About the Award

The Eric Oddleifson A|L Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant impact on arts education across the nation, and is selected by the Arts|Learning Board of Trustees.

This award was named in 2013 to honor the memory and vision of Eric Oddleifson (1935-2011), Co-Founder and Vice-President and Treasurer of the Arts|Learning Board, whose life-long commitment to providing arts education for all students has impacted countless lives.  Through his writings, community service and leadership, Eric Oddleifson contributed his talents, his time and his resources to transforming education by placing the arts at the center of learning.

The award was previously named the NALC Award (2001-2009) and the A|L Award (2010-2012).

Past recipients include:


Roger H. Brown
President, Berklee College of Music.

Immediately after earning his bachelor’s degree in physics from Davidson College (Phi Beta Kappa), Roger H. Brown spent a year in Kenya teaching math and moonlighted by playing drums with an award-winning Kenyan gospel choir. Upon returning home, he enrolled in an M.B.A. program at Yale University, but interrupted his studies to help alleviate a humanitarian crisis on the Thai-Cambodian border. Brown administered the Land Bridge food distribution operation under the auspices of CARE and UNICEF. The effort that Brown, his future wife Linda Mason, and others staged fed 25,000 people per day and within six months had averted starvation for countless Cambodians. While in Southeast Asia, Brown made recordings with musicians in refugee camps to preserve their traditional Cambodian music that Khmer Rouge rulers had suppressed.

After returning to the U.S. and finishing his studies at Yale, Brown and Mason served as co-directors of a Save the Children Federation initiative for famine relief in Sudan. The innovative program served more than 400,000 people, and is estimated to have saved more than 20,000 lives, and became the blueprint for future large-scale U.N. relief efforts.

After several years abroad, Brown returned home in 1986 with a desire to serve American families. To that end, Brown and Mason launched Bright Horizons, now the largest worldwide provider of worksite childcare and early education. After 16 years of successfully leading Bright Horizons, Brown decided to turn his sights to higher education and accepted the position as Berklee’s third chief executive in 2004.

During his tenure, the college has created the world’s largest online music education system (including massive open online courses, or MOOCs, that have reached more than 2.4 million students and the launch of online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs that serve a global base of musicians from more than 150 countries), expanded its global reach to attract students from over 100 countries, and created Berklee’s Presidential Scholars and Africa Scholars programs that provide full scholarships to top musicians from around the world. He has overseen the expansion of the City Music Program beyond Boston in an effort to provide educational opportunities for talented but economically disadvantaged urban youth. The program now has partners in cities across America and abroad, reaching more than 55,000 students. Brown has also led Berklee to adopt a more selective admissions policy and the creation of a new advising program to support all entering students. Under Brown’s leadership, the amount of scholarship and financial aid available to Berklee students has increased by over 500 percent, growing from $9 million to over $70 million.

Brown has helped the college enhance the student experience by establishing semester-abroad programs and by expanding the Boston campus through real estate acquisitions and the construction of a 16-story facility at 160 Massachusetts Avenue that boasts 173 residence hall rooms, 23 practice rooms, six two-story common areas, a fitness center, a 400-seat dining hall, and a state-of-the-art 10-studio music production complex. After completing Berklee’s first capital campaign, Giant Steps in 2011, which raised $54.5 million, Brown launched the institution’s second campaign, Soundbreaking, in 2014, which has raised over $150 million for the college. In 2016, he oversaw Berklee’s merger with the Boston Conservatory to create the world’s most comprehensive and dynamic training ground for music, dance, theater, and related professions. Brown has been recognized for his accomplishments at Berklee with the Cruz de Honor from the provincial government of Valencia, Spain, and with the March of Dimes Franklin Delano Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.


