We are seeking a diverse and exceptional group of professionals, government and foundation executives, educators, artists, community leaders, or business executives, to serve on our Board of Directors. Candidates must have a commitment to excellence in education in its broadest sense and to the principal that access to quality education makes a profound difference in the lives of people and their communities.

Board of Directors

Jennifer HolmDSC_0341es, Ph.D. (Chair) co-founded Global Empowerment Theatre in Zanzibar, East Africa, with her husband in the summer of 2007. She has been an educator, director and performer in New York City for over two decades. Currently, she serves as Executive Director of Pace Performing Arts at Pace University. Previously, Jennifer was the Dean of the College of Arts, Communications and Design; the Polk School of Communications; and the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports and Entertainment at Long Island University. Prior to her tenure at Long Island University, she worked at The New School where she was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The School of Drama. While there, she redesigned and updated the Drama BFA and MFA curricula, developed new initiatives at The College of Performing Arts, and directed the US premiere of Last Train to Tomorrow composed and conducted by Carl Davis at Alice Tully Hall and Shining Lights in the Lingering Night at The Great Hall, Cooper Union in partnership with 400 Years of Inequality. Dr. Holmes also initiated the Cultural Change Task Force, a cohort of faculty, students, and administrators dedicated to fostering inclusive, diverse and equitable theatre arts practice. Jennifer has facilitated classes and workshops in theatre and education at The New School, Manhattanville College, Bronx Community College, New York University, Pace University, University of Massachusetts and Bank Street College. She has been published in the International Journal on Learning, The Teaching Artist Journal and in a book on educational theatre edited by Dr. David Montgomery and Dr. Robert Landy titled, Theatre for Change: Education, Social Action and Therapy. She has presented several papers on her work, and has led panel discussions and workshops at both national and international conferences including the International Drama in Education Research Institute, National Communication Association, The International Learning Conference and the Applied Theatre Conference at Central School for Speech and Drama. Jennifer has participated in theatre projects in Puerto Rico, Ireland, Brazil, and England. She has trained and worked with other leaders in the field of theatre and education, such as Augusto Boal, Anna Deavere Smith, Philip Taylor, Pedro Noguera, Chrissy Poulter, Chris Vine and Dorothy Heathcote. Her degrees include a B.A. from Vassar College in Drama, an M.A. from New York University (NYU) in Educational Theatre, and a PhD in Educational Theatre from NYU. She is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actor’s Equity Association. Contact Jennifer@GETheatre.org

John Socas, Ph.D. co-founded Global Empowerment Theatre with his wife, Jennifer and has worked with students at Kiembe Samaki Secondary School and Jambiani Secondary schools in Zanzibar, East Africa using drama to teach English to students. John received his Masters in Fine Arts at the National Theatre Conservatory and his PhD at New York University. The focus of his dissertation and much of his teaching is on improving the self-presentation and job-interview skills of urban community college students. John is a full-time faculty member at Bronx Community College (CUNY), where he also directs the Theatre Workshop. He served as the point-person during the recent renovation of the college’s theater moving productions from a classroom to a nearly 300-seat playhouse. He has presented several papers on his work, and has lead panel discussions and workshops at national conferences including the National Communication Association (NCA), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the American Alliance for Theatre & Education. John has been honored for his work in education and theatre with the “Spirit of the Fringe Award” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2002), the “John Golden Incentive Award for Playwriting” (2006), “the “Mid-Career Achievement Award” from NCA (2010), and the “Merit Award for Directing” from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (2011). Contact John@GETheatre.org

Merritt Birnbaum is Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island, a lush 172-acre oasis of cultural and recreational life in New York Harbor. Over her 16-year career, Merritt has led marketing and development efforts for prominent nonprofits in the fields of social justice, education, science, health, the arts and the environment. During her five-year tenure as Chief Development Officer at the New York Legal Assistance Group, Merritt focused on building programs to help vulnerable populations, including undocumented immigrants, victims of domestic violence, and residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy, successfully growing the organization’s budget from $9 million to $23 million. She is a classically trained figurative painter, photographer and graphic designer with a degree in Studio Art from Vassar College.

Merritt’s passion for the arts and commitment to social justice are a perfect fit with GET’s mission of bringing theatre education to children in poverty. “GET is the embodiment of being the change we want to see in the world,” she says. “It gives children a platform of equality on which to explore real challenges and find real solutions through the strength of their own voices. I am so proud to serve on the Board of this remarkable organization.”

119-taylor_philipPhilip Taylor, Ph.D. has been Director of the Program in Educational Theatre at New York University since 2003. His research interests are in the fields of applied theatre and process drama, qualitative research, reflective praxis and educational inquiry. His book Applied Theatre: Creating Transformative Encounters in the Community describes how theatre can empower individuals and communities to effect change. Dr Taylor established the International Institute in Drama in Education Research Institute (IDIERI), which has met in Australia, Canada, England, Jamaica, and the United States. He was inaugural director of the first center in Australia dedicated to applied theatre research, Centre for Applied Theatre Research, Griffith University, 1997-2001, and was foundation editor of Applied Theatre Researcher.

His book Researching Drama and Arts Education: Paradigms and Possibilities(Falmer) has been a standard text on research design used by many graduate students worldwide. Other publications include Assessment in Arts Education(Heinemann), Structure and Spontaneity (Trentham Books), Redcoats and Patriots: Reflective Practice in Drama and Social Studies (Heinemann) and The Drama Classroom: Action, Reflection, Transformation (RoutledgeFalmer).

emily_morrisEmily Morris has over thirteen years of international development experience. Currently employed with Education Development Center (EDC), Inc., she serves as a Project Director and monitoring and evaluation advisor, and recently as the Country Director in Tanzania for two large education projects. In addition to her solid background in project management, she has been an arts educator in primary and secondary schools in the US and abroad and has accomplished skills in curriculum development, assessment and research. She was awarded four major research fellowships to conduct research and advocacy work with at-risk youth in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ecuador. She holds an M.S. in International Development Management, with a concentration in Education and Youth Development from American University, Washington DC, and a B.A. in Development Studies and Dance from Sarah Lawrence College, NY. Ms. Morris is fluent in Kiswahili, and proficient in Spanish and Arabic.


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