Polly Kahn, one of the original co-founders of the New York City Arts-in-Education Roundtable, was delighted to rejoin the board in 2014. Polly is principal of PK Arts Solutions/PK Orchestra Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, organizational assessment and program design, executive search, and executive coaching. She is formerly vice president of the League of American Orchestras, the service organization for American orchestras, where she designed professional development opportunities for orchestra boards, staff, musicians and music directors, including executive education programs and the national conference. At the League, Polly also served as the advisor to the education/community leaders in the League’s 800 member orchestras. She is formerly director of education for the New York Philharmonic and for the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y; assistant director of the Lincoln Center Institute, and on the staffs of the Marlboro Music Festival and Casals Festival. Her 2014-15 articles speaking to best practices in the education and community realm in American orchestras have been widely distributed in Symphony Magazine, via the “Animating Democracy” series for Americans for the Arts, and via polyphonic.com. She is the recipient of the InterSchool Orchestras Award for Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education.
Board of Directors and Staff
Sobha Kavanakudiyil is a Co-Chair for The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and she is a faculty member in The Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York. She also works as an Arts Education Consultant is part of the inaugural class of the American’s for the Arts Speaker’s Bureau, a Mentor for the Arthur Miller Foundation and Department of Education mentoring program and on the Board of Directors for American’s for the Arts. She is the recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Fellowship and has traveled to Seoul, Korea and Puebla, Mexico to share her love of theatre with teachers and artists abroad. Sobha is committed to quality arts education! You can follow her on Twitter @MsSobhaK.
David King is an actor, director, poet, educator, curator and New York City native. He is a social justice advocate committed to collaboration, community empowerment and foundational professional development based on equity, inclusion and anti-racism principles. He is the Program Director of School Partnerships at Community-Word Project and Co-Founder of The Seven Collective – a NYC-based artist collective. He has acted in award-winning feature films screened at the SOHO International and Art of Brooklyn Film Festivals. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he received critical acclaim for Off Broadway and FringeNYC roles from The New York Times and Time Out New York. His chapbook, Because the View, is a collection of original poems, musings and photos inspired by growing up and aware in NYC. His writing was also featured in the poetry anthology The Barbershop Chronicles (Penmanship Books). He is a member of the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee and Taskforce on Equity and Inclusion. He previously worked at the Harlem Children’s Zone in early childhood education. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and earned a B.A. in Theatre from The City College of New York (CUNY). He appreciates those who contribute to the process.
Kati Koerner has been the Hiltz Director of Education at Lincoln Center Theater since 2002. She is also a member of the drama faculty at The Juilliard School. Ms. Koerner’ s experience as an arts educator includes having been a high school drama teacher at Boston’s Commonwealth School, and a teaching artist for theaters and community-based organizations in the U.S. and in Germany. Ms. Koerner was Co-Chair of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable from 2011-2017. She currently co-chairs the Roundtable’s annual Face to Face conference and chairs its Development Committee.
Gary Padmore is Director of Education and Community at Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and is responsible for developing and overseeing its education and community programs, partnerships, and performances. In this role, he also leads the organization’s Education Committee, which is an advisory group with the shared mission of deepening and growing the program’s impact within its community through financial, programmatic, and community support. In nearly 15 years, Padmore’s broad experiences have led him to schools and community organizations throughout the five boroughs andLong Island. As an administrator, he has worked to deepen partnerships to ensure sustainable and high-quality programming. Before OSL, he served as Associate Director of Programs at Midori & Friends, providing skill-based music instruction and enrichment programs throughout New York City. Padmore previously held the position of Interim Education Director for Brooklyn Philharmonic, was a teaching artist at Queens Museum, American Composers Orchestra and Police Athletic League, and was an adjunct lecturer at Queens College. This season, Mr. Padmore was awarded an Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators fellowship through EmcArts. A trumpet player and native New Yorker, Padmore has a bachelor’s degree in music from Queens College, a master’s degree from Mannes College, and an advanced certificate in music education from Queens College.
Mr. Padmore has been a longtime member of the Arts in Education Roundtable, and was invited to join its Board of Directors in 2016. He is a member of the Diversity Taskforce and Communication Committee.
Dr. Bryan Powell an Assistant Professor of Music Education and Music Technology at Montclair State University. Prior to joining MSU, Bryan served as the Director of Higher Education for Little Kids Rock, and the Interim Director of Amp Up NYC, a partnership between Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock. Bryan is a musician and music educator with public school music teaching experience in the New York City Department of Education. Dr. Powell has published multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals and has taught courses at NYU, Ithaca College, Boston University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University, Lebanon Valley College, and Bergen Community College. Bryan is the founding editor of Journal of Popular Music Education and is the Executive Director of the Association for Popular Music Education. Dr. Powell currently serves as the Chair of the NAfME Popular Music Education SRIG and is an International Affiliate for Musical Futures.
David Shookhoff, Roundtable Chair Emeritus and Education Director at Manhattan Theatre Club since 1989, is a founding member of the Roundtable, served as its Treasurer and Steering Committee member for its first six years, and was elected its Chair when the organization incorporated in 1998, stepping down in June, 2011. He has served as co-Chair of the Face to Face Conference since its inception. Throughout its 20-year history, David has worked to help the Roundtable grow to its present size and stature, a role he hopes to continue to play. David also serves on the Board of the Center for Arts Education, the NYCDOE Advisory Council on the Arts, and has chaired the AIE panel at NYSCA.
Jeff Vockrodt joined the Roundtable board in 2018 and co-chairs the Strategic Planning Committee. He is a Senior Executive Director at the YMCA of Greater New York, where he leads strategic initiatives for the CEO and engages with foundations, think tanks and others on innovative ways to build stronger, more connected communities. Before coming to the Y, he led the policy innovation team at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama administration. He also practiced law for several years with James & Hoffman, PC, a Washington, DC firm, worked on President Obama’s campaign in 2007 and 2008, and served in a number of other legal, political and organizing roles.
Rachel Watts is a multidisciplinary arts educator who has focused on creating and advocating for meaningful and equitable programming for young people during her 20 years in the Arts Education and Youth Development fields. She develops programs that support student growth as learners, artists, and innovators in order to build personal, social and academic skills that help young people define and design their own professional pathways. Ms. Watts is currently the Director of Programs at ArtsConnection Inc. From 1998-2005 she was a Program Manager and Research Associate at ArtsConnection, before beginning her current position in 2011. In the interim, she was the Director of Education at Ballet Hispanico in New York City and Director of The MYC Youth Center in San Rafael California, where she created a state of the art facility focused on developing teen leadership skills through the arts and technology. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College and received her Master’s Degree at New York University in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies. Her introduction to non-profit Arts Education was in the education department at The Studio Museum in Harlem. She studied Visual Art at the Edna Manley School of the Arts in Jamaica, and Modern and West African dance with Noble Douglas in Trinidad, at Emerson College, and under the mentorship of Sandra Burton at Williams College. Ms. Watts is also the founder of The TECA Project. TECA: Teen Empowerment through Carnival Arts, is a program that engages teens in the creation, design, and performance of a processional-arts costume band based on a theme or social issue that is important to them. After many a few years of volunteering on the conference panels committee and the Taskforce for Equity and Inclusion, she is thrilled to rejoin the board.