Board of Directors

Officers

Diane Ashley

Diane de Vries Ashley

President

Director, Banco do Brasil, Americas

Fluent in five languages, Ms. Ashley brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her extensive banking career which has included positions with Bank Trust, American Express, Espirito Santo, and Bank of America. She completed her undergraduate studies at Jackson College of Tuft University and graduate studies at Columbia University. In addition to serving on Arts for Learning’s Board of Directors, she has served as a board member of the Jackson Memorial Foundation and the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts.

Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis

Vice President

Founding Dean of Dance
New World School of the Arts
President, Miami Dance Futures
Daniel Lewis is an internationally-recognized dancer, teacher, choreographer and author, who joined New World School of the Arts (NWSA) in Miami, Florida as founding Dean of Dance in 1987. Here, drawing from nearly three decades of experience in the field, Mr. Lewis created the dance division’s eight-year professional program. In addition to developing and managing NWSA’s dance program, Mr. Lewis has heightened modern dance awareness in South Florida through Miami Dance Futures, a company he formed in 1988. Miami Dance Futures produced the highly successful Miami Balanchine Conference, the Dance History Scholars’ Conference, the National High School Dance Festival and the Modern Dance Sampler. Miami Dance Futures also produces local dance companies, including Houlihan and Dancers and Rosita Segovia’s Ballet Español.
Mr. Lewis is perhaps most widely known for his association with the work of Jose Limón, dancing with the company from 1962-74. As a choreographer, Mr. Lewis has been commissioned to create works by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Dallas Civic Opera, American Opera Center at Lincoln Center, Amherst College, the University of California at Los Angeles, and The Juilliard School, as well as companies in South America and England. His repertory company, Daniel Lewis Dance, has performed and taught extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Scandinavia.
Mr. Lewis graduated from New York’s High School of Performing Arts in 1962 and The Juilliard School in 1967.
He has been received numerous national accolades including, but not limited to: The Florida Arts Recognition Award in 2001; Honorary Chairman of “dance4life,” a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Nancy Smith Award in 2002; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Dance Educations Organization in 2010. In 2011, Mr. Lewis received a proclamation from the floor of the Florida State Senate for his works in the arts in Florida by Senator Anitere Flores and he received the Martha Hill Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. February 5th, 2011 was declared “Daniel Lewis Day” in Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami.

NAbraham Issa

N. Abraham Issa

Secretary

First Vice President – Wealth Advisor
UBS Financial Services
Abraham is a Wealth Advisor with UBS Financial Services and has been in the financial service industry since 1993. He earned his Certified Financial Planner designation in 2000, and currently focuses his practice on the growth and preservation of wealth for successful families, executives and private foundations. Abraham earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law and was an attorney prior to moving to Florida in 1987. He currently serves on the Pension Board for the Town of Surfside, and is a non attorney member of the Unlicensed Practice of Law committee for the Florida Bar Association.
Abraham’s dedication to the arts stems from his early childhood exposure to music and the visual arts. He believes that art provides unmatched opportunities to develop skills of all children that are critical for their success. Whether it is through encouraging creativity and risk taking, learning the art of expression, or simply developing the connections for cognitive skills, he believes that art can be the essential catalyst for successful learning. He is grateful to be a part of Arts for Learning and its commitment to ensuring that children of all backgrounds have the same opportunities to succeed while at the same time enriching our community of South Florida.

Chris Harrisson

Chris Harrison

Treasurer

Senior Vice President
Risk & Advisory Services
Assurant, Inc.
Chris Harrison CIA, CMA, is the Chief Audit Executive at Assurant, Inc., a specialty insurance company and a member of the Fortune 500. In this leadership role, Chris is responsible for ensuring that all of Assurant’s worldwide internal auditing activity provides the Board of Directors and management with independent, objective assurance and consulting advice designed to improve the effectiveness of Assurant’s operations.
Chris has been with Assurant for 27 years beginning in 1988 when he joined American Bankers Insurance Group in Miami as a financial analyst. Since then he has held positions in several different areas including Finance, IT, HR and now Audit. In 2006 he was named SVP of Human Resources for Assurant Specialty Property, one of the four divisions of Assurant, Inc. where he was recognized for his leadership and contribution to the successful integration of a significant acquisition. In 2008 he assumed his current role. Here again, he has been recognized for successfully transforming the Risk and Advisory Services Department into a highly effective internal audit function which repeatedly provides value to the Board of Directors and management. He is now on a mission to ensure that the department continues to develop on its journey to being a world class internal audit function.
Chris received a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from the University of Windsor, in Ontario, Canada and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Florida. He is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

