advocacy, assessment, fundraising, and organizational management. The conference encompasses approximately 45 break-out sessions, keynotes, a plenary session, and two networking events.

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable is currently accepting applications to the NYSCA Face to Face Upstate (& Long Island) Arts Educator & NYC Unaffiliated Teaching Artists Subsidy Programs in conjunction with our upcoming Face to Face Conference on April 24-25. In order to be considered for either subsidy program, applications must be submitted by 11:59PM EST on March 11, 2019 via the online form below.

Please email all supplemental materials and questions to


NYSCA Face to Face Upstate (& Long Island) Arts Educator Subsidy Program

Qualified applicants from upstate New York and Long Island are invited to submit an application for funds toward the cost of travel and accommodation to attend the conference. With the support of the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable is offering 25 subsidies to qualified upstate and Long Island arts educators to attend Face to Face 2019.

Each subsidy includes the following:

  • $175 travel subsidy from a New York State location to NYC
  • $200 accommodation subsidy
  • $75 registration subsidy

Recipients must commit to attending the entire two-day conference.

CLICK HERE to see guidelines for Upstate NY Arts Educators Program.


NYSCA Face to Face NYC Unaffiliated Teaching Artist Subsidy Program

Up to 20 unaffiliated teaching artists based in New York City will receive a registration subsidy to attend the conference.

With the support of the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable is offering up to 20 subsidies to unaffiliated NYC teaching artists to attend Face to Face 2019. Each subsidy includes the following:

  • $75 registration subsidy

CLICK HERE to see guidelines for the NYC Unaffiliated Teaching Artists Program.

Recipients must commit to attending the entire two-day conference.


About the Roundtable: The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable is a member-driven organization for arts in education professionals who collaboratively provide and participate in high quality professional development programs for the arts in education community. The Roundtable is the only organization exclusively dedicated to provided networking, skills building, and best practice sharing for arts educators in New York. Currently, there are over 970 members, including 163 organizations. The Roundtable’s programs are rooted in the need for high quality arts education programs. Our goal is to assist arts educators to do their best work, helping students succeed in and through the arts. The Roundtable’s primary activities include our annual two-day Face to Face arts in education conference and monthly professional development programs. 

Day of Learning 2019 Panel Discussion: Voices and Views from Inside/Outside

On January 15, 2019, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable held it’s 4th Annual Day of Learning on Equity and Inclusion. Our theme this year was, “Creating Change from Within.” We invited the NYC Arts Education community to reflect on the ways we can each serve as agents of change within our organizations. What are the skills and new capacities we need to cultivate that will catalyze change within our communities? And who are the partners and collaborators who are vital to a more equitable distribution of power and resources across the field?

The panel discussion entitled “Voices and Views from Inside/Outside” was filmed for the Roundtable Archives.

Moderator: Philip A. Alexander, Arts in Education Director, Brooklyn Arts Council

Panelists: Courtney J. Boddie, Director of Education/School Engagement, The New Victory Theater; Lilaia Kairis, Director of Digital Services, The New 42nd Street; Richard Paz, Newark Museum’s DAMLI student intern & GlassRoots Teaching Artist; Sonnet Takahisa, Director, Strategic Education Initiatives, Newark Museum

Session Description: Administrators and Artists share experiences and strategies of promoting inclusion and equity from inside arts institutions, such as a performing arts company and a museum. This discussion will be rooted in real-world experience and will offer strategies participants can take with them.

Day of Learning 2019 Panel Discussion from NYC Arts in Education Roundtable on Vimeo.

Taking the Leap- A Teaching Artist’s Journey from Corporate to Classrooms

When people think about professional success, they usually imagine working for a prestigious employer that pays handsomely and provides excellent benefits. In 2010, I began working for said employer: A reputable, boutique investment consultant that not only offered health insurance benefits but also paid 100% of those benefits for each employee. Employees were also able to get their copayments reimbursed and could allocate their wages toward their 401K plan, which the company matched at 6%. I was thriving—professionally and financially. I had great rapport with my colleagues and clients. My salary enabled me to save, invest, and have discretionary income that I did not have just a few years prior. I was happy until the stress of the job started to wear on me. I began questioning how this job fit into my overall life’s purpose.

