Board & Team

 

Sara Mraish Demeter, ARCK Founder and Executive Director Demeter, Sara

 Sara is an entrepreneur, natural leader, artist, educator, passionate activist, parent, and committed community member. She holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in French, and recently completed the Nonprofit Management and Leadership program at Boston University. She is fluent in Arabic, French, and Spanish. Her entrepreneurial experience began with a consulting business, localizing software into multiple languages. She moved on to specialize in Arabic software localization, working with Fortune 500 corporations. She is a member of the Beacon Hill Circle for Charity that supports children and women in Boston and been a board member of the Center for Arabic Culture and a volunteer on the Social Responsibility Committee for Commerce Bank (formerly Mercantile Bank).

In 2004 she began her education activist work, volunteering with local community members in a drive to open a Boston Public School to bring diversity and inclusion to Beacon Hill and other downtown neighborhoods. As a BPS parent, she has served on the School Site Council at Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown, and as Art Committee co-chair, spearheaded in 2011-12 an ambitious school-wide “Diversity Thru Art” initiative, recruiting dozens of local artists to deliver art workshops to all 840 students during a year in which the school lacked an art teacher. This successful initiative laid the groundwork for the formation of ARCK to bring arts education to other underserved schools. Sara has extended her education work internationally as well, leading art workshops for Syrian refugee children in her native Jordan.
 
Recent honors include selection as a 2016 EXTRAOrdinary Woman of Boston by the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement and selection to the Power Launch social impact nonprofit accelerator program’s inaugural Social Change Fellows cohort in spring 2016.
 
 
Bethany Strohm, Program Coordinator
 
BethanyStrohmBethany has been dedicated to expanding access to art education for Boston students since 2012. She graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a BFA in Painting, and then completed a year of service as an Americorps*VISTA, building capacity and partnerships between MassArt and Boston Public Schools. Now serving as ARCK’s Program Coordinator, Bethany looks forward to continuing to build partnerships and serve BPS students. Bethany is also a practicing artist, and creates imaginative figures and puppets.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Marlena Idrobo, Development & Marketing Assistant

A former development intern, Marlena Idrobo is honored to rejoin ARCK as its Development & Marketing Assistant. Her role involves communicating ARCK’s meaningful work to various audiences. Marlena graduated in May 2016 with a B.A. from Wellesley College, where she concentrated in Latin American Studies and Art History. She also performed traditional Latin American folklórico dances, wrote for and copy edited the campus newspaper, tutored, and was involved in an organization for Latinx students at Wellesley. Marlena is excited by the opportunity to build upon these skills and interests in her work with ARCK, a creative environment that celebrates the diverse cultural backgrounds of Boston students. 

 
 
 
TEACHING ARTISTS:
Will Whelan & Jill Rosati – Gardner Pilot Academy and Blackstone Innovation School
 
 
 
BOARD of DIRECTORS

Mojgan M. Lefebvre

Mojgan_Lefebvre_150_192 Mojgan Lefebvre is SVP & CIO for Liberty Mutual Global Specialty. In this role, she leads all aspects of technology planning and execution, and is accountable for technology strategy, business capability delivery, application development, and support. Before joining Liberty Mutual in 2010, Mojgan was EVP and Global CIO for bioMerieux, a medical device company with business in over 100 companies. In addition, she has also held various leadership positions in both business and technology at Teletech, eRoom, and Bain & Company. Mojgan received her MBA at Harvard Business School. Mojgan Lefebvre is one of Boston Business Journal 2015 women to Watch in Science and Technology honorees and a 2017 winner of Digital Insurance’s Women in Insurance Leadership.

 
Panos Demeter

Panos Demeter is the founder of Demeter Development Group, LLC and Concentric Management, LLC in Boston. He is actively involved in real estate investment, management and adaptive reuse of properties in the Metro Boston and Cambridge areas. He recently ended his fifteen year position as Chairman of the Board of Mercantile Bank and Trust Company after successfully spearheading the sale of the institution to Commerce Bank. He has an undergraduate degree from Babson College and an MBA from Columbia Business School with a concentration in real estate finance. His social responsibility contributions to the city of Boston have been exemplary and include the Project Place Financial Literacy Program and Mercantile Social Responsibility Committee.

 

Joelle Tomb, Clerk

unnamed-2Joelle Tomb is a Ph.D student in Education at the University of Montreal. Her research interests include teacher training, curriculum development, art integration and creative methodologies to explore plural identities of individuals. Joelle was born in Lebanon and raised in a family that has an artistic heritage, hence her interests in the arts and arts education. She has lived in various parts of the world, including throughout the Middle East, Europe, Central America and North America. Her life trajectories have granted her a keen understanding for cultural diversity and intercultural exchanges. Joelle has served as a lecturer in French and French culture at MIT and Brandeis University, and currently teaches at Northeastern University. She has also coordinated a number of art exhibitions and projects in North America and the Middle East. She is currently a staff member at the ICA, where she leads educational tours of the museum. Joelle is fluent in French, Arabic, English and Spanish. She currently lives in Newton with her husband and three sons.