Gottfried Schlaug, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Music Neuroimaging Lab (Harvard Medical School & Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital)

Dr. Schlaug is an innovative researcher investigating the effects of music on the brain and discovering positive implications for stroke recovery and recovery from brain injuries. He is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Cerebrovascular Disorders at BIDMC, and Director of the Music, Neuroimaging and Stroke Recovery Laboratories at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Through ongoing research, the Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory’s mission is to:
• Examine the perceptual and cognitive aspects of music processing, including the perception of and memory for pitch, rhythm, harmony, and melody.
• Investigate the use of music-based interventions as a means for achieving educational and therapeutic goals.
• Identify the behavioral and neural correlates of learning, skill acquisition, and adaptation in both developing and adult brains in response to changes in the environment or brain injury.
• Determine the predictors and facilitators of post-stroke language and motor recovery.

Dr. Schlaug’s main research interests are to examine, induce, and detect in-vivo brain plasticity in patients recovering from stroke and in normal healthy subjects undergoing intense and long-time training of sensorimotor skills. He is using two groups of subjects to examine the effects and determinants of brain plasticity: Stroke patients undergoing experimental interventions to enhance their recovery potential and healthy normal subjects, such as instrumental musicians who undergo intense and long-term sensorimotor skills training. His lab is also studying the neural correlates of musical skills such as absolute pitch and auditory-motor disorders such as an inability to sing in tune (Tonedeafness) or to move to a particular beat (Beatdeafness). Lately, the lab has also developed and tested innovative interventions including forms of singing and music making as well as forms of non-invasive brain stimulation to facilitate recovery from brain injuries and to improve disabilities resulting from neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Schlaug holds the Doctor of Medicine (magna cum laude) from the University of Cologne (1993), Germany and the Ph.D. (summa cum laude) University of Cologne (1989), Germany. Of the dozens of research studies he has co-authored, some intriguing titles include: “Practicing a musical instrument in childhood is associated with enhanced verbal ability and nonverbal reasoning;” “Musical training shapes structural brain development;” “The relation between music and phonological processing in normal-reading and dyslexic children;” and “Effects of music training on the child’s brain and cognitive development.”


Mark Churchill, D.M.A.
Director, El Sistema USA; Dean Emeritus of Preparatory and Continuing Education and Senior Advisor, New England Conservatory; Music Director and Conductor, Symphony Pro Musica

Educator, conductor and cellist Mark Churchill is Dean Emeritus of New England Conservatory’s Department of Preparatory and Continuing Education, which he oversaw for 31 years. He launched the School of Continuing Education as the counterpart to the Preparatory and shaped the first two decades of its growth. In addition he established the NEC at Walnut Hill Program (1982).

Dr. Churchill oversaw NEC’s Center for Music-in-Education, which featured the development of new music education curricula and music teacher training programs. He is founder and board member of El Sistema USA, the advocacy and service organization for US programs that are inspired by the renowned Venezuelan model of social development through music, and he established NEC’s Abreu Fellows Program in 2008. He oversaw NEC’s close relationship with El Sistema until 2010. In January 2018 he was given El Sistema USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Churchill served as Associate Conductor of the Boston Ballet from 1990 to 2012 and is the founder and Music Director of Symphony Pro Musica, now celebrating its 35th anniversary. Former conducting roles include Worcester’s Salisbury Lyric Opera and Salisbury Chamber Orchestra and the Thayer Conservatory Orchestra. He has also led the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra in its annual gala concert and recently conducted the National Ballet of Mongolia and the Tokyo’s Komaki Ballet. He is the founder and vice president of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, established in 2002, which draws gifted young musicians from throughout North and South America. For eleven years he served as Resident Conductor and Faculty Chairman of the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong, a pan-Asian organization led at its inception by the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin.

As a cellist Dr. Churchill has appeared as soloist, recitalist, and chamber music player throughout the United States, South America, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. He was given the Boston Cello Society’s 2017 annual recognition award for outstanding service to education, performance, and scholarship. Dr. Churchill has presented numerous master classes and workshops, and has served on the faculty of the Cremona, Heifetz, Musicorda and Foulger International Music Academies, and Greenwood Music Camp. He and his late wife, Marylou Speaker Churchill, received Harvard’s Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award in 2005.

Dr. Churchill holds the B.M. and M.M. degrees from New England Conservatory and a D.M.A. from the Hartt School.


