Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Debra Peltz, Chairman
Linda LeRoy Janklow, Founding Chairman
Lisa Plepler, Chairman Emeritus
Robert A. Pruzan, Vice Chairman
Robert W. Downes, Treasurer
Theodore S. Berger, Secretary
Patricia Morris Carey, Ph.D.
Ada Ciniglio
Emily Ford
Jawad Haider
Lynne S. Katzmann
Caroline Kim
Josephine Magliocco
David Monn
Nduka Nwankwo
Iris Lior Posternack
Tibisay Salerno
Douglas Schoen
Amy Sung
Louise Hartwell White
Laurie Cumbo, Ex-Officio
Richard H. Levy, Founding Executive Director
1978-1985

Steven Tennen, Executive Director
1986-2020

Rachel Watts, Executive Director
2020-

Staff

 

Rachel Watts

Rachel Watts, Executive Director, is a multidisciplinary arts educator who has focused on creating and advocating for meaningful and equitable programming for young people during her more than 20 years in the arts Education and youth development fields. She has held multiple leadership positions, including as Director of Education at Ballet Hispanico 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. Rachel earned a Bachelor’s from Williams College and a Master’s in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies, from New York University. She has taught undergraduate students in the Art Education Program at City College in Harlem and served on the board of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable where she Co-Chairs the Advocacy Committee. Watts worked at ArtsConnection from 1998 through 2005 as a Program Manager and Research Associate, before returning in 2011 to join the senior leadership team as Director of Programs and later Director of Teen Programs, and DEI Initiatives. 

 

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Fran Van Horn joined ArtsConnection as Deputy Director for Development in the fall of 2014. She brings to ArtsConnection over two decades of experience in arts education and development. Before joining ArtsConnection, Fran served as the Executive Director of Studio in a School, where she worked closely with the Board of Directors to build organizational capacity and forge successful long-term relationships with corporations, foundations, and individual supporters. During her tenure at Studio she provided administrative oversight for an Investing in Innovation federal grant to improve student achievement in the arts through performance assessments and technological innovation. Most recently, she served as a consultant for the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Fran was a founding member of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable, and has served as an arts education panelist for the NJ Council on the Arts and for the National Endowment for the Arts. She holds a Bachelor’s in Theatre from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master’s in Secondary Education from Claremont Graduate University.

 


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Tavia Huggins has overseen ArtsConnection’s finance and human resources since 2002. She began her career in the for-profit industry, working on Wall Street and in real estate accounting. She was introduced to the not-for-profit arts industry in the early 1990s, through her work for a Minneapolis-based organization which provided affordable studio space and housing for artists, and has never looked back! A number cruncher at heart, Tavia enjoys using those skills to help ArtsConnection see the “big picture” to make sound financial decisions for the future. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College and two lovely daughters, both of whom participated in Teen Reviewers and Critics prior to enrolling in college.

 



Gwendolyn Thomas, Interim Director of In-School Programs, is an educator and arts administrator with a musical background in classical flute performance. She received her BA in flute performance from Mannes College of Music in 2004, and an MA in Flute Performance from Eastman School of Music. Her entry into music education began as a teaching artist through various arts organizations such as Education Through Music, Carnegie Weill’s Link Up Program, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Education Program. It was through an internship at Symphony Space’s Curriculum Arts Project in 2007 that Gwen was introduced to some of the impactful arts residencies taking place in New York City schools. After receiving an initial certification in music education in 2015, her position as middle school band director at Hunterspoint Community Middle School (HPCMS) served as an opportunity to promote musical literacy and the inclusivity of communities of various socioeconomic backgrounds in concert band. Gwen served as a Program manager at ArtsConnection from 2012-2015. She recently expanded her skill set to include work as a behavior technician implementing therapeutic interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum.

 

Keith Kaminski, Deputy Director for Strategic Operations, is a queer, NYC-based multimedia artist and nonprofit professional with over twenty years of experience with arts education in NYC public schools. After three years as a NYC DOE art teacher, Keith has led arts education work at various nonprofit organizations for the past seventeen years and also serves on the board of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. Keith holds an MPA with a concentration in nonprofit administration from CUNY Baruch College and a BFA in art education from Syracuse University.