 
 
Diane Boissonneault
 
Diane Boissonneault is an attorney with over 20 years of corporate experience working both in-house and in a large law firm.  Most recently she was Associate General Counsel at the Cumberland Gulf Group of Companies responsible for the Law, Risk Management and Records Retention departments.  Prior to that she was a corporate associate at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston.  Diane received her B.A. in Economics and International Affairs/Political Science at the University of Maine at Orono and her J.D. at Suffolk University.

Diane’s interest in ARCK’s mission is driven by her deep appreciation of the importance of art education as a vehicle for developing practical creativity, building self-confidence and creating a sense of community.

 

Leah Nees, Treasurer

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Leah Nees in an Associate Investment Director at Cambridge Associates in Boston. In her role, she directly consults clients ranging in size from $300 million to $4.5 billion on asset allocation, manager selection, risk management, and benchmarking recommendations. Before joining Cambridge Associates in 2014, Leah held positions at UBS Wealth Management in New York City and Atlantic Trust Wealth Management in Boston. Leah received a BA in International Studies/Economics from Boston College, where she was a Fine Arts Department Research Fellow and CDO of Smart Woman Securities. Leah volunteers at Massachusetts General Hospital and is pursuing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. 

 

 

Richard Thall
 
Head Shot 2 Bio
Richard Thall is the AVP Branch Manager for Commerce Bank in Boston’s Fenway area. Richard has been with Commerce Bank since 2015, working with the Boston community around business development opportunities and improving our community involvement with local businesses and organizations. With over 15 years of retail banking experience, Richard delivers a culture that fosters customer experience that exceeds his customers’ expectations. Richard is a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and an advocate for the Boston Neighborhoods, working with the Greater Boston Food Bank, Fenway CDC and Fenway Community Center to volunteer and give back to the local community he serves. Richard has a BS in Business Management from SUNY at New Paltz.
 
 
 
 
HONORARY BOARD
 
Scott Ruescher  – Scott has been working in the area of arts education for many years. Since 2002, he has served as administrator for the Arts in Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, coming into contact with educators from various artistic backgrounds, and for the same length of time has taught English composition and creative writing in the Boston University Prison Education Program. Winner of a public service award form Cambridge School Volunteers, Inc., for his participation in the Reading Buddies/Lectores program at the bilingual public Amigos School, he is the author of Waiting for the Light to Change, a collection of poems published by Prolific Press in 2017. He has contributed poems to Agni, Ploughshares, Solstice, Origins Journal, the Harvard Educational Review, and other publications, and has won annual poetry awards from Able Muse, Poetry Quarterly, and the New England Poetry Club. In recent years, he has also offered still-life drawing workshops at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School and Gardner Pilot Academy, an activity that led to his happy new affiliation with ARCK.
 
Liz Byron – Liz Byron is a special education teacher, art teacher and practicing visual artist. In addition, she has taught general education and ESL. She graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in elementary education and a B.A. in visual art. She received a Masters in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education as well as a second master’s degree in special education from Lesley University. She has taught in five different countries as well as in New York City. She is currently the Preschool through 8th grade Visual Art Full Inclusion Teacher at Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston. She is committed to providing high need, low-income students with an exemplary education complete with access to the arts. Liz has taught numerous courses on Universal Design for Learning and is currently writing a book on UDL and the arts.
 
Susan Symonds – Susan Symonds is the owner and principal creative artist at Infinity Portrait Design & Mainframe Photographics in downtown Boston. With a degree in Photography from Endicott College, she started her career as a classically trained photographer, over 25 years ago, when Mainframe Photographics was founded. Susan has two locations that bare her creative thumbprint: a portrait studio in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, and for almost two decades now an onsite office at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as the BWH Photo Department. As a local business owner for 28 years, a past president & current Chairman of the Board for the Beacon Hill Business Association and a 12 year veteran of Business Networking International, Susan has a very rooted view of how to make a small business successful. ARCK is a concept that is very near and dear to her heart. Early arts education is an incredibly vital opportunity that all kids should have access to. Susan’s own early art opportunities have literally impacted her entire professional career. Without them and the guidance of countless mentors, she would probably be living a very different life than the one she enjoys now.
 
