Meet Our Staff

Dr. Kristen Paglia, Chief Executive Officer

Elda Pineda, Deputy Director

Advancement & Events

Jennifer Garratt, Advancement Director

Stephanie McGrath, Associate Director, Communications

Madeline Miller, Associate Director, Institutional Giving

Liliana Wolking, Senior Development Manager, Events and Individual Giving

Gaby Palmadessa, Advancement Assistant

Education & Programs

Lui Sanchez, Program Director, Extended Learning

Lora Cawelti, Associate Director, Classroom Studio

Jaime Reichner, Senior Program Manager, Educator Training

Darryl King, Senior Program Manager, Classroom Studio

Gaby Hernandez, Program Manager, Classroom Studio

Rebecca Cardenas, Program Manager, Classroom Studio

KT Leuterio, Program Coordinator, Extended Learning

Oscar Navarrete, Program Coordinator, Community

Joella Still, Interim Volunteer Coordinator

Karen Ramirez, Program Assistant

Finance & Operations

Guillaume Wateau, Finance Director

Nikki Manibhai, Operations & HR Manager

Dr. Kristen Paglia

Dr. Kristen Paglia

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Kristen Paglia has been in a leadership role at P.S. ARTS for nearly a decade. In addition to overseeing the quality, content, and evaluation of P.S. ARTS’ education programs, Dr. Paglia works to keep educational equity and excellence for all children at the center of everything at P.S. ARTS. Dr. Paglia is an active member of the state and national discourse around public education reform and has a seat at the table in numerous policy, advocacy, and planning groups. In 2013, Dr. Paglia was appointed to a special joint task force by California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson to help create “A Blueprint for Creative Schools,” which was published in 2015. Dr. Paglia has taught courses on arts education, and arts-based strategies for teaching special education students at UCLA and Claremont Graduate University. Recently, Dr. Paglia was honored to present her talk, It takes two to tango, and other lessons we learn from the arts about partnership, at TEDxUCLA. Dr. Paglia holds Masters’ Degrees in World Arts and Cultures from UCLA and Arts Education from Harvard University. She also earned a Doctorate from Harvard in cognitive developmental psychology and has extensive experience developing arts programs and designing curriculum in urban public and independent schools.

Rebecca Cardenas

Rebecca Cardenas

Program Manager, Classroom Studio

Rebecca Cardenas received her Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts and Social Justice from the University of San Francisco in 2010 where she worked on developing an integrated arts curriculum in elementary schools as well as in theatre rehabilitation at San Bruno Jail located in South San Francisco. She moved to Los Angeles in 2011 where she worked as a coordinator in nonprofit youth programming in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, including managing and teaching performing arts programs.

Rebecca graduated from UCLA’s Teacher Education Program in 2017 with a Graduate degree in Education as well as her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. She taught fifth-grade math and science in East Los Angeles where she completed her Master’s Inquiry Project focused on the impacts of integrating kinesthetic learning into math curriculum as it relates to student engagement and the development of number sense. Rebecca joined P.S. ARTS in 2018 as the Program Coordinator for the Santa Monica and Malibu School Unified District and El Segundo Unified School District.

Meet Rebecca
Lora Cawelti

Lora Cawelti

Associate Director, Classroom Studio

Lora Cawelti is responsible for overseeing P.S. ARTS’ in-school, classroom studio programs, teacher training, and arts integration coaching. She also oversees P.S. ARTS’ mentor teaching artist training and launches new district and school partnerships. She began working in arts education in 2005 as an artist leader for Inside Out Community Arts and extended her role as master trainer and mentor coordinator. Additionally, Lora worked in arts administration for the LA Opera and as a teaching artist for LA Opera’s Voices for Tolerance program and at the Norris Center for Performing Arts. She is a Council 1 Facilitator through the Ojai Foundation, has completed Tools for Tolerance for Educators with Teaching Tolerance, and has presented arts integration workshops for Turnaround Arts and the Kennedy Center. As a performer, Lora has participated in opera and musical theater in Honolulu and Los Angeles. She was a studio singer with the Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio for Hawaii Opera Theatre and currently performs with the Torrance Civic Chorale. Lora earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and English at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Master of Arts degree in educational psychology from Pepperdine University. In September 2019, Lora will begin pursuing her Ph.D. in education at UC Irvine.

