About

Board of Directors

  • Emily Potter-Ndiaye
    President
  • Amanda Thompson Rundahl
    Co-Vice President
  • Naomi Ostwald Kawamura
    Co-Vice President
  • Lynn Baum
    Secretary
  • Stephanie Downey
    Treasurer
  • Holly Gillette
    Communications Co-Chair
  • Michelle Dezember
    Communications Co-Chair
  • Kimberly McCray
    Editorial Co-Chair
  • Abigail Diaz
    Editorial Co-Chair
  • Emily Pinkowitz
    Board Member
  • Mariruth Leftwich, PhD
    Board Member
  • Sonal Bhatt
    Board Member
  • Braden Paynter
    Board Member
  • Adrienne Lalli Hills
    Board Member
  • Sarah Sims
    Board Member
  • Taylor Jeromos
    Board Member
  • Brindha Muniappan
    Board Member
  • Hazel Theriault
    Board Member
  • Wendy Ng
    Board Member

Emily Potter-Ndiaye leads museum programs that leverage history, art, and cultural heritage to spark and contextualize meaningful contemporary dialogue. Currently the Dwight and Kirsten Poler & Andrew W. Mellon Head of Education and Curator of Academic Programs at the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, she oversees student and faculty engagement through class visits, student employment/internship/mentoring, public programs, and inclusive interpretation. Her programmatic focus is on shared authority practice in museums, and bridging the divide between emerging scholarship and public humanities/cultural experiences through curricula, student leadership opportunities, and student-generated scholarship. Emily Potter-Ndiaye received an MA in Museum Studies from NYU and a BA in History and African Studies from Macalester College. Prior to her work at the Mead, she was Director of Education at Brooklyn Historical Society and led education programs at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, the New-York Historical Society, and Institution Marc Perrot in Dakar, Senegal.

Board Member Since: 2017

Current Position: President, Member of the Leadership Team

Amanda Thompson Rundahl joined the Saint Louis Art Museum as Director of Learning and Engagement in June 2014. In this role, she provides leadership for Engagement & Interpretation, Multigenerational Learning and the Richardson Memorial Library. She spent fifteen years prior to her arrival at SLAM as an educator at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The scope of her work in museum education since 1998 has included programs for docents, interns, youth, adults, families, and with diverse community partners. She also has experience in audience research and evaluation, onsite and online digital learning, and in-gallery interpretation and participatory experiences. Amanda co-curated Young People’s Ofrendas: Expressions of Life and Remembrance at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a project which was honored with a Silver MUSE Award for Digital Communities from the American Alliance of Museums Media & Technology Committee in 2013. Amanda holds a BA in art history and Spanish from St. Olaf College. She earned her MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a certificate in Museum Studies from New York University.

Board Member since: 2015

Current positions: Co-Vice President, Member of the Leadership Team and Editorial Team

Born and raised in California, Naomi Ostwald Kawamura is a Nisei educator and arts administrator who has held leadership positions with numerous arts & cultural organizations in the United States. Prior to moving to Canada, she served in director-level positions at the San Diego History Center, the California Center for the Arts, the Bay Area Video Coalition and the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, California. Naomi currently works at the Nikkei Place Foundation and is a PhD student in Education at the University of British Columbia. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Washington and her Master’s degree in Arts-in-Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Naomi lives with her husband and daughter in Vancouver.

Board member since: 2016

Current position: Co-Vice President, member of the Editorial Team

Lynn Baum has spent her entire career committed to the belief that museums have a special role to play in helping everyone become enthusiastic and successful learners. This has been her guiding concept in developing educational programs, evaluation plans and exhibits for all audiences. Lynn’s degrees in geology (Case Western Reserve University) and science museum education (Lesley University) have been a foundation for her work.

For much of her career, Lynn worked at the Museum of Science, Boston. During that time, she created and sustained suite of youth programs for urban teens, developing partnerships that continue today. These nationally recognized programs offered extended inter-generational learning and working opportunities for youth by utilizing all the resources within the museum, providing the museum with a new and more diverse workforce.

Currently, as principal of Turtle Peak Consulting, Lynn is involved with museum projects that are heavily focused on evaluation and education. Past and current clients include the MIT Museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and the Morton Arboretum, near Chicago. Additionally, Lynn teaches courses on learning theory and research and evaluation in the Museum Studies Program at Harvard.

Board Member Since: 2017

Current Position: Secretary, Member of the Leadership Team and Editorial Team

Stephanie Downey brings more than two decades of research and evaluation experience to her position as director of RK&A.  She takes pleasure in working closely with museums and other informal learning organizations to help them make a difference in the lives of their audiences.  Stephanie has undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology and ultimately is driven by her lifelong interest in how humans behave and make meaning.  Prior to joining RK&A in 1999, she conducted educational research and program evaluation in public schools.  Stephanie serves as treasurer on the board of the Museum Education Roundtable, frequently presents at professional association conferences like the American Alliance of Museums and the National Art Education Association, and regularly peer reviews manuscripts for the Journal of Museum Education and Curator.  When not working, you can find Stephanie in the kitchen trying new recipes, cheering on her children in their various activities, and hiking trails along the Hudson River.

Board Member since: 2016

Current Position: Treasurer, Member of the Leadership Team and Communications Team

Holly Gillette is an art museum educator with an interest in gallery teaching and community building. She is currently the Manager of Mobile Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where she oversees the Ancient World Mobile and Maya Mobile programs. Holly joined LACMA in 2012 as an education coordinator for the Art Programs with the Community: LACMA On-Site program, a position she held for six years. Prior to working at LACMA, Holly began her career in Museum Education at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, focusing on school, early childhood, and family audiences. Holly holds a MS.Ed. in leadership in museum education from Bank Street College Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in art history and studio art from University of California, Davis. Holly also serves on the Board of Museum Educators of Southern California (MESC) and is a Western Region Co-Representative for the American Alliance of Museum’s professional network EdCom. In her down time, you can find Holly knitting and posting on her Instagram @hollymarieknits and taking her mini schnauzer on hikes around Los Angeles.

Board Member Since: 2018

Current Position: Co-Chair, Member of the Leadership Team and Communications Team

Michelle Dezember is the founding Executive Director of Compound, a new community-oriented creative hub in Long Beach. Previously, she was Chief Program Officer at the Aspen Art Museum, which received a 2017 National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in recognition of her team’s work. She has also served as Interim Director and founding Head of Education at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, and as a museum educator at the de Saisset Museum, Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The Center for Architecture Foundation, the Queens Museum, and the Museum of the History of Immigration (Barcelona). She holds a diploma in Visual Cultural Studies from the University of Barcelona and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester.

Board Member Since: 2018

Current Position: Co-Chair, Communications Team, Member of the Leadership Team

Kimberly McCray, Ph.D., is a lifelong learner and museum educator with more than 15 years of museum professional experience with a keen interest in museum education, adult learning theory, and public programs. She joined Baylor University’s Department of Museum Studies as a full-time lecturer in January 2017. As a lecturer, McCray is deeply involved in teaching and also serves as one of the faculty co-moderators of the Museum Studies Student Association. Prior to moving to Waco, Texas, McCray completed her Ph.D. in Educational Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while working full-time as the adult programs coordinator at Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. At Shelburne Museum, she managed the visitor guide (docent) program and produced public programs for adult audiences. Her dissertation research explored infusing adult learning and development theory into the training/professional development of visitor guides at Shelburne Museum.

Previously, McCray worked as Director of Interpretation and Education at the Nantucket Historical Association and as the Public Programs Coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum. McCray also holds a B.A. in American studies, a B.A. in journalism, both from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.

Board Member Since: 2017

Current Position: Co-Chair, Editorial, Member of the Leadership Team

Abigail Diaz (she/her) has worked at thirteen cultural institutions across four states. Past professional experiences includes the Museum of Science and Industry, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA), the Michigan Science Center, Chicago Public Library and James Madison’s Montpelier. In her current role as Director of Education & Public Programs at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, she creates physically, cognitively and socially engaging educational experiences for all learners. She is a certified ADA Coordinator and was the Kennedy Center’s Emerging Leader in Accessibility in 2018. Abbie believes museums are for everyone and works every day to make that a reality.

Board Member Since: 2018

Current Position: Co-Chair, Editorial Team, Member of the Leadership Team

Emily Pinkowitz is the Director of Education at the Portland Audubon. She has fifteen years’ experience leveraging education and engagement strategies to build equity in public spaces. As Director of Programming & Engagement at WCS, she worked with teams at five parks across New York to implement an inclusive, audience-driven approach to education, and spearheaded a new city-wide initiative to democratize access to career training for 1,400 young people who work and learn across WCS parks. As Director of Programs & Education at Friends of the High Line during the park’s first six years, she initiated arts, history, nature and design programs for all ages and launched community engagement and economic justice initiatives with local public housing residents. Prior to the High Line, she worked as an educator and researcher in a number of museums, including the Oakland Museum of California, where she used visitor studies as a tool to incorporate the voices of local Black, Latino and Asian-American communities in the redesign of the Gallery of California Art, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where she worked to redesign the Kitchen Conversations program to engage visitors in reflective conversation about contemporary immigration. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from NYU, where she was a Museum Studies Fellow and an American Alliance of Museums Diversity Fellow, and served on the Board of the New York Museum Educators Roundtable from 2013-2017.

Board Member Since: 2019

Current Position: Member of the Communications Team

Mariruth Leftwich, PhD, has worked in the field of museum education and heritage interpretation for more than fifteen years. She currently serves as the Senator John Heinz History Center’s Education Manager, overseeing school, teacher, early learning, and youth programs for the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the History Center, Mariruth served as e-Learning Officer at the Museum of London, where she developed one of the UK’s first museum-based digital learning studios. Her work experience has also included museum teaching at the Atlanta History Center and tenure as Vice President for Education & Programs at the Charlotte Museum of History, where she built the education and public programs department with the opening of a new museum. Mariruth holds a PhD from the University of London’s Institute of Education in the area of museum education, an MEd focusing on curriculum design and instructional technology, an MA in history from Royal Holloway, and a BA in history with secondary teaching certification from Oglethorpe University.

Board Member since: 2015

Current Position: AAM Liason, Member of the Leadership Team and Editorial Team

Sonal Bhatt is Vice President of Education and Interpretation at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She directs BBG’s renowned education programs focused on inquiry-based, hands-on learning about plants, science, and the environment. Her portfolio includes programs and training for teachers, schools and families, continuing education programs for adults, and interpretation and exhibitions throughout the Garden. In addition she oversees the Garden’s partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment (BASE) High School and BBG’s library, gardener’s resource center, and archives. Most recently has worked with her team to create programs that welcome children with all abilities in the Garden’s new Discovery Garden, programming for adults with memory loss, and diversity training for all of her staff. She has also worked on how to address issues of physical accessibility in the Garden. Prior to coming to BBG in 2009, Sonal managed interpretive projects at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s zoos and aquarium and worked in the natural history department and family-focused art space, the Art and Nature Center, at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston University. She has been working in cultural institutions for over 20 years creating educational experiences and sharing her love of all things science.

Board Member Since: 2017

Current Position: Member of the Communications Team

Braden Paynter is the Program Manager for Membership, Methodology and Practice at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, where he collaborates with sites to help refine and spread their great ideas to other members and the wider fields. Braden also helps sites to do their best work through training, coaching, and consulting on facilitated dialogue, public programing, exhibitions, and community engagement, with focuses in issues of race, slavery, activism, and violence prevention. Braden’s past work has focused on using public education spaces to connect people to each other and the world around them. Before joining the Coalition, Braden worked with the National Park Service at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Mount Rainier, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and the National Capital Region. He was also the exhibit developer at Old Sturbridge Village. Braden has his MA in museum studies from George Washington.

Board Member Since: 2018

Current Position: DC Liaison, Member of the Editorial Team

Adrienne Lalli Hills is Manager, Exhibitions and Public Programs at ahha Tulsa, where she organizes rotating exhibitions and leads operations for studio programming and an arts-focused Maker Space. As Senior Interpretive Planner at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, she worked with colleagues to produce visitor-centered exhibitions, permanent collection reinstallations, and pan-institutional interpretive initiatives. Adrienne earned her MA, Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Tulsa. Adrienne is a citizen of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma.

Board Member Since: 2017

Current Position: Recruitment Chair

Sarah Sims is the Director of Visitor Engagement and Accessibility at the Missouri Historical Society
where she works with a team to ensure a welcoming, meaningful and equitable experience for all the
Museum’s visitors. Her areas of interest are museum literacy, visitor motivations, the connection
between empathy and the museum experience, and making museums physically, intellectually, and
culturally accessible to all visitors. Prior to her current role, Sarah held positions in K-12 Education at the
Missouri Historical Society and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She also currently serves on the Board
of Directors for the Museum Education Roundtable, the group the publishes the Journal of Museum
Education. Sarah holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Museum
Studies and Art History from Case Western Reserve University.

Board member since: 2016

Current position: Member of the Editorial Team

Taylor Jeromos is the Programs Coordinator at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House in Buffalo, NY, where she uses her background in museum programming and education to help facilitate engaging and unique experiences for visitors from around the world. Taylor’s career has focused on creating programming, centering diverse narratives, and facilitating informal learning opportunities for people of all ages. She’s been a part of the education teams at a number of museums, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Taylor earned a Master’s in Museum Studies and Public History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and holds a Bachelor’s in Medieval and Gender History from Earlham College.

Board Member Since: 2018

Current Position: Member of the Communications Team

Brindha Muniappan is the Senior Director of the Museum Experience at the Discovery Museum in Acton, MA. She is enthusiastic about producing meaningful ways for people of all ages and diverse experiences to engage with science and technology, and working in a variety of museums has helped her accomplish this. Her work at the Discovery Museum continues a focus on diversifying audiences through intentional collaborations with local community organizations. Before joining the Discovery Museum in 2019, Brindha had spent eight years at the MIT Museum leading the Education & Public Programs team and had been an Education Associate in the Current Science & Technology group at the Museum of Science, Boston. Brindha’s passion for science communication led her from the research bench at MIT — she has a degree in environmental engineering and PhD in biological engineering — and into the field of informal science education.

Board Member Since: 2019

Current Position: Member of the Communications Team

Hazel Theriault is a museum professional passionate about IDEA concept work & helping people to find their curiosity. She currently serves at the Manager of Public Programs at the Orlando Science Center, where her work has included developing The Hive: A Makerspace, working with NSF grant projects, & implementing professional development training as a Portal to the Public representative. Hazel started as a volunteer docent at the Mummies of the World exhibit at the Orlando Science Center in 2015 & previously worked at Skeletons: Museum of Osteology. She was recently featured as one of the JetBlue Foundation’s Fly Women & aims to inspire young people of all identities to view STEM careers as a possibility. Because of her passion for this work, she developed Visitor Experience focused IDEA workshops at her institution. Hazel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology & a Crime Scene Investigation Certificate from the University of Central Florida.

Board Member Since: 2019

Current Position: Member of the Communications Team

Wendy Ng is an informal education specialist and advocate for equity and inclusion. As an immigrant and settler on occupied Indigenous lands, she has worked to change educational institutions from the inside out by holding space and building platforms for authentic voices historically marginalized from the narratives of museums and galleries. She has done so by implementing strategic plans, change management, and culture transformation initiatives throughout her career managing educational programming in large public institutions including the Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, and Art Gallery of Ontario. She presents regularly at national and international conferences and is a published author with a focus on social justice in museum education. Her museum career began with a paid position at the Science Museum in London, England and paid internships at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Wendy holds a MAT in Museum Education from George Washington University, a BFA and BEd from York University, and is a certified teacher in Ontario.

Board Member Since: 2019

Current position: Member of the Editorial Team