Lois Hetland, Ed.D.
Professor, Art Education, Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Affiliate of Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Trained in music and visual arts, Lois Hetland taught elementary and middle school students for 17 years. In 2013, she made her first trip to India and returned for her sixth visit in February 2017. She has initiated an institutional partnership between MassArt and the Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore and has brought art students annually from MassArt to India on study tours since 2015.

In 2017 Dr. Hetland co-authored Studio Thinking in the Elementary School, to be published by Teachers’ College Press in 2018. Other recent work includes reviewing arts and education proposals for IES; co-authoring a chapter on a participatory evaluation of Art21 Educators (conducted 2010-2012); and working with Abt Associates to evaluate nine partnerships among community arts organizations, universities, and schools in Wisconsin and Alaska, funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

Her groundbreaking research has result in numerous publications and books. Previous work includes Co-Principal Investigator for the research leading to the co-authored book, Studio Thinking 2: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education (2013, Teachers’ College, 2nd edition; 1st edition, 2007), supported by the Getty and Ahmanson Foundations (2001-2004); Principal Investigator on a research and professional development project in Alameda County, CA, funded by three successive US Department of Education grants (2003-2010); collaboratively conducting ten meta-analytic reviews with Dr. Ellen Winner analyzing the effects of arts learning on academic outcomes, funded by the Bryant Family Foundation (1997-2000); leading an assessment initiative at MassArt resulting in the first set of college-wide graduation goals (2009-2013); serving as Co-Principal Investigator on Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education (2005-2008), funded by the Wallace Foundation; serving as Co-Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation quasi-experimental study of potential transfer from visual arts learning to geometric spatial reasoning (2008-2013); and co-leader of the Studio Thinking Network, a monthly online conversation among US and international educators who use the Studio Thinking Framework (2012-2014).

Dr. Hetland received the B.S.S. degree in Music and Visual Arts, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa; the Ed.M. degree, Harvard University; and the Ed.D., Harvard University.


Charles Washburn
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of VSA MA, an affiliate of the Seven Hills Foundation

Charlie has worked for VSA Massachusetts since 1987 and joined Seven Hills Foundation as a Vice President when VSA Massachusetts became an affiliate in 2014. He holds his BA in History and Education from Fairfield University and a Certificate of Special Study in Management and Administration from Harvard University. As a certified teacher he taught Kindergarten and early primary students in the parent cooperative Worcester New School. He was director of an urban art center and festival known as Summer’s World in Worcester Massachusetts, and is one of the founders of First Night Worcester. Charlie has also worked in human services on improvement of community-based programs including a teen suicide prevention program.

Charlie was a founding member and former President of Mass. Advocates for the Arts Sciences and Humanities, the state’s former arts advocacy organization. He was a member of the Mass. Arts Curriculum Framework Committee and Chair of the Mass. Department of Education’s Arts Education Advisory Council. He served on the Department’s Kindergarten Curriculum and Teacher Leadership Project. Charlie served on the board of the MA Alliance for Arts Education since the early 1990s (now Arts|Learning), the A|L Networking and Leadership Team, and the A|L Board for a total of some 25 years of dedicated service.

Charlie serves as the Learning Committee Chair of the International VSA Affiliate Council. Charlie helped define the role of arts integrated instruction in the practice of Universal Design for Learning and developed a graduate level course and a national community of practice on the subject. He has also developed a multi-art and multi-sensory approach to performing arts that is known as Inclusive by Design, incorporating American Sign Language, audio description, visual art and captioning to create performances that everyone can enjoy. VSA’s work in schools using an inclusionary model of arts education to integrate and mainstream students with special needs has led to numerous successes, notably the Henderson School in Boston.


Steven Seidel
Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Lecturer on Arts in Education and the Director of the Arts-inEducation Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Steve Seidel is the Director of the Arts-in-Education Program at HGSE. At Project Zero, he was principal investigator on projects that study the use of reflective practices in schools, the close examination of student work, and documentation of learning. This research included The Evidence Project, a study using student work as evidence of learning and teaching, and Making Learning Visible, a study of group learning and assessment in partnership with the Reggio Emilia early childhood schools in Italy.