Directors

William Betts

Real Estate Developer and Investor & Artist
Born and raised in New York City, William Betts graduated from Arizona State University in 1991 with a B.A. in Studio Art and a minor in philosophy, with high honors. Between 1991 and 2002, he held various executive positions in the technology field, running global application software companies. Before leaving the business world to pursue his painting career full-time in 2002, he was a senior executive responsible for European operations.
In his artistic practice, Betts makes paintings that utilize complex industrial processes that reflect the possibilities of an analog medium in a digital age. Betts’ work has been written about and exhibited extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Betts’ work has been featured recently in Rasterfahndung (Tracing the Grid) at the Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart, as well as in exhibitions at the Arlington Museum of Art, University of Dallas, John Michael Kohler Art Center, University of Texas, Trinity University, Salt Lake City Art Center, University of Wisconsin, Eau-Claire, the Albuquerque Museum, and the Blaffer Museum, University of Houston.
Betts’ work is represented by Margaret Thatcher Projects in New York, the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque, the Kostuik Gallery in Vancouver, the McClain Gallery in Houston, The Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas and the Plus Gallery in Denver.
Betts has been very active in supporting arts non-profits for many years. From 2005 – 2009, he served on the board of the Lawndale Arts Center in Houston, and acted as interim Executive Director in 2008, creating its residency program. Betts also served on the board of Diverseworks Artspace from 2009 – 2013 and as Board President from 2012-2013, as well as a member of the Advisory Board for the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston from 2010-2013. Betts was a Board Member and Treasurer for the Wynwood Arts District Association in Miami.
In addition to his creative practice, Betts is an active real estate investor, buying and re-purposing industrial properties in the Wynwood, Alapatta and Miami River areas of Miami. Currently, he directly owns and manages approximately 40,000 square feet of space in the Miami area.

Kristen Corpion

Associate
Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin
Kristen A. Corpion is an associate in the law firm of Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A. She began her legal career as an associate at Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Kristen earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law, where she was a member of the Moot Court Board, the Berkeley Business Law Journal, and the Berkeley Technology and Law Journal. Kristen earned her B.A., with honors, from the University of South Florida, summa cum laude, with a dual major in Anthropology and Political Science. Kristen volunteers her time to serve clients pro bono, and is actively involved in the Miami community. She serves as a Director of Dade County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section and Co-Chairs Dade Legal Aid’s Venture Law Project Advisory Board. Kristen Chairs Legal Services of Greater Miami’s Young Profession Committee and Co-chairs the Legal Eagle Closing Argument Competition. Kristen has been appointed by the Florida Bar to serve on the Florida Bar’s Professional Ethics Committee. Kristen is admitted to practice in Florida.

Sammy Figueroa

Sammy Figueroa

Musician

Double Grammy Nominee
Sammy Figueroa has long been known as one of the world’s great musicians. The son of the well-known romantic singer Charlie Figueroa, he is a self-taught master percussionist and is known for his versatility and ability to play in many styles. Sammy has recorded and toured with a multitude of artists from Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins to Mariah Carey and David Bowie. When Sammy moved to South Florida in 2001 he found a treasure trove of great musicians from all over the world. Putting together a band with the best players in town he debuted as a leader in 2002 and since then has released three albums, received two Grammy Nominations, toured all over the world and gained thousands of fans. Sammy has always had a special love for children and is looking forward to working closely with Arts for Learning to support childhood development through the arts.

Josh Fuller

Director

Pensam Funding
Josh Fuller serves as Director for Pensam Funding. He is responsible for originating, underwriting, managing and servicing Pensam Funding’s portfolio.
Josh has 13 years of experience in the commercial real estate financing sector. Prior to joining Pensam, Josh served as a Vice President of Asset management and Advisory at Situs, after working in real estate investment banking and commercial real estate lending at Tricon American Homes, L.L.C., Harbour Realty Advisors, Inc., American Real Estate Capital, L.L.C., Brothers Property Corp., Credit Suisse, Inc., and Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. Josh has extensive experience in credit risk, loan workouts, note purchases, structured finance, preferred equity, mezzanine financing, asset dispositions, real estate acquisitions, asset management, loan origination, underwriting, servicing, asset valuation, construction rehabilitation, design, and development.
Josh is from Miami, FL and holds a J.D. / M.B.A. from Stetson University College of Law, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Degree from The American University.

Janine Mills

Estate Agent

ONE Sotheby’s International Realty
Working out of both the Fort Lauderdale and Bay Harbor offices of ONE Sotheby’s Realty, Janine Mills has always had a passion for helping others live the lifestyle of their dreams. As an experienced Interior Designer, she has the ability to see the potential in a space, and develop a program that will meet the client’s requirements. As an Estate Agent, Janine puts this creative ability to work for her clients, using Virtual and traditional Staging methods to help buyers envision and realize the potential of a home.
On the business side, Janine has an extensive background in sales and negotiating from her previous career in Marketing for a top Fortune 500 company. She consistently exceeds expectations and is highly regarded by clients and colleagues alike.
In addition, Janine has a particular interest in French language and culture, and has studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is a graduate of Yale University, and with her degree in Psychology, is skilled at understanding her clients’ needs.
Coming from the family of an orthopedic surgeon, Janine understands the needs and pressures of busy professionals and families alike. She is the proud mother of a daughter, Marina, who is currently a college student pursuing a career in medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.
Janine is committed to giving back to the community as well, and has worked on projects with Links, Jack and Jill, Healthy Mothers-Healthy Babies, in addition to serving as an Arts for Learning Board Member.