After a few years of feeling unfulfilled in an industry I once loved, I found myself at a crossroad. How did I end up here…again? I thought finance was it, but now I was questioning my purpose, and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. By this time, in 2015, I had doubled as an analyst and actor for two and ½ years. Acting was a childhood dream once deferred. Now that I was doing it, I wanted to do more of it. While I was grateful for all of the professional, corporate opportunities I had, I could not ignore the fact that something was missing. I could not ignore the void I felt, and the dying my soul experienced each time I had to go into work. I felt my creativity stifling as I continued the cubicle-life day after the day. I was searching for something and my desire to “not retire from this job” or “die in this cubicle” led me on a walk down the aisle.

“How can I marry my passions?” The resounding reverberation against the backdrop of my life rang loud and clear on a September day in 2015. A Google search of theater arts, literacy advocacy, and social justice led me to NYU’s Educational Theatre program. A few emails and a phone call later, I planned my trip to NYU’s (April) 2016 Educational Theatre Forum. It was there, on the last day of the forum, that I learned about Community-Word Project (CWP), a New York City-based arts-in-education organization that facilitates collaborative arts residencies and a teaching artist training program. “It’s not NYU, and it’s not a Masters program, but we train teaching artists too.” These words echoed in my mind as I traveled back to the Bay Area where I lived at the time. Given that teaching artistry would be my third career venture, I decided that racking up another student loan would not be financially sound. I decided not to apply to NYU and applied to CWP instead. In August 2017 I left my well-paying, benefit-endowing finance job to embark on a new career. In October, I moved back to my “native” New York, and three days later, I began training with CWP. I received a letter of completion eight months later. I began applying for teaching artist work, and landed gigs with organizations that do work I respect

Fast forward to the start of the 2018 school year: It was time to share the organizations’ curricula and what I learned from CWP, my years of acting, and my life experiences with the students in my residencies. I was beyond stoked! While I am so thankful for all of my training and experiences, nothing could have prepared me fully for what happens in the moment. I knew that there was no set approach when interacting with a diverse group of students. What I did not know is what I would do on the days when things went awry. For the first month and a half, most of the students participated fully, devised beautifully, and created above and beyond what I had expected. I was joyous and excited. So much so, that on the other days—the days they did not want to circle up or devise, I felt defeated. I felt as though I had failed them and myself. I began to question whether I had made the right decision to leave my cushy, finance job for a less prestigious role that now appeared to be the wrong trajectory. I could not believe I was at the crossroad again trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life. A migraine ensued for a week. In the midst of the frenzy, I reached out to my peers: my teaching partner from CWP, a current teaching partner, and an acting friend. The consensus: Middle school is a tough age, social justice work is not easy, and teaching is hard. Even the most tenured teachers experience rough days.


I listened.

How do you stay committed to the marriage and continue to find the passion when the exchange no longer presents itself as you had envisioned?
How do you turn what may appear as a chaotic, “this is going to sh%8” moment into an experience where both you and the students can benefit? How do you get them to stay engaged? I began to ask myself questions. I began to exhibit self-compassion. In doing so, I realized a few things:

  1. I am a new artist and a new teaching artist.
  2. Though I was now at the two-month mark, my students see me for less than an hour, once a week (a total of eight sessions thus far); and while they like me and respect me, there will be days when they are just not in the mood. It isn’t personal!

I was doing myself a huge disservice by weighing myself down with, “Perhaps I’m not cut out for this work.” Self-compassion enabled me to recall all of the times I redirected and re-engaged the students. How did I do this you may ask? I’ll tell you, but remember, there is no one formula. One particular incident stands out. I instructed the students to walk around the room and stop at various stations that had photos of people from around the world. After looking at the photos, the students would devise based on what they saw. Instead of the gallery walk, I had imagined, the classroom became grounds for roughhousing. I collected the photos, asked the students to join me in a circle, and sat down with them. I did not chew them out. I was frustrated, but I was patient and remained calm. I ditched the curriculum in the way that it was structured. Rather than have them devise, I asked them what they saw and how the images made them feel. I knew this group liked to talk and rationalize and thought this may be a way to get them to refocus. We had a riveting discussion!