Meet Lora
Jennifer Garratt

Jennifer Garratt

Advancement Director

Jennifer Garratt graduated from UCLA in 2006 with a B.A. in Art History and History; she completed her Master’s degree in Art and Curatorial Practice at USC in 2010.  Her thesis work examined the role of participatory artistic practices as temporary interventions that question the inherent social conditions experienced within social, public spaces such as museums or institutions. Prior to joining P.S. ARTS, Jennifer worked in Development at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and most recently at the Fowler Museum. Jennifer is currently working with the UCLA Visual and Performing Arts Education program to develop workshops that will foster collaboration and dialogue between organizations dedicated to providing arts education to K-12 students. She is also a contributor to the online art magazine Burnaway.

Meet Jennifer
Gaby Hernandez

Gaby Hernandez

Program Manager, Classroom Studio

Gaby Hernandez joined P.S. ARTS in 2015 as the Education and Programs Assistant. As Program Coordinator, Gaby is responsible for managing P.S. ARTS’ programs in the Reef Sunset, Lost Hills, and Wasco school districts in Central California. After graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in Art History, Gaby interned at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and participated in the Getty’s Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program. In her spare time, she enjoys eating sushi and hanging out with her dog, Charlotte.

Meet Gaby
Darryl King

Darryl King

Senior Program Manager, Classroom Studio

Darryl King is a Senior Program Manager, Classroom Studio and oversees the Turnaround Arts: California schools. As Sr. Program Manager, Darryl is responsible for the coordination, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of the P.S. ARTS contract with Turnaround Arts: California. Darryl comes to us with a background in developing and implementing training and professional development for educators and after-school leaders with multiple organizations that include LA’s BEST, Common Sense Media, and The Center for the Collaborative Classroom. He holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s degree in education, along with a multi-subject teaching credential. He is also a visual artist.

Meet Darryl
KT Leuterio

KT Leuterio

Program Coordinator, Extended Learning

KT Leuterio joined P.S. ARTS in August 2016. As the Program Coordinator for Extended Learning, she provides logistical and administrative support for the award-winning after-school program, Inside Out Community Arts, as well as the Extended Learning Programs. Prior to P.S. ARTS, she managed the Student Matinee Program at The Broad Stage and also worked with the Children’s Summer Theatre Program at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary. KT aims to provide avenues for creativity and expression and loves to work and collaborate with artists of all disciplines and ages. Outside of P.S ARTS, she enjoys crocheting, calligraphy, and listening to a good audiobook while driving around Los Angeles.

KT holds a B.A. in Film Studies and Media Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Meet KT
Nikki Manibhai

Nikki Manibhai

Operations & HR Manager

Nikki Manibhai joined P.S. ARTS in August 2016 as the Administrative Assistant. In her current role as the Operations and HR Manager, she manages and maintains all aspects of our human resources department while providing administrative support to various departments and overseeing office management. Nikki is a Los Angeles native, first-generation American, and a loyal Trojan. During her time at USC pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Art History, Nikki began working at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County which sparked her interest in education and nonprofit organizations. She went on to complete her Master’s degree in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University and also holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. Prior to joining P.S. ARTS, Nikki worked and interned for several museums in education and visitor services which inspired her to shift focus towards arts education accessibility at the school level.

