2017-18 Advisory Committee

In addition to organizational partners, individual community members and representatives of community organizations guide the work of the partnership through the Arts Empowered Minds Advisory Board. Current advisory board members are:

Maureen McMahon (Co-Chair)
Deputy Superintendent for Academics & Strategic Initiatives,
Anne Arundel County Public Schools

“The Arts Empowered Minds Initiative (AEMI) offers teachers professional development opportunities to learn how to use arts integrated teaching to engage students from prek-12th grade. When we link into the passions and interests of students through drama, dance, music, creative writing or visual arts, we first tap into their hearts and emotions. From there we can engage them more deeply in the learning of all disciplines. When learning is interesting and exciting, then both student engagement and achievement will rise. AEMI helps teachers and schools reach students in the North County feeder using student-centered, arts integrated teaching. I feel fortunate and proud to serve as a member of the AEMI Advisory Board to support our students through this important arts integration initiative.”

Stacie Sanders Evans
President and CEO,
Young Audiences/Arts for Learning MD

Pat Cruz
Chief Innovation Officer,
Young Audiences/Arts for Learning MD

Lori Snyder
Executive Director,
Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance (AEMS)

"I have spent my entire career teaching, developing and advocating for high quality arts education programs in Maryland. I have seen the power of the arts in transforming children's lives. Instruction in and through the arts opens young people's minds to abundant possibilities; empowering them with the much needed creative, collaboration and innovation skills that will help them become civically engaged and socially responsible citizens."

April Nyman
Executive Director,
Arts Council of Anne Arundel County

"Empowering young minds through an arts curriculum, allows the students to learn using their imagination and experience. It will be a pleasure to watch these student grow and improve, through this important arts integration program."

Sandra Blondell
Park Elementary

“As an administrator, parent and former student in Anne Arundel County who believes in the power of the arts, I am thrilled to be a member of the AEMI advisory council. This committee brings the excitement and energy of the arts to all students who may not have had an opportunity to engage in these incredible and important experiences. I look forward to bringing the love of music, art, dance and theater to all children!”

Pastor Ken Witcher
Gina Witcher
Life Church Baltimore

Kathy O’Dell
Special Assistant to the Dean for Education & Arts Partnerships
Associate Professor of Visual Arts,
Art History & Museum Studies UMBC

Mollie McElwain
Education Director,
Chesapeake Arts Center

“It is a privilege to be involved in community-based projects such as the Arts Empowered Minds Initiative. The arts can be such a powerful tool for social change and personal expression, and it should be a central part of every child's development. To see the arts incorporated into every part of student learning, both in and out of school, is beyond inspiring - and I am thrilled to be a part of this program!”

Stephen Bradley
Associate Professor of Visual Arts,

“AEMI is important to me as the collective has created a multimodal and integrated approach that addresses many of the systemic obstacles that has historically limited children from receiving the best education possible.”

Belinda Fraley Huesman
Executive Director and CEO,
Chesapeake Arts Center

“As a community, Chesapeake Arts center wants to partner with those who are bringing Arts to the students so that we can supplement those opportunities to further engage the community to affect the future of our children. We are very excited about this partnership and believe that we have a hand in creating opportunities that the students may not have otherwise.”

Lieutenant Steve Thomas
CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Coordinator in Community Relations,
Anne Arundel County Police Department, Northern District

"When children find a passion it guides their dreams and assures their success. Communities need to work together to fuel the passion."

Jeanne Cooper
Immediate Past President,
North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

“NACAC considers our participation to be important because our national organization has an Arts and Letters Commission.  Each of the Sorority's 1000 chapters is encouraged to support the arts within our respective communities in whatever way possible. AEMI is one way that NACAC is supporting the arts as well as education generally.  Delta Sigma Theta has what is called our Five-Point Programmatic Thrust and one of the points is educational development. Moreover, NACAC concentrates its public service activities in North County where AEMI also is focusing its work within the schools identified.  In particular, NACAC already mentors girls in grades 9-12 at North County HS. On a personal note, my family and I appreciate the performing arts very much. My husband writes plays and while our two daughters were students at Howard Community College, they were actors in a number of theatrical works there.  One daughter was stage manager and the other did sound design. The latter daughter plays piano and guitar. The arts have been of tremendous importance to our family.”  