Steve recently completed Arts Survive, a study of the sustainability of arts education partnerships. His teaching and writing for the past decade have largely focused on arts education and the improvement of teaching and assessment across elementary and secondary settings. He also convenes a monthly discussion group on collaborative assessment for educators: ROUNDS at Project Zero. Before coming to the School, he taught high-school theater and language arts in the Boston area for 17 years.

Upon his appointment as senior lecturer at Harvard in 2014, Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan stated: “Steve is the heart of our Arts-in-Education master’s program. Without his warmth, his thoughtful leadership, and his incredible generosity of time, that program — and this community as a whole — would simply not be the same. Steve is also recognized internationally as an expert in arts education, working with organizations such as the Tate Museums in London and Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project here at Harvard. This promotion is a small measure of appreciation for the tremendous amount that Steve has given to his students and to the field of education over the past 16 years.”


David Edwards
Founder, the ArtScience Prize, ArtScience Labs, Cloud Place

David Edwards is a scientist, writer and inventor, and lives between Paris, France, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he oversees his original institution of cultural creation, Le Laboratoire.  Le Lab is David Edwards’ open experiment with artists, designers, scientists, and the general public, whereby many of his most powerful innovations, from edible packaging, to olfactory communication, have been conceived, developed, and translated into cultural, commercial, and humanitarian practice worldwide.

His educational work as faculty at Harvard University, where he is Professor of the Practice of Idea Translation, has spawned the educational program. The ArtScience Prize, now in 19 sites around the world, and closely related to his work at Le Laboratoire. He is the author of over 100 patents, a writer of fiction and nonfiction, and has started multiple for-profit and nonprofit organizations in the USA, Europe and Africa.  He is among the youngest members elected to the American and French Academies of Engineering, and has received many national and international honors including Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture.


Aaron Dworkin
Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization and accomplished electric and acoustic violinist

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, a former member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin is the Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, a leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. An author, social entrepreneur, artist-citizen and an avid youth-education advocate, he has received extensive national recognition for his vast accomplishments. His memoir titled Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership was released through Aquarius Press.

Mr. Dworkin authored an autobiographical poetry collection entitled They Said I Wasn’t Really Black as well as a children’s book entitled The 1st Adventure of Chilli Pepperz. His writings have been featured in Symphony Magazine, Polyphonic.org, Andante, an on-line music industry magazine and others. He has contributed to the first English edition of Superior Bowing Technique, a treatise by legendary violinist Lucien Capet, and authored the foreword to William Grant Still’s Violin Collection published by WGS Music. Mr. Dworkin founded and served as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Bard, a literary magazine with a readership of over 40,000 throughout southeast Michigan.

An accomplished electric and acoustic violinist, Mr. Dworkin received his Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. He attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School and the Interlochen Arts Academy, studying with Vladimir Graffman, Berl Senofsky, Jascha Brodsky, John Eaken, Renata Knific, Donald Hopkins and Stephen Shipps.

Founder and President of The Sphinx Organization, he has built an infrastructure and led fundraising efforts totaling over 14 million dollars overseeing a staff and faculty of more than 40. With over $150,000 in prizes and scholarships awarded annually, the Sphinx Competition showcases the top young musicians of color of the highest artistic caliber and features top professional minority musicians through the all Black and Latino Sphinx Symphony. The organization also impacts groups underrepresented in classical music through its educational and community programming including the Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute and Sphinx Performance Academy which reach over 35,000 youth each year.


Anita Walker
Massachusetts Cultural Council

Anita Walker has served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) since April 2007. Walker is the Commonwealth’s highest ranking cultural official, overseeing a range of grant programs, services, and advocacy for the arts, humanities, and sciences in communities across Massachusetts.

