Board of Directors and Staff

Kyla Searle — Managing Director

Kyla Searle is a writer, producer, and educator. She has worked in arts education for over ten years in Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago and, for the last six, in New York City. Kyla is committed to working at the intersections of arts and community development. Kyla’s work as a producer in project design and community arts practice has led her to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue, the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and numerous artist-led projects. Kyla’s work in Oakland led to Congressional recognition and she has received multiple grants to investigate arts education abroad. Kyla holds degrees in Urban Studies and Public Health from UCLA and in Arts Practice from NYU. She will receive an MFA from Brown University.

Barbara “BJ” Adler

BJ Adler is recognized nationally for her unique blend of vision, executive leadership and creative direction in the arts, education and cultural arenas. Through her Vision Emerging consulting firm she provides interim executive leadership, project management for national and community-based organizations (e.g. NEA, the National Art Education Association, the Young Audiences Network, and Create the State in California), and mentors non-profit executives.

As Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Adler implemented services to identify the nation’s most promising emerging young artists while dramatically increasing the capacity and visibility of the organization. She has produced numerous exhibitions, events and publications and has spoken and written about the development of young talent.  In her tenure at Young Audiences, Adler set the education policies for the network of affiliated organizations and administered programs to increase the educational impact of the organization’s arts education services. Her experience includes positions as Executive Director of Chamber Music America and the Kansas City Chapter of Young Audiences and as Education Director of The Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center.

Philip Alexander

Philip A. Alexander is a creativity catalyst who partners with artists, teachers, students, administrators and researchers in the field of arts in education. He is proud to have worked with numerous arts and education organizations at the local, state and national level, in the creation and production of innovative and high quality programs. With a doctorate in theatre history and currently serving as the Education Director of Brooklyn Arts Council, Phil is committed to the mission of “all arts for all students.”

Piper Anderson

Piper Anderson is a writer, theatre artist, educator, and cultural organizer. In 2015 she founded Create Forward, a consultancy specializing in creative strategies for social change sourced from our collective radical imagination. She founded Create Forward after fifteen years cultivating her creative practice at the intersections of community, arts education, and social justice. Since 2002 she has facilitated community cultural projects in detention facilities and community organizations in over 26 cities, generating dialogue and action on the impact of mass incarceration on communities of color. In recent years, she helped to start NYU’s Prison Education Program and now serves on the faculty and steering committee for the program housed at Wallkill Correctional. For 10 years, Anderson was a company member with The American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life program and traveled the country with some of LTL’s most popular stage presentations, generating dialogue on critical social themes through popular American literature. Ms. Anderson teaches courses on the intersections of the arts, community cultural development, and social change at NYU’s Gallatin School and CUNY’s graduate program in Applied Theatre.

Jennifer Cendaña Armas

Jennifer Cendaña Armas is a performer, creator, and community worker from Queens, NY. She has performed and taught arts and social justice workshops globally. She currently co-directs BAM’s Arts & Justice Theatre Program, where NYC HS students devise a theatre performance. Performances include The Smithsonian Institute, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and London’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s.

Erika Atkins

Over the past decade Erika has worked as an arts administrator, youth development professional, teaching artist and performer in not only New York City, but also her native Washington D.C. area. Erika’s life changing experiences growing up as a young artist led her to attend George Mason University, where she obtained a B.A. in Music.
She has served as the Director of Operations and Communications and a Teaching Artist at Opening Act since 2015 and also holds a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Drexel University. Previously Erika has worked at The New Victory Theater (New York City) and Levine Music (Washington D.C.).  She currently serves on the boards of the American Alliance for Theater Education (as the Communications Director) and the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. She formerly served on the NYC Theater In Our Schools Conference Committee, Co-Chairing the latter in 2016-2017. She continues to perform and produces in the NYC area and is involved in various social justice and political causes.

Heleya de Barros

Heleya de Barros is an actor, teaching artist, and arts education advocate in New York City. She has worked in arts education in both California and New York with such organizations as Lincoln Center Theater, McCarter Theater Center, New York Theatre Workshop, The Center for Arts Education, People’s Theatre Project, Young Audiences New York, The Geffen Playhouse, The Los Angeles Music Center, The Orange County Performing Arts Center, Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Will & Company, CRE Outreach, and 24th Street Theatre. She has served on the Roundtable’s Teaching Artist Affairs Committee since 2015 working to expand, enhance, and support the field of professional teaching artistry. Heleya is an adjunct professor in the BFA Drama Department at The New School College of Performing Arts. As an actor Heleya earned her Actor’s Equity card touring TYA shows to schools and communities. She has performed with The Geffen Playhouse, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Pacific Resident Theatre, The Falcon Theatre, and The Forum Project, among others and has worked on numerous independent films, commercials, and webseries.  Education: BA, Theatre, University of Southern California; MA, Educational Theatre, New York University; British American Drama Academy, classical theatre.

Justin Daniel

Justin Daniel is a New York City based theatre artist and educator.
As the Professional Development Specialist at Marquis Studios, Justin works with a dynamic ensemble of Teaching Artists to foster best practices and innovations as the field of arts education continues to expand.  As a Teaching Artist, Justin maintains longterm partnerships with The New Victory Theatre, Disney Theatricals, Opening Act NY, and Classic Stage Company, as well as serving on the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee.
Justin’s performance credits span theatre, film, and television including NBC’s Ed, Comedy Central’s Strangers With Candy, Robert DeNiro’s The Good Shepherd, numerous stage credits across the country, and is a recipient of the Backstage Bistro Award for his solo performance work.  Justin is a member of Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild.
Justin holds a BA in Directing and Education for Theatre from the CUNY Baccalaureate program and a Masters in Educational Theatre from New York University.

Jennifer DiBella

Jennifer M. DiBella is the Associate Education Director for Roundabout Theatre Company and the New York State Representative for the American Alliance for Theatre Education. She has been an active member of the Roundtable since 2005. Prior to joining the Board of Directors in 2010, Jennifer served on the Programs Committee and helped the organization with its external communications. Currently she serves as a co-chair of the Programs Committee and as a member of the Conference Committee.

Kate Dorman

Kathleen (Kate) Dorman works at Classic Stage Company (CSC) in the role of Associate Artistic Director, Education. In this position, she oversees all productions for young audiences (CSC’s ACT YOUNG Program, which focuses on the work of William Shakespeare) as well as all school residencies and partnerships, on-site programming for teens, and internships. Her prior experience includes working as a teaching artist and site director of after-school and summer programs in NYC schools, and serving as a drama specialist in Boston area schools. Kate holds an MA in Educational Theatre from New York University and a BA in Theatre and English from Boston College. After having served for many years on the Panels, Programs, and Membership committees, she is thrilled to officially join the board of the Roundtable.