Meet Nikki
Stephanie McGrath

Stephanie McGrath

Associate Director, Communications

Stephanie McGrath joined P.S. ARTS in 2017 as the Associate Director, Communications. Stephanie previously worked at UCLA in marketing and communications and brings past experience as a project facilitator, writer, and photographer. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Stephanie also previously managed a fine-art, digital printing facility for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago that worked closely with students, faculty, and staff and has worked as a photojournalist for various Chicago-area newspapers.

Meet Stephanie
Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller

Associate Director, Institutional Giving

Madeline Miller is the Associate Director, Institutional Giving at P.S. ARTS. In this role, she uses storytelling and data to illustrate our impact and strengthen our partnerships with corporate, foundation, and government funders. Prior to joining P.S. ARTS, she was the Associate Director of Development and Communications at the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. She holds extensive experience in grant writing, donor stewardship, events management, and strategic communications. In her free time, she volunteers with Bend the Arc and the Los Angeles Conservancy. Madeline is an AmeriCorps alumna and holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Studies and Spanish.

Meet Madeline
Oscar Navarrete

Oscar Navarrete

Program Coordinator, Community

Oscar Navarrete is responsible for growing, coordinating, and developing curriculum for P.S. ARTS’ community programs. Prior to P.S. ARTS, he was a Getty Multicultural Intern at the Corita Art Center. Additionally, Oscar served as a mentor and program assistant at a UC Links after-school program Corre La Voz that focused on using digital storytelling, mentoring, and kinesthetic learning to aid bilingual elementary school students in the development of their language arts, socio-emotional, artistic, and analytical skills. Oscar is a practicing visual artist and graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Sociology & Latin American and Latino Studies, and a minor in Education.

Meet Oscar
Gaby Palmadessa

Gaby Palmadessa

Advancement Assistant

Gaby Palmadessa joined P.S. ARTS in 2017 as the Advancement Assistant where she works with Development, Events, and Communications to assist with various projects. A proud Bruin, Gaby graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Art History and a minor in Study of Religion after receiving an A.A. in Art. After training as a K-12 School Group Docent at the Getty Center, she was inspired to shift her focus towards supporting arts education. She is excited to build a career that coincides with her passion for making art accessible to all.

Meet Gaby
Elda Pineda

Elda Pineda

Deputy Director

Elda Pineda serves as chief advisor to the CEO, and guides organization-wide administrative policies, practices, and communications. She oversees all internal aspects of the organization, including operations, finance, service program development, and delivery and employee professional development.

Elda began working in arts education as a theater teaching artist for Los Angeles County public schools.  As an actor and teacher, she worked with educational outreach programs targeting at-risk youth, leading workshops for teens and young adults through theater company community programs, including Sinegang in Los Angeles and Sining KilUSAn in Seattle. She is also an active participant in the Los Angeles arts education community having served on the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District arts advocacy team, the Los Angeles Unified School District Arts For All advocacy team and the steering committee and recruitment team of the Emerging Arts Leaders-Los Angeles sponsored Arts Professionals Advisors Link.

Elda pursued her interest in nonprofit management and the intersection of research, public policy, and practice and received a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California- Sol Price School of Public Policy. She holds a B.A. from UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television.

Karen Ramirez

Karen Ramirez

Program Assistant

Karen Ramirez is responsible for providing administrative and logistical support to the P.S. ARTS programs team and in-school faculty. Karen graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration/animation. Soon after graduating, she became the first alumni fellow at Ryman Arts and began her journey into non-profit community arts. After her fellowship came to an end, she was thrilled with the opportunity to continue strengthening communities through art with P.S. ARTS.

Karen is also a practicing visual artist with a preference for digital illustration. Her subject matter includes, but is not limited to, witches, dragons, dogs, and shiny things.

Meet Karen
Jaime Reichner

Jaime Reichner

Senior Program Manager, Educator Training

As Senior Program Manager, Jaime is responsible for the management and oversight of our Lawndale Elementary School District programs. She provides direct support to our teaching artist faculty through coaching in curriculum and instruction. She serves as an arts coordinator for the Wiseburn School District providing support with district planning and professional development for arts specialists.  Additionally, Jaime works one-on-one with classroom teachers in our Turnaround Arts partner schools to implement arts integration strategies.