There is no exact science to teaching artistry and anything involving the arts. In my previous world, there were plenty of exacts. When dealing with people’s money, there was no room for error or flexibility. I still carry that world with me, because I lived it for so long. I am now learning how to unlearn that science for the moments where it does not serve me (there are times when it is useful). In the teaching artist realm, I know that the plan does not work every time, and as such, the alternative I employed will not always work either. Being present, being invested in adaptability, and self-inquiry will serve you each time. The acting friend I reached out to reminded me that questioning my art is what a true artist does, and that the questioning is artistic. I will continue to explore self-inquiry and inquiry of all of the moments that I experience. It is this questioning that will allow me to grow. It is this questioning that will continue to spark the passion that lit my soul ablaze that September day in 2015 when I first learned what a teaching artist is. I thought, “Wow! I don’t have to choose among all of the things that I enjoy doing. I can bring all of me to my work!” Marriage is about bringing your full self to the union while leaving room to be present and adaptable, and for inquiry, hence growth. I now rest assured that teaching artistry was the best career choice I have made since graduating high school. It is a walk down the aisle and an “I do” that allows me to show up fully as AnJu.

What exchanges will you commit to during this new year that will allow you to show up fully as yourself?


AnJu Hyppolite is a Brooklyn-born, Queens-bred Haitian poet, actor, author, advocate, and arts collaborator. She works at the intersection of theater arts, literacy advocacy, and social equity. AnJu is a member of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable’s Teaching Artist Affairs Committee.


CAE Teaching Artist Salon — Cultivating Partnership in the Classroom: Communication, collaboration, and success

Partnership among collaborating elements is one of the backbones of teaching artistry. This hands-on workshop will offer the opportunity to participate in a co-facilitated mini-lesson, discuss best practices with teaching artists and teachers, and participate in a practical exploration of collaboration. 

This public event is designed for teaching artists, but is open to any interested arts educators. 

RSVPs required. 

When:                 Tuesday, February 12th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Where:                The Center for Arts Education’s Center Space (formerly known as the Conference Room)

                                266 W. 37th Street, 9th Floor

                                New York, NY 10018


Please let us know if you have any questions and we hope to see you there!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                             

December 20, 2018

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has appointed Kimberly Olsen as Managing Director. Olsen is a teaching artist, director, arts administrator, arts-integration consultant, and NYS-certified special education teacher. She has worked in arts education for more than nine years, with five of those years spent in New York City.

Olsen has been on staff with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable since September 2017, first serving as Face to Face Conference Manager for the 25th Anniversary Conference and most recently stepping in as Interim Managing Director. She has had a prolific career as a teaching artist working in over 30+ schools across the tri-state area with organizations like New York City Center, ArtsConnection, Queens Theatre, and McCarter Theatre Center. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood & Special Education from the State University of New York Geneseo and a Masters of Science in Educational Theatre from the City College of New York.

“The Board of Directors has been continually impressed by Ms. Olsen’s keen leadership strategies, extraordinary skills in marketing and social media, and her natural capacity for organizing systems and protocols. Her extensive background as an artist, educator, and administrator make her the perfect choice for our new Managing Director,” said Jennifer DiBella, Co-Chair of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors. “Everyone at the Roundtable knows that she will bring her experience and positive energy to help us continue to meet the professional development and networking needs of arts education practitioners throughout NYC and beyond.”

She is thrilled to continue working with the Roundtable in this increased capacity and hopes to create more professional development opportunities for the 1,000 plus educators, administrators, and advocates that come in contact with the Roundtable each year.

About The Roundtable

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. We are a community of organizations and individuals that shares information, provides professional development, and communicates with the public to promote our work in schools and beyond. Founded in 1992, the Roundtable produces a major annual conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs; a destination website; and other activities, in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for over 1,000 individuals and member organizations.

For more information please visit: