Meet our Re-imagining Relationships Presenters!


Agency by Design (AbD) is a Project Zero research initiative exploring the intersections of the maker movement, design thinking, and Project Zero frameworks. The AbD research team consists of Shari Tishman (principal investigator, AIE program advisor), Jennifer Oxman Ryan (project manager, AIE 2007), Edward P. Clapp (research specialist, AIE 2007), Jessica Ross (research specialist), and Raquel L. Jimenez (research assistant, AIE 2013). For more information, please visit our project profile: and our project blog:

Rachel Smith Althof is a Doctoral Candidate in Art and Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and also serves as the Upper School Visual Arts Teacher, Visual Arts Department Chair, and Creative Design Thought Leader at The Wellington School. She received her Bachelor of Art Education with Distinction and Masters of Art in Art Education from The Ohio State University in 2002 and 2004, respectively.

Dana Frantz Bentley (AiE 2005 – Ed.D) has been an early childhood educator for twelve years. She is a writer and teacher researcher focusing on artistic and emergent practices in the early childhood. She uses her perspective as a teacher to shape her educational research.

Zoë Blatt  (AiE 2013) completed a dual BFA program at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2010 and received her Masters in Education from the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013. Zoë currently spends her time teaching painting and drawing at Blair Academy, a boarding school in New Jersey, and creating interactive fibers installations for children. Please visit her website at

Emmy Bright (AiE 2007) is an artist and educator in Providence, RI. She is a professor at RISD and City College New York teaching in their arts education departments. She also works with teens at the RISD Museum and recently designed interpretative spaces for deCordova Museum’s social practice exhibition. In her education work, she uses feminist pedagogy and artists’ strategies to facilitate reflection, collaboration, making and research. In her studio, she makes drawings, prints, and books:

Maura Clarke (AiE 2006) has been working in arts, education and conflict transformation for twenty years. She has been particularly focused on using theatre and writing as a tool for community development, cultural exchange and generating civic dialogue. In recent years, she has run theatre and writing programs for students and adults in the United States and the Middle East, developed arts-based conflict transformation curriculum and run teacher trainings on civic dialogue.

Susan Diachisin (AiE 1997) is the Kelli and Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections (C3) at the Dallas Museum of Art. C3 is a 12,000 square foot experimental learning environment for people of all ages that provides interactive encounters with works of art and artists. Susan has been working in the arts for over twenty five years, sixteen of which have been focused on education, primarily in art museums.

Kristen Engebretsen (AiE 2004) is the Arts Education Program Manager at Americans for the Arts, where she works to ensure the advancement of arts education throughout the country. Prior to her arrival in DC, she worked at several arts organizations in Los Angeles, including the LA County Arts Commission and the Music Center. She holds a Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. from the University of Southern California.

Keila Fernandes is a high school junior at the Boston Arts Academy, where she is a theatre major. She has participated in the Water Studio, the Educating the Imagination project at TERC.  She lives in the neighborhood of Dorchester and enjoys performing. She hopes to pursue theatre in college.

Emily Funkhouser (AiE 2007) is a Curriculum Specialist at the Google Children’s Centers. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology & Art from NYU. Emily has a over a decade of experience working with children. She enjoys exploring relationships between the fields of arts, science, and education, and is inspired by the strong Maker culture of the Bay Area and the beautiful imaginations of the children she encounters each day.

Talia Gibas (AiE 2006) is Arts for All Manager at the LA County Arts Commission, where she oversees professional development for school district leaders. Prior to joining the Arts Commission, she was Program Assistant at the Getty Foundation. Talia earned her A.B. from the University of Chicago, and Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a member of Americans for the Arts’ Education Council and a past Writing Fellow for the blog Createquity.

Erica Glenn (AiE 2014) is an award-winning composer and playwright. She received a BM and MM in music composition from ASU and the Longy School of Music. She has won, among other awards, the Chanticleer Student Composers Competition, the VocalWorks Opera-in-a-Month Competition, the Sorel Medallion Competition, and the Longy Processional/Recessional Commission. Her latest musical played at the 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival, and she was recently selected to attend the inaugural year of the ASCAP Marvin Hamlisch Broadway Conductors Program. Erica publishes with Pelican Music.

Lisa M. Gutting (AiE 2010) is a painter & certified NYS visual arts teacher with over 10 years experience teaching. In 2010 she earned a Masters in Education in the Arts in Education Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently a teaching artist at Community-Word Project in NYC, an advisory board member at Arts@Renaissance, a lead teacher at Alpha Partners teaching in Beijing, China, and actively painting at a studio in East Williamsburg.

Wilhemine Hartong (AiE 2003) has over twenty years of experience in Theater Education in a variety of settings. Her most recent work includes developing and implementing school wide Theater Programs for public schools in New York City. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Ms. Hartong is an adjunct at City College of New York, Brooklyn College, and the Advisory Board for the Educational Theater Department at City College. Through her action research for Artful Learning Communities (an initiative co-sponsored by the NYCDOE, Arts Connection and the United States DOE) Mina has published Theater curriculum and coached many new teachers on the formative assessment process.

Isabelle Higgins is a high school junior Visual Artist at the Boston Arts Academy. She has participated in the Water Studio, the Educating the Imagination project at TERC. She lives in Hyde Park and enjoys making art in her free time. Isabelle hopes to major in illustration in college.

Jeff Hopkins (AiE 2005) is an educator, storyteller, and children’s book illustrator. He has performed his drawing/storytelling performances at the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Lincoln Center. Jeff currently teaches at The City College of New York. His illustrated children’s book “The Only One Club” was named a Society of School Librarians International Honor Book. He received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters in Education from Harvard.

Daniel Jentzen is a lighting designer, researcher, and teacher. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an Ed. M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. With his students, he has created lighting for over 300 plays, musicals, concerts, parties, and special events. He is the founder of Brighter Boston, a nonprofit lighting design company that creates work and educational opportunities for students. He teaches lighting design at Boston Arts Academy and also helps create interdisciplinary lessons on neuroscience, evolution, and math.

Srivi Kalyan (AiE 2007) works at the fluid and exciting intersection of arts, media, education, design and self-reflection. She is the Founder-Director of Fooniferse Arts Pvt.Ltd. She has authored and illustrated several children’s books as well as stories for adults and is an award winning writer and illustrator.  In a society that is constantly growing into greater violence, health issues, environmental destruction, her work in education is to build a strong voice for sustainable and compassionate living. And through the arts, she finds a way to engage people in the most important conversations they must have with themselves.

Kenneth Kwok (AiE 2007) is currently the Director of Arts & Youth at the National Arts Council of Singapore where he helps to develop arts policies and programmes for young people both in and out of the formal school structure. He is a former classroom teacher, deputy principal and assistant director of curriculum policy at the Ministry of Education. He has worked on various community arts projects over the years and also teaches Educational Drama at the National Institute of Education.

April Lee (AiE 2010),  Manager of Education at Dia Art Foundation, is an education practitioner, researcher, and consultant. She has worked in the curatorial field at cultural institutions such as the Hammer Museum; in contemporary art galleries; and with community-based arts and education organizations internationally. Her areas of interest include contemporary art and interdisciplinary and globally-themed education. A graduate of HGSE, April recently consulted on the development of a world-class school in Bhutan.

Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein (AiE 2006) is a published poet, writer, and educator who has designed and directed public poetics projects for the last fifteen years, engaging diverse communities in poetry as a social practice. In 2005 she co-founded Break Arts: International Arts and Education Collaborative, whose mission is to inspire young people to co-author the stories of their lives. Recent projects include a community poetry series in politically-charged Zanzibar and a girls’ manifesto writing project in southern Ethiopia.

Paula Lynn (AiE 2007) worked at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with the School Partnership Program upon graduation from HGSE. She currently works at the National Gallery of Art coordinating multiple-visit family programs.

