Board

Tanisha Brandon- Felder

Tanisha is the director of equity and family engagement in the Shoreline School District. Through her previous work in the Seattle Public Schools, she co-founded The Race Forum- a safe place for discussions around race that involved both school families and staff, co-created and produced Words of Power- a short film designed to help kids talk about race, created Many Cultures, One World- a cultural event created to help students feel empowered about who they are, and founded The SEED Plot- a social justice conference for Middle School students. In 2015,Tanisha received her Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Policy. For 3  years, she has been an active participant in the Arts Corps’ Creative Schools Initiative, an arts integration program that aims to influence student engagement, classroom instructional practices, and school culture. Her passion and desire is to engage in the conversation around race and equity, and to empower others, while continuing to empower herself, to move those discussions into actions towards positive outcomes for youth.

Term: July 2015 through June 2018

 

Jackie de la cruz

Jackie has been an educator and advocate for her communities for over 20 years. Her passion is building bridges between people and resources to help them achieve their goals. Her mantra is compassionate community collaboration for the sake of all children. She started her teaching career working with at-potential-youth: Teen moms, incarcerated youth, foster kids, and gang members. Her joy is being a substitute teacher in the Highline school district where she gets to interact with students from kindergarten to high school seniors.

As an instructor for the UC Davis Center for Human Services she develops and facilitates workshops that support social service agency staff and administrators. Her workshops cultivate more compassionate and respectful ways to be in service to the clients they serve in their communities.

To say that the arts are important to a young person’s development is an understatement for Jackie. Through a miraculous connection to an urban arts outreach program at the age of eight years old, Jackie was introduced to theater, opera, the symphony, and other forms of artistic expression. She feels that this was the key moment in her life that transformed her outlook on life and has made her the creative and adventurous person she is today.

Jackie received her Masters in Teaching from Seattle University and is a Circle Process Keeper. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Term: July 2016 through June 2017

 

Robert Eyerman 

Based in Seattle, Washington, Robert Eyerman, aka Bboy Bobby Drake, started breaking in 2005 at the age of 13. Three years later he founded the Dog Pound Crew. His group frequently works alongside the Seattle Theater Group, dancing in productions such as DANCE This, Global Party, and Sasquatch Music Festival. Robert highly values education, graduating the University of Washington with two degrees in chemistry and biochemistry. His passions include dance, music, medicine, education, and philanthropy. Whenever he is not conducting clinical research in the hepatology clinic at a local Seattle hospital, he provides in-home tutoring to youth, writes music, trains for competitions, and brainstorms how to further impact the world through art and science. Robert enjoys jamming on his guitar, playing with lasers, and traveling the world with his girlfriend.

Term: July 2016 through June 2017

 

Donte Felder

As a child, Donte Felder was diagnosed with disgraphia (a writing-related learning disability) and spent five years in special education. Born and raised in Seattle, Donte now teaches dramatic writing to middle school children in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. He earned his B.S. in Education from Grambling State University in Louisiana and his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, where he studied Screenwriting with Neil Landau and Darrah Cloud. He has produced several short films and plays with his drama team and won the W.E.A. Humanitarian Award for his play dealing with race relations and school integration, “First Day.”

Term: July 2016 through June 2019

 

Sally Ketcham 

Sally is a Seattle based visual artist, freelance graphic designer, and community volunteer. Most recently, she has served on the board of Gallery 110, a nonprofit gallery in Pioneer Square, and on granting committees with Social Justice Fund NW and Washington Women’s Foundation. She loves doing art with K-5 students, design and marketing for nonprofits and small businesses, and promoting emerging artists. Sally is passionate about getting more arts into the schools and about Arts Corps’ overall mission and programing – especially the Creative Schools Initiative. Her top priorities in terms of social justice are working towards equity in education, and prison “reform”/ or rather the abolition of prisons as we know them. Sally lives in Columbia City with her husband and two children, and dog.

Term: July 2014 through June 2017

 

Della Kostelnik Juarez 

Della was introduced to Arts Corps first as a parent, then as a liaison between her daughter’s school and Arts Corps. When she witnessed the deep impact the teaching artists had on the lives of students she wanted to be part of that magic. Art has always been at the center of her own family’s self expression, from a nonprofit formed by her family to support music and video projects to her siblings involvement in the indie music scenes in Seattle and Albuquerque. Combining her love of art and history Della lived in the Czech Republic for a year working on a multimedia family history project, collecting oral history about the underground activism of her grandparents during World War II, her grandfather’s imprisonment in Auschwitz and Buchenwald and her father’s emigration to the USA. Professionally Della has worked in broadcasting for 24 years, the last 13 years as an assignment editor at KOMO TV.