Walker has raised the visibility of the creative sector as a driving force for growth and prosperity in Massachusetts. She led investment of $37 million in arts and cultural building projects statewide since 2007 through the Mass. Cultural Facilities Fund. The Fund has provided more than 11,000 construction jobs and will create more than 1,150 new permanent jobs, while helping to spur nearly $840 million in new investment in Massachusetts. Walker also led a new program of operating support for nonprofit arts, humanities, and science organizations called the Cultural Investment Portfolio that deepens the state’s partnership with nearly 400 outstanding institutions.

Under Walker’s leadership, MCC also has put a spotlight on the role that creativity and arts education play in student achievement and success. She led the effort to include the arts as part of the Massachusetts Board of Education’s recommended core curriculum for high school students. She launched the Creative Minds initiative, through which MCC has expanded its reach to provide arts education to more Massachusetts schoolchildren. She also led a partnership with the Bank of America Foundation to create the Big Yellow School Bus program, which has helped schools send more than 100,000 students on field trips to Mass. cultural organizations.

Before coming to Massachusetts, Walker was director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for seven years, serving simultaneously as executive director of the Iowa Arts Council, administrator of the State Historical Society, and the state historic preservation officer. During her tenure in Iowa, Walker engaged more than 400 state and local businesses to consider the role of the creative sector as a driving force in economic development, in part by leading the first comprehensive study of the state’s creative economy. The study was hailed by economist Richard Florida, author of ‘The Rise of the Creative Class,’ as a significant advance on his work in this area, and resulted in several key regions of the state incorporating arts and culture in economic planning efforts. Walker is a native of California and a graduate of Arizona University.


Ambassador Swanee Hunt
Hunt Alternatives Fund

Swanee Hunt founded the Women and Public Policy Program, a research center concerned with domestic and foreign policy, at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She teaches “Inclusive Security,” exploring why women are systematically excluded from peace processes and the policy steps needed to rectify the problem. Additionally, she is the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy, core faculty at the Center for Public Leadership, and an adviser to “The Initiative to Stop Human Trafficking” at the Carr Center for Human Rights.

President of Hunt Alternatives Fund, she also chairs The Institute for Inclusive Security (including the Women Waging Peace Network), which advocates for the full participation of all stakeholders, particularly women, in conflict prevention and resolution. She has conducted trainings for women all over the world, including 70 of the highest-ranking women in post-war Iraq and 130 women leaders in Sudan.

A major initiative of the Hunt Alternatives Fund has been the ARTWorks for Kids program, which garners sustained private and public support of arts organizations that transform the lives of youth in Eastern Massachusetts. “Significant work needs significant support.” It promotes the arts in classrooms, afterschool programs, and the larger community to encourage young people to stay on track with the hope this initiative will serve as a model to provoke change in other communities across the country.

Prior to her appointment as US Ambassador to Austria (1993-1997), she chaired and co-chaired mayoral and gubernatorial initiatives dealing with mental health, homelessness and affordable housing, and families services in Colorado. She was a key founder of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.  Ambassador Hunt is active in politics and has supported hundreds of nonprofit organizations through her private foundation. She is a widely published columnist and has authored two books: the award-winning This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace and a memoir, Half-Life of a Zealot.  Hunt is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of Crisis Group and USA for UNHCR.

A photographer, she has had more than a dozen one-woman shows in five countries. Her musical composition, “The Witness Cantata,” has been performed in six cities. Hunt speaks frequently at conferences, and makes numerous radio and TV appearances annually.  Hunt holds a BA in philosophy, two master’s degrees (in psychology and religion), and a doctorate in theology. She was married to symphony conductor Charles Ansbacher (1942-2010). They have three children.


Sandra and Philip Gordon
Boston Arts Academy and EdVestors

Sandra Gordon was the founding president of the Boston Arts Academy Foundation, the fundraising and program development arm of BAA.  Under her ten year leadership, the Foundation raised over $10 million in support of arts teachers, programs, art supplies and production costs not covered by public allocations. This public/private partnership has meant continued success for Boston Arts Academy with over 95% of graduates consistently going on to college. The school’s Sandra and Philip Gordon Gallery has hosted numerous visiting artists through the years, providing students with extraordinary opportunities to study with acclaimed, working visual artists.  Currently, Sandy serves as the founding president of the school’s Council of Advocates, a group of business and community leaders charged with advocating on behalf of the school and arts education in the greater community.