Cameron McCall is a New York-based writer and performer. A graduate of the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center, she regularly coaches improv teams to foster funny scene work and supportive collaborative environments. She began improvising in 2005 with My Mother’s Fleabag, the oldest collegiate improv troupe in the country. As a member of COAL Improv, she regularly performs at independent venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Clare McFadden (AiE 2013) is a producer and facilitator of arts based programs for children and communities. She is also a children’s author and illustrator. Her first book, The Flying Orchestra, was awarded the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Crichton Award, was selected as one of the “50 Books You Can’t Put Down” by the Australian Government and was adapted for the stage for the ‘Out of the Box’ Festival. Clare holds a Masters in Education (Arts in Education) from Harvard University.

Arzu Mistry (AiE 2008) is a visual artist, educator, ecologist, and dancer. Arzu maintains a high level of dedication and enthusiasm for the arts and ecology as mediums for pedagogy, advocacy, transformation, and intervention. Her work is focused on community empowerment around issues of social injustice be it the current garbage crisis in Bangalore, Peace and Justice education with underserved populations in Oakland CA or Livelihoods programs for marginalized migrant communities in India. She has over a decade of education experience spanning varied spaces from museums to non-profits, private schools to schools for urban poor, and state offices of education to art and design colleges. Her practice centers on connecting educators, children and families with place through interdisciplinary education using memory, story, play and art making through community art /ecology projects, teacher professional development and educational research and practice. Arzu Currently works as Faculty at the Srishti School of Art design and Technology and as a Research Associate with the Project Vision Education Research Collective. She has a BFA California College of the Arts, Ed.M Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Kellen O’Gara (AiE 2011) is a New-York based comedic improviser and the Assistant Director of College Guidance at the Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI) in Manhattan. A graduate of the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center, she regularly works with high school and college-aged students running improv workshops and creating safe, collaborative environments. She began improvising in 2007 with My Mother’s Fleabag, the oldest collegiate improv troupe in the country.

Danielle Cavanna Ogden (AiE 2007) received her M.A. in Art History from Boston University and an Ed.M in Arts in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ogden has over 10 years of national and international experience working in museums, historic houses, cultural heritage sites, art centers and cultural institutions. She has designed and implemented educational programs at the British National Trust at Tytesfield, the Newport Restoration Foundation, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. Danielle is currently the Director of Education at the Westport Arts Center, Westport, CT where she is responsible for implementing the vision, and managing the operations of an interdisciplinary education department.

Heather J. Pinedo-Burns is Director of Hollingworth Preschool at Teachers College, Columbia University. Before becoming director in 2009, Heather taught at Hollingworth Preschool and worked within The Hollingworth Center since 2003. Heather earned her Master of Arts in the department of Arts and Humanities in the Teaching of English in 2005, and is currently a certified doctoral student in the department of Curriculum and Teaching. Before moving to New York, Heather attained a Bachelor of Arts in English and secondary education certification from State University of New York, College at Geneseo, and taught middle school English for the Rochester City School District. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor within the department of Curriculum and Teaching and at Pace University and Adelphi University. Her research interests include narrative inquiry, curriculum theory, early childhood, and aesthetics.

Kate Plows teaches secondary ceramics and graphic design at Malvern Preparatory School in suburban Philadelphia. During summers, she is Assistant Director of the Blue Ridge Summer Institute for Young Artists (BLUR) in Virginia. Kate holds a Masters in Art Education from The University of the Arts. She recently presented a session entitled Mud, Meaning, and the Mouse at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). She blogs at

Allison Procacci (AiE 1998) is a New Jersey Visual Arts Educator and Artist who has written Installation Art for 9-12 curriculum and presented at state and national conferences. She was awarded numerous grants and students of hers were placed in the Fresh Perspectives Juried Art Show for two consecutive years. Two other students of hers were the Gold Key Recipients at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for two consecutive years. Allison is a HGSE AIE ‘98 Alumna.

Radhika Rao (Ed. D. 2009) is an actor, writer and theatre teaching artist currently based in the San Francisco Bay area. She graduated from HGSE in 2009 with an Ed.D. in Culture, Communities, and Education, where she focused on how theatre could be used in fostering youth citizenship and transforming communities. Radhika has over 10 years of experience teaching theatre to hundreds of children, youth and adults at the school, community, and university level.

Anthony Reppucci, Ed.M. has been an educator for fourteen years, both in the United States and Japan. His teaching and research focus on social justice and the enactment of diversity practices in education.

Alison Rutsch is an illustrator and educator born and raised in Maryland and now rooted in Providence, RI. In her art and teaching practices she works to empower her viewers/collaborators while also cultivating playfulness and a healthy suspicion of authority. Her work is driven by social practices and she is looking for new ways to combine art, activism, and research. She paints, prints, and makes comics:

Nathalie Ryan (AiE 2002) has been working as Senior Educator and Manager of Family and Teen Programs at the National Gallery of Art, Washington since receiving her Ed. M from HGSE.

Steve Seidel holds the Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Chair in Arts in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is Faculty Director of the Arts in Education program and a former director of Project Zero (2000-2008). At Project Zero, Seidel has been Principal Investigator for projects that have studied the use of reflective practices in schools, the close examination of student work, and the documentation of individual and group learning. His current research includesTalking with Artists who Teach, a study of working artists’ ideas and insights into the nature of artistic development and learning. Seidel and colleagues at Project Zero recently completedThe Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education, a study of what constitutes quality in arts learning and teaching. Before becoming a researcher, Seidel taught high-school theater and language arts in the Boston area for 17 years. He has also worked as a professional actor and stage director.

Nathalie Shepherd received her BFA in painting from RISD, MFA at the University of New Orleans, and art education certificate for New York State teachers at Pratt Institute. Shepherd is a practicing artist, and has worked as a teaching artist at MoMA and Dia:Beacon. She is interested in the in-depth study of issues—race, gender, and national identity—that are central to debates in contemporary art, and explores these themes through her practice an arts educator.

Maura Tighe (AiE 2010) is a theatre educator and faculty member at Boston Arts Academy. She has participated in the Water Studio, the Educating the Imagination project at TERC, alongside student learners.

David D. Timony is an Educational Psychologist whose research on high-level skill acquisition has been presented at Harvard, NYU, and conferences around the world. A learning specialist, he also teaches learning theories, testing and assessment, and statistics in the graduate school at Temple University. David chairs the Board of Directors at Miller Rothlein and holds membership in the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools. In his spare time, he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Allison Trombley (AiE 2011) marries her love of place and identity in her work as an educator in the arts. In the past 12 years, she has held roles from teaching artist to administrator. Will Simbol (AiE 2011) has travelled the world as a professional touring musician, certified teacher, and educational program director. Through their common drive to promote passion-driven learning and culturally relevant pedagogy, Allison and Will have created programs in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City.

Shanelle Villegas is a high school junior at the Boston Arts Academy.She has participated in the Water Studio, the Educating the Imagination project at TERC. She resides in lower Roxbury and is a developing young artist and urban farmer.

Beth Warren is a learning scientist. She co-directs the Chèche Konnen Center at TERC and directs the Educating the Imagination project. Her current work, in collaboration with faculty at Boston Arts Academy and the Cambridge Street Upper School, focuses on designing expansive learning environments at the intersection of art and science.

Brynn Wartman (AiE 2005) relocated to Maine after spending six years teaching dance and managing the community outreach programs for Boston Ballet. Prior to her east coast move, she served as the Education Coordinator for The Children’s Museum, Seattle, where she designed and delivered arts and humanities programming. Brynn also serves as the board co-chair and education advisor for The Colored Pencil Project, an organization dedicated to the distribution of arts supplies to children living around the world.

Matt West is a high school junior at Boston Arts Academy. He has participated in the Water Studio, the Educating the Imagination project at TERC, and says it was one of his greatest learning experiences. He loves to ride bikes and skateboards. He really wants to go to Emerson College when he graduates. He is not sure what he will study in college.