Jessica Mele joined the Workshop in April 2006, where she combines her love of the performing arts with her interests in education and community building. In the community, she currently serves as the Advocacy Co-Chair for the Arts Provider's Alliance of San Francisco and as a member of the steering committees of Teaching Artists Organized and the Alameda County Office of Education's Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership.
From 2002-2005, Jessica managed the academic research projects of Marshall Ganz at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She also developed her own negotiation and community building skills as an organizer for the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (AFSCME, AFL-CIO).
Artistic Director: Gary Draper
Gary has held many roles at Performing Arts Workshop, including student, artist, mentor, and administrator. Gary conducts professional development workshops and supervises the Workshop's Internship programs and the Workshop's artistic staff. Gary's additional duties include curriculum design, writing and revising educational resource materials, program evaluation and fundraising. Gary's education in Theatre Arts and Literature includes study at the American Conservatory Theatre and UC Berkeley.
Administrative Assistant: Emily Bozentka
Born and raised in Southern California, Emily moved to the Bay Area in 2006 to attend UC Berkeley, where she double majored in English and Music. Prior to joining the Workshop, she worked for two years as a Recreation Activities Leader for the City of Berkeley, where she helped lead after school programs and summer camps. Emily has an extensive background in dance and music, and believes that a deep and engaging experience with the arts is crucial in the social, emotional, and intellectual development of a child.
She is thrilled to help Performing Arts Workshop carry out its mission of helping young people develop critical thinking, creative expression, and basic learning skills through the arts. Outside of work she is an amateur florist, cake decorator, and balloon artist, and enjoys reading, doing impromptu craft projects, singing, and all things performing arts.
Finance and Operations Manager: Ivy Ho
Ivy joined the Workshop in March 2012. Before taking part in the current position, she has had 10 years extensive experience in the capacity of Manager in the areas of Budgeting, Finance and Accounting in various sectors and different sizes of non-profit organizations. She is an MsBA graduate of San Francisco State University and holds an MBA degree from University of Leicester, UK. At leisure, she enjoys traveling, hiking and dining. Mostly, she shares passion in visual arts and performing arts.
A Native of East Palo Alto, California, Larry studied English Literature at San Francisco State University and interned with the San Jose Mercury News, as one of the first reporting interns for EPA Today, East Palo Alto's first local newspaper. Prior to working at Performing Arts Workshop, he worked as the Assistant to the Executive Director of The East Palo Alto Arts Initiative sponsored by Community Development Institute, which brought performance art classes to Ravenswood City School District Schools no longer offering performing arts education to their students.
A former Brooklynite, Lorena Landeros, joined the workshop after teaching Middle School English and Special Education in the South Bronx. She melds her classroom experience with her deep love of the arts to work towards social justice and educational equity. Through her own experience both as a student and as an educator, she has observed the deep impact that art and meaningful teaching have on young minds.
She earned a B.A. in English from San Francisco State University, an Ed.M from Hunter College, and is a Teach for America alumnus.
When the sun goes down, she indulges in film, theatre, music, writing, photography, and cooking. She values understanding the world through travel and immersion in the community.
Institutional Giving Manager:
After a good long run as a development consultant, and the Workshop’s go-to contract grant writer for nearly a decade, Laurie happily joined as staff in February 2012. Her favorite part of the work is visiting Workshop classes and seeing the kids all those grants support.
Laurie’s education was steeped in the arts. She now aims her skills and passion for research, writing, art and social justice at restoring arts learning opportunities to all public schools as a matter of equity. In addition to her role at the Workshop, she has consulted for the Alameda County Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership since 2008.
Laurie holds a B.A. in English with minors in Art and Philosophy from William Smith College, and an M.A. (+) in Critical Theory/Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University.
For fun outside of work, Laurie enjoys walking and running around, making things out of clay, and writing things that aren't grant proposals. She has written about cooking as performance art here.
Individual Giving Manager: Beverly E. Mislang
Beverly has a lifelong commitment to serving youth. Prior to joining the Workshop, Beverly fundraised for several non-profit organizations in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, most recently at Streetside Stories. An AmeriCorps alumnus, Beverly has worked with several organizations that ensure all young people have the resources they need to succeed in school, and in life. Outside the Workshop, she enjoys jamming on the piano and faux guitars, rocking the karaoke mic, and reading. Beverly received her B.A. in Political Science and History at UCLA.
Program Director: Karena Salmond
Karena joined the Workshop in the fall of 2007 and quickly grew to love working closely with teaching artists and school staff. She brings experience as a former visual arts instructor at Mission Day Care in San Francisco and education administration at Chicago Children's Museum. Her operating values of social justice and community align with her interests in youth development and non-profit work. She holds a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from her hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan and a Masters in International & Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. When not working, she enjoys cooking, dance classes, and wandering around the city.