Philip co-founded EdVestors, a non-profit organization that drives change in urban schools through smart, strategic private investment by identifying and shaping the most effective initiatives, partnering with donors to invest in these efforts, and supporting project leaders with hands-on expertise. Since its launch in 2002, EdVestors has raised over $7 million in private support of high-impact school improvement efforts in the communities of Boston and Lowell.  A significant amount of this funding has supported programs that bring the arts back to the public school classrooms.  This has led to a unique partnership between the Boston Public Schools, EdVestors and other foundations that recently culminated in the launch of the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative, a three-year effort to expand direct arts instruction during the school day to all students in the BPS district.


Ann McQueen
Senior Program Officer, The Boston Foundation

Ann McQueen exemplifies activism, advocacy, and vision in the arts. She is not only the Senior Program Officer at The Boston Foundation, where she has left an indelible imprint on the arts community over the past 16 years, but she is also on the Board of Directors for Grantmakers in the Arts, she is Co-Chair of the Neck Art Project for LandWave, and the owner of a fine arts and commercial photography company, McQueen Studio.  As a working artist, Ann’s photography has been published in 3 anthologies of work from the Polaroid Collection and is represented in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Her photography has taken her to Europe, Turkey, Egypt, China, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Ms. McQueen is a strong and long-standing proponent for public arts projects and sustaining our cultural abundance through community-based art experiences and opportunities, particularly in and around the Boston area.  The Neck Art Project is an initiative of the residents of Boston’s South End and others to implement the public art project, LandWave, in Peters Park to mark the historic neck of the Shawmut Peninsula.

Ann has served on the Board of Directors of the United South End Settlements, a non-profit organization management industry.  Previous positions included being coordinator for Grants and Research of the Worcester Art Museum, a consultant for the LEF Foundation, and a Fellow in Arts Administration at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ann McQueen earned a B.A. in Art History from Wheaton College, a M.S. in Film from Boston University, and another M.S., for Arts Administration at Lesley University.


Paul Reville
Massachusetts Secretary of Education

Paul Reville assumed the position the Massachusetts Secretary of Education on July 1, 2008 where he will be overseeing the recently created Executive Office of Education. He is a Senior Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and recently stepped down as the Director of the Education Policy and Management Program while he serves as Secretary.

He is the former president of the Rennie Center for Education Research& Policy, an independent policy organization dedicated to the improvement of PreK-12 public education. Reville is also the former Chairman of the Massachusetts State Board of Education and has served,over the years, on numerous state task forces and committees.Additionally, Reville is the former executive director of the Pew Forum on Standards-Based Reform, a Harvard-based, national education policy”think tank” which convened the U.S.’s leading researchers,practitioners, and policymakers to set the national “standards” agenda.

Reville was founding executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE), which provided key conceptual and political leadership for the Education Reform Act of 1993. He also served on the Massachusetts State Board of Education, where he chaired the Massachusetts Commission on Time and Learning. From 1996 to 2003, Reville chaired the Massachusetts Education Reform Review Commission, which provided research and oversight for implementation of education reform.


Richard J. Deasy
Executive Director, Arts Education Partnership

Richard J. Deasy was the Executive Director of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) for more than a decade. AEP is a coalition of over100 education, arts, business, philanthropic, and government organizations co-founded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the Council for Chief State School Officers and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, which demonstrates and promotes the essential role of arts education in enabling all students to succeed in school, life, and work.

Under his leadership AEP published seminal research studies and reports that are credited with major advances in arts education in the United States. He commissioned and edited AEP’s widely acclaimed compendium of research, Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, and co-authored Third Space: When Learning Matters,a study of the transformative effects of the arts in high poverty schools.

Mr. Deasy has been a senior state education official in Maryland and Pennsylvania, president and CEO of the National Council for International Visitors, and a prize-winning reporter on politics and government in Philadelphia and the surrounding metropolitan area. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on slum housing conditions in suburban Philadelphia.