Term: July 2016 to June 2019

 

Sara Lawson, President 

Sara is a management consultant and nonprofit professional with 15+ years experience in a range of nonprofit organizations, including the arts, higher education, health care, and community radio. She is passionate about the role that mission-based organizations can play in strengthening communities, and has served in a variety of capacities: as executive director, program staff, front-line volunteer, and board member. Based on these experiences, she brings a collaborative, analytical, and strategic approach to board development, capacity building, fund development, and community relations for small-to-midsized nonprofit organizations. In addition to happily advocating for Arts Corps and the tremendous work of its teaching artists, students, and staff, she is involved with the Springboard program of Executive Service Corps, the Membership Committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (WA Chapter), and the Volunteer Chore program of Catholic Community Services. She relocated from Alaska to Seattle in 2007 with her husband, Forrest Gibson. In her free time, she can be found knitting, rowing, reading, and hanging out with her family.

Term: July 2016 through June 2018

 

Sarah Lippek 

Sarah Lippek is an attorney with The Public Advocate, a small nonprofit dedicated to community lawyering. Her practice includes civil rights defense, immigration assistance, and advocacy for prisoners. Before becoming a lawyer, Sarah spent many years working in the harm reduction movement in Seattle and New York City. She led the first needle exchange program in the borough of Queens, building an innovative peer-to-peer model in close alliance with active drug users and sex workers. She also co-founded the Northwest chapter of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance project. Sarah remains committed to organizational models that are liberating, community-led, and non-hierarchical. Sarah’s artistic practice includes writing, cultural research, and collaborative work with performance and visual artists, most recently Degenerate Art Ensemble and Path With Arts. Her book of short fiction, Complicity, is available from Publication Studio.

Term: July 2016 through June 2018

 

Carla Moreno

Carla Moreno is a culinary tour guide, music educator, and writer for Huffington Post. She earned her Bachelor’s in Music and Master’s in Music Education with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas. During that time she was a member of the award-winning Jazz Singers (named “Best College Jazz Choir” by Down Beat Magazine), sharing the stage with world-renowned musicians including legendary jazz singer Jon Hendricks. Having served as a public school music teacher for fourteen years, she is a certified Kodály and Orff Schulwerk instructor. As a world music specialist, Carla has trotted the globe, eagerly soaking up music and culture from Brazil, Africa, the Middle East and beyond. She continued her musical explorations as a teaching artist for Arts Corps and as one of four Seattle Teaching Fellows for Music National Service before joining the Arts Corps board of directors.

Term: July 2016 through June 2019

 

Kelly Rondou, Treasurer 

Kelly has been a volunteer with Arts Corps since 2011, working as Stage Manager and Technical Director for La Festa del Arte and the Student Showcase. Kelly is currently the Executive Support Manager at Northwest Regional Primary Care Association, a nonprofit supporting community health centers in the Northwest, previous to that she was the Director of Executive Projects for PROVAIL, a disability services provider for the Puget Sound area. Combining her background in visual and performing arts with her career in healthcare and serving the underserved has led Kelly to believe strongly in the utmost importance of arts in social justice and creating whole, healthy communities.

Term: July 2016 through June 2019

 

Joselynn Tokashiki Engstrom, Secretary 

Joselynn works as an independent producer and arts administrator. Her organized and analytical mind compliments the chaos of working with artists and creators. Most recently she helped open Nordo’s Culinarium; the first theater to open in Pioneer Square in 25 years. Prior to opening the Culinarium, she co-founded the Acrobatic Conundrum – a contemporary circus company. During her time with the group she produced five shows and toured to Chicago. Joselynn has years of experience helping individual artists and business organize to achieve their missions.

