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  • And Our New Director of Programs is . . . (drum roll please)

    Posted Tuesday January 16 2018 at 11:52 pm.
    Used tags: ,

    Portia Abernathy Brown

    The VSA MA family is thrilled to welcome Portia Abernathy Brown to the team, as our new Director of Programs!  In this new position, Portia will be overseeing programming both in our Education and Cultural Inclusion programs, as well as supporting development efforts.

    Personally and professionally, Portia is committed to VSA's mission to promote the meaningful inclusion of all people in our cultural community and could not be more excited to have the opportunity to do the work she loves with a team that shares her enthusiasm and passion.

    Portia was inspired early on by a family member with a disability to pursue a career in special education.  She began working for Denver Public Schools as an Affective Needs teacher for students with Social and Emotional disabilities.  In the classroom, she drew on her own background and students' interests to infuse the arts into the curriculum to deepen learning, increase engagement, support self-expression, and connect with general education peers.  It was clear from those experiences how powerful the arts are as levers for equity, access, community, creativity, learning, and inclusion.

    Most recently, Portia worked outside of the classroom as the Assistant Director of Education and Community Initiatives at Boston Ballet.  In this role, she directed programming that provided accessible and inclusive dance education to 3,000 students in the Boston area each year and offered training and professional development opportunities to educators and service providers.  Portia also served as an advisor on institutional issues of accessibility and inclusion which included the launch of an accessible website, the design and opening of a new studio location built on principles of Universal Design, and Boston Balletโ€™s first ever All Access performance of The Nutcracker.

    Portia earned her Master of Education in Prevention Science and Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Colorado and graduated Cum Laude from Colorado College.  She is a member of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs advisory board, is the Primary Consultant for United Dance, and was a finalist for the 2017 Massachusetts Non-Profit Network Young Professional Excellence Award.

    Portia's first day at VSA MA will be February 1st, after which she can be reached at portia@vsamass.org or by phone at 617-350-7713 x101.

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