Staff, Boards + Teaching Artists


A note from our Executive Director...

This year we are celebrating the extraordinary accomplishments that Changing Worlds has made for children, youth and families over the past 20 years. I am proud to be serving as the new Executive Director during this important milestone. As I listen to, learn about and reflect on the depth of the mission, it is clear that our children need these programs more than ever. When we hear about the recent incidents of child suicide, hate speech, and bullying in our schools and communities, Changing Worlds is what our youth need.

The tensions in our community locally, nationally and across the world have a direct impact on how our children see themselves, react to others and navigate the world. What Changing Worlds does is show children and youth how to love, embrace and celebrate all the parts of who they are, how to be in healthy relationship with people who are different than them while also using arts and literacy to create a pathway to academic success.  We will be expanding this impact as we grow and continue to integrate our Ten Thousand Ripples program that uses public art to engage the community in peace making.

If you are a longtime supporter of Changing Worlds – our sincerest gratitude to you for investing in our mission. If you are new to Changing Worlds – Welcome! I am confident that you will be in awe, just as I am, when you witness what the talented staff, teaching artists, literacy specialists, board, volunteers, and partners do to build a strong and resilient community at Changing Worlds.


Alicia T. Vega, Executive Director


Operations + Program Staff

Alicia T. Vega, Executive Director, (she/her/hers)

Joanne Vena, Program Director, (she/her/hers)

Umeki Ramsey, Manager of Office and Program Operations, (she/her/hers)

Kamaya Thompson (KT), Manager of After-School and Community Outreach Programs, (they/their/theirs)

Karen Shifflett, Manager of Program Evaluation and Documentation, (she/her/hers)

Arif Smith, Manager of Program Implementation, (he/him/his)

Nicole Cotto, Manager of Foundation Relations and Grants, (she/her/hers)

Indira Freitas Johnson, Peace and Arts Consultant


Board of Directors


Lucy Ascoli
Consultant to Nonprofits

JoAnn Beck
Shepard, Schwartz & Harris LLP

Patricia Borowiec
National Futures Association

Michele Cardona
Northern Trust

Joseph B. Glossberg
Gofen and Glossberg, LLC

Brian Hahn
Neuberger Berman

Sharon Hidalgo
Elements PEO

Adrianne C. Mazura
Quarles & Brady LLP

Ken Rolling
Community Learning Partnership

Vicki Woolner Samuels

Sarvesh Soi
Northern Trust


Jason Osborn, President  
Jenner & Block  

Sarvesh Soi, Vice President
Northern Trust

Stuart D. Hannay, Treasurer
Argonne National Laboratory

Kay Berkson, Secretary
Founder of Changing Worlds

Vicki Woolner Samuels, Immediate Past President






Associate Board

The Associate Board brings together emerging professionals to support Changing Worlds' mission of culturally inclusive youth arts and literacy programming. Through events and other activities, Associate Board members contribute time, resources, expertise, and guidance. This ensures board members attain outreach, fundraising, and community awareness goals, all while having a fun and enriching experience.

To apply for our Associate Board, please fill out our application.


Patricia Borowiec
National Futures Association

Events Chair

Margarette Rodriguez
The University of Chicago - School of Social Service Administration


Summer Zhao
Glycerin Traders LLC



Lindsay Alvis
Cochrane, Delnor Hospital

Pietro Binchi
United Airlines

Katie Johnson

Christen Summers
DeVry Education Group


Program Team

With an average of over 28 years of experience, program team members are veteran educators, artist and literacy leaders with a successful track record of working in public school or community-based settings. This diverse team has worked in various capacities to mobilize the arts as a social change strategy and improve student learning through teacher and student development programs and curricula that places students - their lives, communities, histories, concerns - at the center of the educational experience.

Teaching Artists

Yaasha Abraham
 Kiana Cook
 Luis Crespo
 Anya Davidson
 Luis DeLaTorre    
 William Eller
 Risha Hill
 Daniel Hoinacki
 Susanna Hostetter
 Nick Jackson
 Cynthium Johnson-Woodfolk    
 Susanna (Sooz) Main    
 SaLesha Mason    
 Kinga McCraven    
 Sadira Muhammad     
 Jenkin Ng    
 Maya Odim    
 Jean Parisi    
 Amaniyea Payne    
 Michelle Penn    
 Patricia Peixoto    
 Arif Smith    
 Diana Solis    
 Billy Stevens    
 Tone Stockenstrom    
 D'nick Stockman    
 Jamie Thome    
 Kamaya Thompson    
 Dionne (DW) Walker    
 Kawana Williams    
 John Wilson    
 Kelsey Wright    
 Avery R. Young

Literacy Specialists

Quraysh Ali-Lansana
Edie McLoud Armstrong
Bria Dolnick
Karen Doria
Cynthium Johnson-Woodfolk
Gale Liebman
Susanna (Sooz) Main
Jennifer Moran
Molly Moynahan
Avery R. Young


"I work hard, communicate and cooperate with others."


"Art allows me to be open-minded."