Term: July 2015 through June 2018

 

Annie Von Essen 

During more than a decade in the nonprofit and social service fields, Annie Von Essen has worked as a social worker, mental health counselor, communications manager, fundraiser and program developer. She holds an MSW and an MPA from University of Washington’s School of Social Work and Evan’s School of Public Affairs, respectively. In her current consulting practice, Vessel Strategy & Consulting, she is invested in helping individuals and organizations carry out powerful visions. Annie works with organizations to bring successful community and organizational change to fruition. She also offers a series of sessions supporting individuals and organizations to decrease stress in their work and live from a place of joy and presence. Annie lives in the turn of the century school building where Arts Corps is housed, with her partner and a whole community of amazing artists.

Term: July 2014 through June 2017

 

Chris Zweigle, Vice-President 

Chris is an interdisciplinary poet and a believer in the transformative power of artistic risk. Chris blossomed as an early student of Arts Corps poetry classes, and continued as a mentor with Youth Speaks Seattle. He continues to coach and mentor young writers and performers through the Youth Speaks program of Arts Corps, and supports youth leadership as both organizational model and educational praxis. Chris is also a bilingual culture-trotter with interests in film, law, politics, and business. He is a voracious film and music fan with a deep technical literacy and a nerdy disposition. He holds an honors B.A. degree in the Comparative History of Ideas from University of Washington and an M.B.A. in finance from Seattle University.

Term: July 2015 through June 2018

 

Mylen Huggins 

Mylen Huggins believes that the arts are an essential part of being a person.  She is greatly inspired by and thrives on the creativity and expressive confidence that comes from young emerging artists.  Born in the Philippines, she immigrated with her family in 1982 a teenager.  She was formally art schooled for graphic design and illustration at CCS-College of Art and Design in Detroit during her young adult life and now as a full-flegded adult, happily creating two-dimensional drawings and paintings inspired by her natural surroundings.  Since moving to this wonderful city of Seattle in 1995, she discovered her ultimate gift and passion: engaging youth in the artistic process of visual arts.  Her earliest involvement with arts education includes The Children’s Museum in Seattle, preschool coops, private and public art camps and workshops.  She co-founded a thriving arts program at West Woodland Elementary in 2009 as an arts committee member, coordinator and currently, as the artist-in-residence for all 3rd-5th graders.  She has and continues to teach in partnership with Seattle Public Schools and Highline School District;  once a teaching artist for Arts Corps, she is now a proud member of the board; an artist mentor for Arts Impact since 2012; a teaching artist for Seattle Art Museum since 2015; teaching artist for Creative Advantage; and a TATLab Alumni.  Mylen’s other source of joy are her creative sons, wonderful husband, squirrel-chasing dog, playing tennis, rustic cabin in the woods, two cups of morning coffee and sparkling flavored water.  

Term: July 2017 through June 2020

 

Aurelio Valdez

Aurelio Valdez is a Mexican-American with many passions and goals. He is currently studying to receive his bachelor’s at Seattle Pacific University majoring both in Political Science and Sociology. He chooses these majors in order to become a leader in his community to change society’s structure for justice with minority groups in America. He feels he has much to prove coming from immigrant parents and being the first in his family to not only graduate high school but also be able to enroll in a university. Alongside working on becoming a scholar, he is a conscious HipHop musician that has social commentary and an overall love for the HipHop culture throughout his lyrics. He believes strongly that he was put on earth with a mission to change his community and to have a positive impact in people’s lives.  

Term: July 2017 through June 2018

 

Carlynn Newhouse 

Carlynn Newhouse is an African American poet, activist, actress, emcee, and performer. She is the 2015 and 2017 Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam Champion and competed in the Brave New Voices poetry festival in years 2015-2017. Carlynn has performed at well known venues such as Seattle Town Hall, Bumbershoot, the Kennedy Center, and others. She writes about love, loss, community, race, the Black Lives Matter movement, mental health, and the life experiences that made her who she is today. You can catch her spitting in the annual Youth Speaks Seattle slam series or sharing love and community during the monthly open mics.

Term: July 2017 through June 2018

 

Erika Nesholm 

Erika is the Executive Director of the Nesholm Family Foundation, which awards grants in health and human services, education, and performing arts. Prior to that, she was a Classics professor at Williams College, Georgetown University, The College of William & Mary, Kenyon College, and Ohio Wesleyan University. She holds a PhD in Classics from the University of Washington; she also holds a Master’s in Education Policy from UW, with particular interest in arts education. Erika is active in the Seattle arts community: she serves on the board of ACT Theatre and the community advisory board of Classical KING FM.

Term: July 2017 through June 2020