Ron Lawner – Ron Lawner is the former Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of Arnold Worldwide. A member of the Wall Street Journal’s Creative Leaders Series, Lawner lead the agency to international acclaim and creative honors that include the ’98 Cannes Grand Prix for Volkswagen, Emmy Awards, The Grand Effie, D&AD, Kelly Awards, One Show Pencils, Clios, London International Awards, and the International Andy Awards. Arnold Worldwide has been on the Gunn Report’s top creative agencies list since its inception in ’92. Lawner, a longtime resident of Beacon Hill and Cape Cod, works as a consultant on a number of corporate philanthropic brands and serves on a variety of boards.

 

BOARD ADVISORS

 

Jamaal Eversley, Art Education Advisor

Jamaal_Eversley200by300 Jamaal Eversley, born in 1988, hails from Randolph, MA. With a business degree in hand from Babson College, he has decided to chase after his dreams and passionately pursue his talents as an eccentric abstract artist intertwining business with the arts in order to serve the community. His art has been exhibited twice in Massachusetts General Hospital’s Illuminations program and shows throughout the South Shore and Boston area. Within the past two years, he has received several public grants to bring his colorful patterns to the community and was most recently featured in the Boston Globe for one of them. Jamaal constantly creates to spur the juices of creative genius and put the “F” meant for “Fun” back into Fine Arts. You can see more about him and his work at jamonit.carbonmade.com.

 

 

Anthony Corey, Community Advisor

AnthonyCorey

Anthony Corey is a Boston based designer of men’s accessories and a style commentator for television and print media. He is also an accomplished artist and instructor of classical drawing, oil painting, and sculpture. He believes strongly in the benefits he received from exposure to the arts at a very early age in his core curriculum from elementary school on. The work that ARCK is doing is near and dear to his heart because of the artistic, creative, and social outlets it is providing students who otherwise, because of budget restrictions, would be at a deficit in these areas.

 

 

Sandra (Sandy) Larson, Communications Advisor

SandyLarson Sandra (Sandy) Larson is a Boston Public Schools parent and a freelance journalist who has covered the city’s issues and people for the past 20 years. She is a regular contributor to the Bay State Banner and her work also has appeared in Next City, The Guardian, Exhale magazine, Banner Bizmagazine, Glue magazine and ArtsEditor. She has volunteered as an arts editor and writer for Spare Change News and currently volunteers at the youth-serving nonprofit More Than Words. She first saw the power of Sara Mraish Demeter’s work when Sara co-led the year-long “Diversity Through Art” effort at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School that reached more than 800 students and culminated in a highly successful exhibit and art sale. Sandy has worn many hats in her career, including director of a nonprofit aptitude testing center; technical writer; and co-director of a South End contemporary art gallery. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts in Journalism from Harvard University and a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

 

Laura Godfrey

laura godfreyLaura Godfrey is a Real Estate Advisor for Coldwell Banker. She brings to the table a wealth of experience in fine arts, arts education, and fundraising. She has worked in many aspects of the arts and is the founder of LMG Arts, providing collection management services to both corporate and private clients. Prior to moving to Boston, she served as Director of the prestigious Elkon Gallery for Modern and Contemporary Art in New York City. Her educational background includes Master’s coursework at Seton Hall University in Museum Studies where she specialized in Museum Education. Laura co-chaired the 2016 ARCK Gala, which raised over $100,000 for ARCK’s mission.

 

 

 

PAST COLLABORATORS

 

Tiandra Ray, Visiting Architect

tiandra_headshot200Tiandra is a recent MIT graduate working at Reverse Architecture as a designer and fabrication specialist. She has worked with various education outreach initiatives at MIT and seeks to continue exploring design education through collaborations with community organizations such as ARCK.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Cooper, Visiting Artist

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper collaborated with our students and teaching artists and interns to create the “I Am, We Are” mural across from Fenway Park. Mark Cooper has been based in Boston for 20 years, working in ceramics, photography, painting, and sculptural installation. Cooper received his Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA) in 1980, and his Bachelor of Science from Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) in 1972. He has been awarded various public art commissions and grants from the Boston Medical Center, an Artist Fellowship Grant through the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a Gund Travel Grant (Bali), and a recent special commission for the flagship store of Commedes Garçon in New York City, among others. In 2006 he authored Making Art Together through Beacon Press, which focuses on establishing participatory art practices. He currently teaches at Boston College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

Volunteers and Interns: We are profoundly grateful to our dedicated, talented volunteers. Thanks in part to them, we are able to thrive and provide high quality art programs to our students. ARCK is fortunate to have amazing parents from the Boston Public Schools and interns from local colleges and universities who help to truly deliver our mission, and ensure the success of ARCK. Together at ARCK we collaborate to drive home the message that art education in a creative, positive environment is a necessary part of our schools’ curriculum. Please see our HireCulture listings for open positions, or email info@arckboston.org if you wish to be placed on our volunteer list.