Photo credit: Susan Epstein

Board of Directors for New York State Dance Education Association

For information on Board Member positions and duties, download:

Board of Directors Duties Board of Directors and General Duties

2017 Board of Directors:
Andrew Jannetti: President
Deborah Damast: Past President
Shirlene Blake: Treasurer
Deborah Lipa-Ciotta: Secretary
Abigail Agresta-Stratton: NYSED Liaison
Kristina Walton: Director of Communications
Karen Camp: Director of Scholarships and Awards
Kerrianne Cody: NYSED Support and Membership Director
Susan Epstein: Director of Conferences
KristiAnne Francis: Fundraising
Mara Sherwood-Katz: Fundraising
Elisabeth Gosselin: Assistant Conference Director and National Honor Society Advisor
Cynthia Hanna: National Honor Society Director
Kristin Dowdy: Student Representative
Daniel Reichert: Advocacy Director

Andrew Jannetti, MA, Dance Certification K-12 NY & NJ (President)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment: K-5 dance instructor at PS 79 in Whitestone, Queens, Director of School Break Programs at Brooklyn Arts Exchange in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Group Fitness and Dance Instructor at various private studios and clubs in Manhattan, Personal Trainer, Choreographer, Andrew Jannetti & Dancers

Area of Expertise/Interest: Choreography, Pedagogic Practice and Mentorship K through Higher Ed, Director for School Breaks and Summer Arts Programs, Arts Liaison for NYC DOE, Private Studio and Dance and Fitness Instructor for all levels of Modern and Jazz Dance, Ballet Basics, and developmentally appropriate Stretching and Strengthening Techniques.

Deborah Damast, MA (Past-President)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment:Master Teacher and Artistic Advisor of the Dance Education Program at NYU Steinhardt, Lower and Middle School Dance Teacher at Little Red Schoolhouse (NYS Independent School), DEL Faculty, and PD facilitator NYCDOE.

Area of Expertise/Interest:Choreographic development and inquiry, Pedagogic practice in K-12, Higher Education, and Private Sector, Community service based programming, Ugandan dance

Shirlene Blake, MEd, NYS K-12 Dance Certification, Advanced Certificates in Administration and Supervision (Treasurer)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment: Dance Educator at Harvest Collegiate High School; NYCDOE: Citywide Dance PD Facilitator; NYSED: Arts Standards Revision Committee; Scorer for the New York State Dance Teacher Certification Exams (NYSTCE)

Area of Expertise/Interest: BFA Dance Performance; MEd Dance Education; also a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified MELT Hand and Foot Practitioner, Training in Childbirth Education and Accounting; Interested in inspiring the next generation of Dance Educators; Educational Leadership and Educational Collaborations

Abigail Agresta-Stratton, MA, Registered Dance Educator, NYS Dance Certified (NYSED Liaison)
Location: Long Island, NY

Work Environment:K-12 Public Schools and Private Studios

Area of Expertise/Interest:Dance Curriculum Development, Composition and Choreography, Dance Advocacy, Developing and Cultivating Dancers, Choreographers, Dance Advocates, and Dance Audience Members

Kerrianne Cody, MA, Dance Certification K-12 NYS (NYSED Support and Membership Director)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment: NYCDOE - PS 165q Edith K. Bergtraum School

Area of Expertise/Interest: BFA in Dance Performance and MA in Dance Education. Public Sector Elementary Dance Education working with PreK-5th grade with a focus on integrating creative movement and technique for performance. Private studio instruction in Modern, Jazz, Ballet Basics, and Tap.

Susan Epstein, BFA (Director of Conferences)
Location: West Park, NY

Work Environment: Consultant to dance vendors, advisor Gibney Dance, guest speaker at dance events

Area of Expertise/Interest: Dance products, merchandising and marketing, event management, dance college and career consulting

KristiAnne Francis (Fundraising)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment: Dance Educator at Hyde Leadership Charter School-Brooklyn (K-5)

Area of Expertise/Interest: BA in Dance, MA in Dance Education both from Hunter College CUNY. Dance educator in public and private school settings with experience with Pre-K through HS. Focus on West African Dance, folk dances found throughout the African Diaspora, and contemporary dance.

Mara Sherwood-Katz, M.A. (Fundraising)
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Work Environment: Founding member of the Heights Community Dancers an award winning inter-generational dance company. Currently teaches dance in various schools throughout Brooklyn. Has chaired two annual fundraisers for NYSDEA.

Area of Expertise/Interest: Public and private sector teaching in dance education, fundraising, presented workshops as NDEO and NYSDEA conferences, performing, choreography, completion of DEL I and II certification program at 92nd Street Y, trained at Joffrey Ballet School, PeriDance, and Gibney.

Elisabeth Gosselin, MA, Professional K-12 NYS Certification (National Honor Society Co-Leader)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment: Success Academy Dance Educator for 2nd through 7th grade. Content Lead for Success Academy Dance Department. Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program Adjunct and Mentor.

Area of Expertise/Interest: Dance educator in the public school sector with experience in both elementary and middle school. Curriculum focused on peer assessments, evaluation and collaborative student created work. Private studio instruction in jazz, ballet and hip hop.

Cindy Hanna, BA, MS in Exceptional Education, NYS Certification Dance Physical Education and Health, LPN Licensed Practical Nurse (National Honor Society Co-Leader)
Location: Buffalo, NY

Work Environment: Nardin Academy K-8 Dance Program. Teaching Artist for Young Audiences of Western New York, and Buffalo schools

Area of Expertise/Interest: Interactive Dance Programs that work with young, old, and academics.

Kristina Walton, MA, PK-12 NYS Certification in Dance (Director of Communications)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment: The Gateway School (NYS Independent School) and All Souls School (NYS Early Childhood Independent School)

Area of Expertise/Interest: Early Childhood, K-12, working with children with learning differences, integrated curriculum design, private studio teaching in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, creative movement, pre-professional choreography for students, dance performance, multicultural dance, web design, and communications

Deborah Lipa-Ciotta, BS Dance, MA Dance Education, PK-12 NYS Certification in Dance (Secretary)
Location: Buffalo, NY

Work Environment: K-4 Dance Educator Tapestry Charter School, Director/Teacher Creative Dance for Children Classes Ages 3-18 and Pleien Dance Company Ages 7-18

Area of Expertise/Interest: Dance Educator in public school (experience in elementary, middle and high school programs teaching creative dance, modern, dance history, folk and traditional dance, arts integration) and private school setting (creative dance, modern, folk and directing a children's modern dance company).

Karen Camp (Director of Scholarships and Awards)

Work Environment:

Area of Expertise/Interest:

Daniel Reichert (Advocacy Director)
Location: New York, NY

Work Environment: MFA candidate and Graduate Assistant at SUNY: The College at Brockport

Area of Expertise/Interest: Brazilian dance and culture including capoeira, forró, samba and candomblé, Modern and Post-modern dance, Handbalancing, interdisciplinary movement training and research, Somatics, Laban/Bartinieff Movement Analysis (currently completing the final stages to become a Certified Laban Movement Analyst)

Kristin Dowdy (Student Representative)
Location: Brockport, NY & New York, NY

Work Environment: MFA candidate at The College at Brockport SUNY, Dance and Fitness Activity Head at Camp Wicosuta, and Freelance Dance Educator and Personal Trainer

Area of Expertise/Interest: BFA dance performance, Minor in business, Studio and private classes in choreography, jazz, musical theatre, tap, ballet, modern, conditioning and physical fitness