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.”
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 Patino.nyc)
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.
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: www.nycaieroundtable.org.