Doug Herbert
Special Assistant on Teacher Quality and Arts Education, U.S. Department of Education

Doug Herbert is a Special Assistant on Teacher Quality and Arts Education in the Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. From 1992 to May 2004, he was the Director of Arts Education at the National Endowment for the Arts. Under his leadership,the Endowment partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to support the development of national voluntary standards in arts education; to establish inclusion of the arts in The Nation’s Report Card; to evaluate the conditions of arts education nationwide using the Department of Education’s Fast Response Survey System; and to create the Arts Education Partnership.

Mr. Herbert previously served as the programs assistant director,coordinating efforts to develop an arts education research agenda and to recognize exemplary arts education programs. Mr. Herbert was also the national program director for Very Special Arts, an educational affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


Thomas H. Payzant
Superintendent, Boston Public Schools

Thomas H. Payzant served as superintendent of the Boston Public Schools from October of 1995 until his retirement in June of 2006. He is a professor of practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before coming to Boston, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve as assistant secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education with the United States Department of Education.

Over the past decade he has led a number of significant systemic reform efforts that have helped narrow the achievement gap and increase student performance on both state and national assessment exams.

In addition to his tenure in Boston, Payzant has served as Superintendent of Schools in San Diego, Oklahoma City, Eugene, Oregon,and Springfield, Pennsylvania. Payzant’s work has been recognized by educators at the regional and national level. In 1998, he was named Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year.

In 2004, he received the Richard R. Green Award for Excellence in Urban Education from the Council on Great City Schools. Governing Magazine named Payzant one of eight “Public Officials of the Year” in 2005. Payzant also received the McGraw Prize for his leadership of the San Diego school system from 1982 through 1993.


Schuyler G. Chapin
Former Commissioner, NY Department of Cultural Affairs

Schuyler G. Chapin is a former Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City during the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, beginning in 1994. He was vice president (1963-68) in charge of programming of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In 1972 Chapin became acting general manager and then general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, a position he held until 1976. He was dean of the Columbia University School of the Arts from 1976 to 1987, when he became dean emeritus. He is the author of Leonard Bernstein: Notes from a Friend (1992) and Sopranos, Mezzos, Tenors, Bassos and Other Friends(1995).


Joseph W. Polisi
President, The Juilliard School

Joseph W. Polisi has been the president of The Juilliard School since September 1984. Previously Dr. Polisi was Dean of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Dean of Faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, and Executive Officer of the Yale University School of Music. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale, as well as a degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and one in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

As a bassoonist, Dr. Polisi has performed throughout the United States in solo and chamber performances, as well as at The Juilliard School,Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and at Avery Fisher Hall.

He has written many scholarly and educational articles for professional journals, is a frequent speaker on arts and education issues, has produced several sound recordings, primarily focusing on contemporary American music, and has recorded a solo album of 20th-century bassoon music for Crystal Records. His book, The Artist as Citizen, was published by Amadeus Press in January 2005. His most recent book,American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman, the first complete biography of the distinguished composer and arts administrator, will be published by Amadeus Press in October 2008.


Roberta Guaspari
Co-Founder, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music

Roberta Guaspari is Co-Founder and Director of Performance of Opus 118Harlem School of Music. In 1991, 150 kids in three East Harlem public elementary schools were about to lose their cherished violin program as a result of budget cuts. Working with parents, other teachers and volunteers, their violin teacher, Roberta Guaspari, founded Opus 118Harlem School of Music, a private, nonprofit organization, to save the program and to continue to serve public school students in low-income areas.

Roberta Guaspari’s passionate struggle to keep music instruction alive in Harlem’s public schools has inspired two films: Small Wonders, a1996 documentary produced by Allan Miller, and Miramax’s 1999 feature film, Music of the Heart, starring Meryl Streep; both films received Academy Award nominations. The New York City Schools Chancellor restored funds for Ms. Guaspari and for two more Opus violin teachers.Today, Opus serves in six New York public schools.