Keynote Presentations

American Records Theater Company (Monday Plenary)

KJ SanchezDuck Soup: A Play on Equity is a new work commissioned for the conference from American Record Theater Company, written by KJ Sanchez and Tommer Peterson, and directed by KJ Sanchez. The play, an exploration of equity in the arts, is based on interviews funders, artists, public officials, activists, and people from all walks of life. The plenary session will be followed by facilitated breakout discussion salons.

KJ Sanchez is founder/CEO of American Records. KJ has produced national and international tours. As a playwright, she has been produced at Asolo Rep, Actors Theater of Louisville, Two River Theater, Baltimore’s CENTERSTAGE, Round House Theater, Working Classroom, Cornerstone and Off-Broadway at Urban Stages. She is a Fox Fellow, the 2012 Douglas Wollop Fellow, an Albert Award Nominee and an NEA CDP for directors recipient. As the producer, director and co-author of ReEntry, KJ has contracted with the Department of Defense, utilizing the play as post-deployment training for service members at over thirty military bases and sites throughout the US and Internationally.

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Teo Castellanos (Monday Plenary)

Teo CastellanosBorn in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami, Teo Castellanos is an actor/writer/director who works in theater, film and television. Teo received his B.F.A. in Theater from Florida Atlantic University under a full scholarship where he studied with four time Tony Award winner Zoe Caldwell. He is author of War, Revolution, and the Projects, a one man trilogy, which he has toured on the East Coast, as well as his one-man show NE 2nd Avenue based on Miami characters, which was commissioned and produced by Miami Light Project as part of their 2001-2002 Contemporary Performance Series and went on to be produced by Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami.

Teo Castellanos’ NE 2nd Avenue was awarded the International Cultural Exchange Grant by Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs, which allowed Castellanos to bring it to the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it won the Fringe First Award, the most prestigious theater award of the festival.

He has lectured and taught theater workshops at Temple University, University of Massachusetts, Saint Michaels College, Santa Fe College, University of South Florida, Florida Memorial University and Miami-Dade College as well as throughout several states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is currently director of RAP (Rites And Passages), a men’s prison theater/drumming program at ArtSpring, and Executive Producer of Miami Project Hip Hop (MPH), an annual event produced by Miami Light Project that honors Hip Hop roots and aesthetics.

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Alberto Carvalho (Tuesday Plenary)

Alberto CarvalhoAlberto M. Carvalho is Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the nation’s fourth largest school system, serving a diverse student body of over 400,000 in Pre K-Adult. M-DCPS has an annual budget of almost $4.3 billion; 53,000 employees; and over 47.5 million square feet of facilities. A nationally recognized expert on education reform and finance, as well as an outspoken advocate for high quality education for all students, Mr. Carvalho became Superintendent in September 2008.

A leader in innovation, Mr. Carvalho is spearheading the transformation of education, pushing for the migration from textbooks to digital content and is developing cutting edge educational environments to meet the demands of today’s learners. He has been selected to lead statewide committees charged with charting the future of public education in Florida. He successfully chaired the Governor's Race to the Top (RTTT) Working Group which led to Florida's successful bid for RTTT funding resulting in $700 million for Florida’s schools. He was also tapped as chair of Florida’s Task Force on Educational Excellence which has been charged with crafting the framework for the reform efforts driven by Race to the Top. In 2010, Mr. Carvalho was recognized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as the “Visionary Leader of the Year.” And the Florida Art Education Association named him 2011 Superintendent Of The Year.

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New World School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble (Tuesday Plenary)

Under the direction of James Gasior, the NWSA’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band, comprised of NWSA high school students, has been recognized on a national scale for their exceptional musical performance both as an ensemble and for individual performances. Among its most distinguished honors, the Jazz Ensemble has participated in the Thelonious Monk Institute national Peer-To-Peer Jazz Education Program during several consecutive years, joining other bands from across the nation. These fine jazz musicians had the honor of representing South Florida as they participated in Jazz Studio, a music series initiative held at The White House several years ago.

New World School of the Arts (NWSA), a unique educational partnership between Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida, is a world-class center of excellence in the visual and the performing arts providing a comprehensive program of artistic, creative and academic development. With programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater, and Art and Design, NWSA offers the high school diploma as well as the AA and the four-year BFA and BM college degrees. Through a rigorous curriculum that reflects the rich multicultural state of Florida and conservatory training, it empowers students to become leaders in the arts. