About

Board of Directors

  • Naomi Ostwald Kawamura
    President
  • Michelle Dezember
    Co-Vice President
  • Wendy Ng
    Co-Vice President
  • Abigail Diaz
    Co-Treasurer
  • Adrienne Lei
    Co-Treasurer
  • Rebecca Ljungren
    Board Member, Interim Co-Treasurer
  • Lynn Baum
    Secretary
  • Kimberly McCray
    AAM/EdCom Liaison
  • Emily Potter-Ndiaye
    Co-Chair, Editorial
  • Kate Zankowicz
    Co-Chair, Editorial
  • Sarah Bloom
    Co-Chair, Communications
  • Hazel Theriault
    Co-Chair, Communications
  • Brindha Muniappan
    Board Member
  • Jordia Benjamin
    Board Member
  • Adria Brown
    Board Member
  • Taylor Jeromos
    Communications Co-Chair
  • Braden Paynter
    Board Member
  • Alexandra Morris
    Board Member

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: President

Michelle Dezember is the Director of Learning and Engagement, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. 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-Vice President, member of the Communications Team and Leadership 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: Co-Vice President; Member of the Editorial Team and 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 & Programs at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, she creates physically, cognitively and socially engaging educational experiences for all learners. Abbie 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-Treasurer, member of the Communications Team and Leadership Team

Adrienne Lei is the Manager of Education & Public Programs at The Frick Collection in New York City, where she has worked since 2008. Adrienne holds an MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University Teachers College.

Board Member Since: 2020

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

Rebecca Ljungren is an Education Specialist at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Her main role is as an Astronomy Education Program Coordinator, managing all aspects of the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory and related astronomy education programs and content. Rebecca’s activities include developing and conducting in-person and virtual programs for the public; training and mentoring educators, interns, and volunteers; organizing and conducting outreach at the local and national level; and developing exhibitions.

Rebecca began developing her expertise in informal learning and interpreting science and history while working part-time at the National Air and Space Museum while earning her B.A. in Art History from American University. She went on to earn an M.A.T. in Museum Education from George Washington University. Her professional interests include examining the relationships between science, history, art, and social justice. Through her work, she advocates for an equitable, inclusive, and accessible experience for all within museums and in daily life.

Board Member Since: 2021

Current Position:  Member of the Communications 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

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:  AAM/EdCom Liaison, Member of the Editorial Team and Leadership Team

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

Kate Zankowicz (she/her/hers) is a museum education practitioner who has created community-driven, inclusive programming in museums in Canada and the US for the past 15 years. Her practice has centered around creating collaborative programming with, not for, communities. 

Kate holds a PhD in Education, with a focus on museum-based learning, from the University of Toronto (OISE). She currently serves as the Manager of Youth, Family and Community Engagement at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. 

During her current tenure at the Huntington, Kate introduced the first occupational therapy doctoral residency, as well as garden-based and arts-based programming with families of all abilities. She also implemented free preschool arts programming, free drop-in multilingual family programs, and  multisensory tours with blind and partially sighted community members.

 Kate designs, develops and implements inclusive curricula and museum experiences, and speaks regularly about inclusive museum education at local and international conferences. She also serves on the DEI Committee at The Huntington and is involved with various cross-institutional DEI initiatives in Los Angeles.

Board Member Since: 2020

Current Position: Co-chair of the Editorial Team

Sarah Bloom recently joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Discovery Center as the Sr. Officer for Interpretation and Visitor Engagement – overseeing K-12 Education Programs, Youth Programs, Interpretive Strategies and Exhibitions. Prior to this most recent tenure, Sarah served as the Associate Director of Education at the Seattle Art Museum, where for the past eight years, she played a key role in developing and strengthening SAM’s programs across the museum’s three sites: SAM Downtown, the Asian Art Museum, and the Olympic Sculpture Park.. Education, engagement, and outreach have always been at the core of Sarah’s work. Prior to SAM, Sarah held positions with the Getty Museum, the Norton Simon, and the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Los Angeles. A native of Alexandria, Egypt, Sarah received a BA from Boston University and an MA from the University of Colorado in Classical Art & Archaeology.

Board Member Since: 2020

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

Hazel Theriault is a museum professional passionate about inclusivity, community, and helping folks pursue their curiosity. She currently serves as the Guest Engagement Assistant Manager at the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, Illinois. She previously served as the Youth Program Manager at the Indiana State Museum and the Manager of Public Programs at the Orlando Science Center, developing strong teams and creating quality content for diverse audiences in the surrounding communities, including families, school age children, and Scouts. In the past, she worked at Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, lovingly dubbed the “dead zoo”. In all things, Hazel strives to improve her field, her community, and herself through IDEA work, diligence, and collaboration.

Board Member Since: 2019

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

Jordia Benjamin is an art museum educator, community engagement specialist, and college instructor with over a decade working in the museum sector at both national and international institutions. She believes public engagement work is critical to a museum’s mission and should lie at the heart of its strategic priority to expand access, engagement, and opportunities for its local and global audiences.

Jordia has worked primarily in museum education; first, at the Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida, then leading the education department at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, along with being selected as the 21st Romare Bearden Graduate Minority Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

A Bahamian native, Jordia received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art concentrating in Painting from the University of South Florida;  a Master of Nonprofit Management and a graduate certificate in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. She is also a Certified Museum Professional from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

Jordia is currently the Mirken Senior Coordinator of Programs and Audience Engagement at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine where she oversees all of the Museum’s public programs and community engagement initiatives.

Board Member Since: 2020

Current Position: Member of the Communications Team

Adria Brown (she/her/hers) is the Curator of Exhibitions and Education at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. She oversees exhibition development & educational programs on the Chickasaw Nation’s archaeological, fine arts, photographic, and archival document collections. She is passionate about the role of Native-operated museums & cultural centers in deconstructing harmful narratives of Indigenous peoples with truthful and transformative experiences. Prior to her current role, she held positions at the Laumeier Sculpture Park, Missouri Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Hood Museum of Art. She holds a B.A. in Native American Studies and Art History from Dartmouth College and an M.S.W concentrated in serving American Indian & Alaska Native Communities. She is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Board Member Since: 2021

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

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

Alexandra F. Morris is currently a disabled PhD student in history and the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Law’s Postgraduate Student Representative at Teesside University. Her PhD research focuses on disability during the Hellenistic/Ptolemaic Period. Other interests include making museums more accessible and inclusive for the disabled community, Ptolemaic Egypt, Alexander the Great, and ancient Egyptian and Greek art, medicine, politics, and religious practices. She has an MA in Museum Studies from New York University and an MA in Near Eastern Languages & Civilisations (Egyptology) from the University of Pennsylvania. Her BA is in Archaeological Studies, Anthropology, and Art History with minors in Classics and history from SUNY Potsdam. She has cerebral palsy.

Board Member Since: 2021

Current Position:  Member of the Editorial Team