Bishop Eric Wright
Rhema Word Worship and Praise Center

Mike Phennicie
Director Office of Corporate and Community Relations,
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

J’aime Drayton
Director of Development,
Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance

“AEMI should be important to every arts education advocate in Anne Arundel. I am proud to be a part of an initiative that unites nonprofits and businesses to better serve the interest of Anne Arundel County Public School students. I look forward to working with my fellow advocates on the AEMI initiative.”

Shawn Ashworth
North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

"As a member of a community serving organization, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter, is excited to be a part of the AEMI Board!  Our Chapter's mission is to build stronger communities through our sisterhood and service. We are delighted to participate in the program planning and execution of the arts in schools and around the community. Getting youth involved in the arts is an area that Delta Sigma Theta continues to focus on through our Programmatic Thrust. We are committed to providing support to the AEMI Board, and are invested in helping students realize their artistic potential.  We believe all kids are capable of success...No Exceptions!”

John Hess and Jennifer Quinn
Marley Station Mall

Sylvia Poore
Shooting Stars Studio

Kt Zawodny
Outreach Librarian,
Anne Arundel County Public Library
"The Arts Empowered Minds Initiative model of integration supports the library’s mission to Educate, Enrich, and Inspire. I’m excited to bring the library to the table to help support our school students through our resources, as well as providing them space to showcase the power of arts integrated learning in the community."

Meredith Chaiken
Executive Director, Greater Baybrook Alliance

“AEMI helps fulfill GBA's mission by using arts-integrated education to support creative mindsets in our young people and spur investment and revitalization in the community. I look forward to learning from others on the advisory board!”

Karen Hayes
Development/Marketing Professional

Beverly Giles
Annapolis Chapter of the Links

“The AEMI Advisory Board is important to me because of the opportunity to represent the Arts Facet of The Links, Inc. Annapolis (MD) Chapter in a community setting. Also, it gives our Chapter the opportunity to keep abreast of programs that are carried out in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools and communities in the northern part of our county. As a member of the Arts Facet we work to expose young people to opportunities that will broaden their knowledge in the arts. We focus on career awareness, leadership skills and self-awareness skills which are all related to various forms of arts. I see art as a vehicle to transform minds. I enjoy being a part of an advisory board that is proactive. Programs, workshops and opportunities are facilitated to motivate and stimulate the minds of young people. It’s great to see them explore and enhance their inner selves. The connection with families gives students and parents time to learn together and to foster positive relationships.”

Fran Schmidt
Northern Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce

Sue Owens
Coordinator of Art,
Anne Arundel County Public Schools (Retired)

County Executive Steve Schuh’s Office
Constituent Services Officers
Sara Gannon and Pat Daly

Lacey Sheppard
Arts Integration Teacher Specialist,
Anne Arundel County Public Schools

“I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful arts initiative. The arts transform classroom environments into spaces that promote collaboration, risk-taking, problem solving, and creativity. It’s essential that these skills are continuously reinforced with students of all ages. By providing opportunities for our students to engage with artists and increase teacher capacity in arts integration practices, we are ensuring that the arts are accessible to all students in our AEMI schools!”

Councilman Pete Smith

Matt Barinholtz

“FutureMakers is committed to ensuring PK - 8 students, educators and family members have access to STEAM-rich arts education, in and out-of-school. We look forward to sharing our expertise and supporting the growth of arts integrated services and supports available through the Arts Empowered Minds Initiative.”

Alysia Lee
Founding Executive Director,
Sister Cities Choir

Rob Levit
Executive Director,
Creating Communities

“Creating Communities’ mission is to provide direct access to the arts for communities that have often been overlooked or under-resourced. Partnering with Young Audiences of Maryland through AEMI helps us fulfil our mission, place highly-skilled Teaching Artists in classrooms and create equity not just in education but in the creative experience for our youth.”