Louise Potash

Arts and Education Advocate, Writer, Editor, Educator, Environmental Resilience Advocate

An educator for over 25 years, Louise Potash has taught an array of students and subjects in the Northeastern United States and in South Florida. She previously contributed to Arts for Learning (A4L)’s GetSmART Program, assisting A4L’s then Director of Education for In-School Programs, Dia Carter Webb. Upon returning to teaching, Louise continued to take on projects for A4L over several years. Recently, as Louise shifted from educator to writer/editor, and as A4L upgraded their website, she edited that new site. She also worked on A4L’s Program Theory and Logic Model, and most recently, has volunteered to observe A4L programs and write pieces to broaden A4L’s exposure.
In addition to her passion for the arts and education (especially A4L), Louise has become an advocate for environmental resilience in the community through Catalyst Miami’s Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience (CLEAR Miami) program. Louise maintains that building community builds resilience, and the arts are an effective way to build community. She believes that even when dealing with direct environmental threats, Miami can become more resilient through education, and the arts are a powerful way to connect people while educating for sustainability.

Cricket Taplin

Cricket Taplin

Curator

A devoted supporter of the arts, Cricket Taplin’s ardent commitment first began at a young age while studying ballet for fifteen years in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. What began as a hobby quickly turned into a passion, when in 1988 Cricket cofounded the Margulies Taplin Gallery along with husband and business magnate Martin Taplin and her friend, renowned art collector Martin Margulies. The gallery held works from a variety of well-known artists, such as Vik Muniz, Manuel Neri, Nancy Graves, Jonathan Lasker, Peter Halley and Joel Shapiro, among others. Cricktet’s newfound enthusiasm for art allowed her to merge her growing knowledge and love for the arts with the ability to build a formidable collection of modern and contemporary art. When the gallery closed in 1997, Cricket and her husband continued to collect while traveling the world to visit artists, galleries, and museums, as well as private and public collections.
In 1997 the Taplins purchased the famed Sagamore Hotel on Miami Beach and Cricket made the groundbreaking decision to bring some of her private art collection, now known as the Cricket Taplin Collection, to the shared public spaces of the hotel. Cricket included paintings, works on paper, photography, mixed media, sculpture and video art by famed and emerging artists from every corner of the globe. As a result, this legendary Miami property was transformed into “The Art Hotel”, putting the Taplins, The Cricket Taplin Collection and the Sagamore at the heart of the Miami art scene until 2016.
By altering perceptions of how and where artwork is usually experienced, in either a gallery or museum, Cricket supports a broader agenda of furthering the dialogue on living intimately with art, through collecting, exhibition and public interface. To support this vision, Cricket championed several projects noteworthy for their public accessibility, performance and participatory aspects. This includes The Stairwell Projects, which involved eight invited artists from the New World School of the Arts who created two continuous murals in the stairwells of the hotel, as well as Spencer Tunick’s 2007 on-site installation, a controversial, yet well-received photo shoot featuring hundreds of people in the nude.
A veteran collector for over twenty-five years, Cricket’s passionate support for the arts has earned her Board positions with The Bass Museum, Arts for Learning, Locust Projects and Electronic Arts Network and ArtKabinett, among many other charitable organizations.

 

Clara Toro fx

Clara Toro

Arts and Education Advocate

Clara Toro was born in Medellin, Colombia. After receiving a degree in Industrial Design from The Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, she moved to Montreal, where she enrolled in a program of Sciences de L’Amenagement (Environmental sciences) at the University of Montreal. Clara also attended Pratt Institute after moving to New York City, where she finished the courses of her master’s program.
Clara has worked as a teacher for almost 15 years. She holds an Elementary Montessori teaching certificate, a K-12 Art teacher certificate and a K-6 Elementary certificate from the State of Florida. Currently, she volunteers at Jackson Memorial Hospital, working with children in the Oncology /Hematology unit. Clara is also the president of The Guild of Florida Grand Opera and a board member of Florida Grand Opera.

 

Founders’ Circle

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R. Kirk Landon

Chair Emeritus

Founding Board Chair (2000-2003)

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Carmen Maria Aguirre

Founding Board Member
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Lilia Garcia

Founding Partner Delegate
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Jane Gilbert

Founding Executive Director
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James M. Herron

Founding Board Member
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Betsy Kaplan

Founding Board Member
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Rhoda Levitt

Founding Board Member
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Michael Spring

Founding Partner Delegate