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.
Board of Directors and Staff
Lisa Mitchell is the Director of Education and Audience Engagement at Disney Theatrical Group, where she engages students, teachers, and audiences through Broadway performance and student-driven productions. Current and past field positions include: the Audience Engagement Committee (the Broadway League), the Roger Rees Awards advisory board, the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable board, and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education board. Lisa holds doctoral degree in entrepreneurial leadership in education from Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on developing enduring theater programs in under-resourced schools.
KeriAnne Murphy-Smith is currently the Finance Manager at 321 Theatrical Management working on a variety of shows including one of her favorites, Wicked. Previously she was the Business Manager at Manhattan Theatre Club, a 23-time Tony Award winning and six-time Pulitzer Prize winning New York City based non-profit theatre company. She received her B.A. in Theatre at SUNY Plattsburgh before managing The Players Theatre, a commercial off-broadway house located in historic Greenwich Village, New York City. During that time, KeriAnne was also the Executive Director and Production Stage Manager for The Theatre Project and TP&co, companies founded by fellow SUNY Plattsburgh Alumnus, Christian Amato. After 5 years working in the downtown off-broadway circuit, KeriAnne moved to the midtown theatre world where she transitioned into Business and Human Resources. KeriAnne has also spent time working with The College Light Opera Company, Glimmerglass Opera, and the NYC Fringe Festival. Formerly, she was a freelance Stage Manager for almost 10 years. She currently resides in Astoria, NY with her husband Steve.
Sara Morgulis is an educator, theatremaker, and consultant. She is the Director of Education at New York City Children’s Theater, where she leads with her personal mission of engaging New York City students through accessible and inclusive theatre practices. She is an Adjunct Faculty Member for the M.F.A Performing Arts Management Program at Brooklyn College, and the M.A. Applied Theatre program at CUNY, where she graduated from in 2013. Her Master’s thesis research about training young people to be peer facilitators was published in RIDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. In 2015, Sara received the TYA/USA Ann Shaw Fellowship Award, which funded a trip to London to visit Oily Cart Theatre and learn about their play development process. Sara used that research to co-create FIVE, a multi-sensory touring musical designed for students with disabilities, which has now toured to over 10,000 students in schools across NYC. Sara also serves as Director of Programs at Actionplay, where she curates self-advocacy focused theatre, film and music programming for and with Disabled artists. Sara has served on panels and presented workshops on accessible arts education at many conferences, including the American Alliance for Theatre and Education Conference and the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference. She acts as an Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Consultant for nonprofits nationwide. www.saramorgulis.com
Sheikia S. Norris, lyrically known as Purple, was born in The Bronx, currently resides in Newark, New Jersey, and is in the Graduate program at Goddard College. Purple’s performance and classroom experience is dynamic & unforgettable. The independent, international emcee rocks with funk & soul and naturally connects with ease using a voice that inspires audience movement. Enthusiasts appreciate her energy, impeccable flow, and clever deliverance of truth. Haze has mastered her own rich style of spitting lyrics with both power and substance. She is recognized as a skilled performer, presenter, and leader in Hip Hop Education. Purple has been a “Lady’s First Fund” grant recipient, NJPAC’s Hip Hop Art & Culture Program Director, Next Level Program U.S. Cultural Diplomat, Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, and served as a presenter facilitating curated conversations around Hip Hop, art, culture, and performance. Purple is a diversified talent poised for success in a host of areas.
Ayo Oti is an At-large NYCAiER board member who works as a research and creative operations manager for Gartner’s Marketing and Communications practice. 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.
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.
Juan Carlos Salinas is currently the Director of Education at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. He has developed and implemented curricula based on various artistic disciplines, social activism, and leadership skill-building for more than twenty-five New York City schools and cultural institutions. He is a contributing writer of New York City’s Blueprint for Theater Education and is a contributor for Sing for Hope’s Art U curriculum. He has worked as Education Director of City Lights Youth Theater, Associate Director of Education at Yale Repertory Theater, and Education Manager of Ars Nova and Ballet Hispanico. Recently Juan Carlos oversaw the creation of the BFA Acting program at Long Island University Downtown, Brooklyn in partnership with the New Group Theater Company. Juan Carlos holds an MFA in Non-profit/Arts Management with an emphasis in Education from Yale University. Juan Carlos is the founder of the Y Tu Tambien, the college access program of the La Unidad Latina Foundation, which unites Latino alumni from across the Ivy League to help students in need gain acceptance into their desired colleges, and provides school and career exploration workshops. He is the current Chair and founding member of the Yale Latino Alumni Association of the Tri State Area, and a founding board member of the Inter- Ivy League Latino Alumni Council. Juan Carlos is a proud native of Rio Grande City, in Starr County, TX.
Alexander Santiago-Jirau (he/él) is Director of Education at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW). In this role, he oversees all of NYTW’s education and engagement initiatives, including the Mind the Gap (MTG) intergenerational theatre program, student matinees, in-school teaching artist residencies, after-school programs, master classes, administrative fellowships, and community-based programs. Some of his favorite work at NYTW has included developing educational materials and curating programming for the world premiere of David Bowie’s and Enda Walsh’s Lazarus directed by Ivo van Hove, the world premiere of Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin, a production of Othello directed by Sam Gold featuring Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, Heidi Shreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me, and Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play. Recent work has included facilitation of MTG devising intensive workshops in London, Chile, and North Carolina, and the creation of NYTW’s Youth Artistic Instigators program.
A Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) practitioner who studied and worked with Augusto Boal, Alex has facilitated many workshops throughout his career, particularly with youth, educators and immigrant communities. He is Past-President of the Board of Directors of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc., a national organization devoted to the work of liberatory educators, activists, artists, and community organizers.
Alex has presented his work at numerous conferences and his writing has appeared in American Theatre, The Indypendent, TYA Today, The Cross Border Project Blog (Spain), the anthology “Come Closer”: Critical Perspectives on Theatre of the Oppressed, The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed and Applied Theatre with Youth: Education, Engagement, Activism. He has taught Latin American and Latinx Theatre at Drew University and also teaches TO for the Department of Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
He holds a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and an M.A. in Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt.
Mi Ryung Song is Vice President for Advancement at the Aspen Music Festival and School. With more than 20 years of nonprofit fundraising and administration experience, she also produces private virtual recitals featuring classical musicians around the world. As executive director of Decoda, Inc., she helped lead a transformative period of operational growth. Prior to Decoda, Ms. Song served as director of strategic initiatives, interim director of the knowledge center, and project manager of the orchestra management fellowship program at the League of American Orchestras. From artistic operations and partnership development to fundraising and strategic planning, Ms. Song has led international projects, national initiatives, and local activities with organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and The Juilliard School. She joined the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable in 2019.