Prior to her work with P.S. ARTS, Jaime was the Education Coordinator for United Cerebral Palsy’s UCPlay Project where she developed inclusive programming for social-emotional skills and the arts.

A teaching artist since 2001, Jaime has taught and facilitated workshops for CalArts, Occidental College, The Center for Council, The Virginia Ave. Project, East LA Classic Theatre, The Seattle Children’s Theatre, Youth M.O.V.E. Miami, The California African American Museum, Teach For America, Los Angeles High School of the Arts (LAHSA), the National University of Rwanda, and at the Kennedy Center’s  VSA Intersections Conferences.  Before joining P.S. ARTS’ program team, she was an Artist Leader with Inside Out Community Arts.  

Jaime holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Florida State University and a Master’s in Applied Theatre Arts from USC.  

Lui Sanchez

Lui Sanchez

Program Director, Extended Learning

Lui Sanchez oversees the administration of the nationally recognized and award-winning Inside Out Community Arts after-school program and its Artist Leader Training Academy for P.S. ARTS.  He also supervises the Extended Learning programs, Alumni Mentors and Teen Media Initiative. Lui has established himself as an artist working in various mediums and fields throughout Los Angeles with professional and volunteer experience in developing, implementing, and administering visual and performing arts projects and events.  He began his undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona School of Music and then continued on and received his B.A. in Theatre at University of California, Santa Cruz and attended the Masters Program at the University of California, Los Angeles film school.  He began his work teaching performing and visual arts to youth at the Optimist Youth Homes where he presented their work throughout Los Angeles County.  He has also taught for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and for the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock where he became their first Program Director developing after-school and summer arts programs.  He is the Associate Artistic Director for Company of Angels (CoA) and spearheads their community program that provides theater for adult disenfranchised members of the downtown Los Angeles area.  He has written and directed premier plays and performances for CoA, the USC School of Theatre, Urban Possibilities, The Deltoid Performance Group, and Take Fountain Theatre.  He is a Council I Facilitator through the Center for Council Practice.

Meet Lui
Joella Still

Joella Still

Interim Volunteer Coordinator

Joella Still joined P.S. ARTS in February 2019 as the Interim Volunteer Coordinator. As the volunteer coordinator, Joella is responsible for the recruitment, communication, and overall management of perspective and active volunteers for P.S.ARTS in-school and community programs and events.  Joella comes to us with a background in case management, program management and program development of after-school programs for communities in New Jersey.  As an artist, Joella has performed on various stages across Los Angeles and New York City and enjoys songwriting for television.

She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA with a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing.

Meet Joella
Guillaume Wateau

Guillaume Wateau

Finance Director

Guillaume Wateau joined P.S. ARTS in January 2017, as the Finance Director. In this role, he oversees the financial health of the organization and continues the work toward long term financial sustainability and transparency. Guillaume has been working in Finance for the past 10 years, and spent the last six working for an international NGO. He holds a master’s degree in finance and has been involved with the non-profit and humanitarian work since a young age. He grew up in France with parents working with Bosnian war refugees and later with low income seniors.

Meet Guillaume
Liliana Wolking

Liliana Wolking

Senior Development Manager, Events and Individual Giving

Liliana Wolking joined P.S. ARTS in February 2019 as the Senior Development Manager, Events and Individual Giving. She came to P.S. ARTS because she believes that an arts education has the ability to change the trajectory of a student’s life. Previously, Liliana worked as a fundraising consultant for art institutions and organizations. She has extensive experience executing successful events, working alongside donors, and securing major gifts. In her personal time, Liliana continues advocating for students as a board member of the Kunhardt Film Foundation and volunteer at the 14+ Foundation.

Meet Liliana
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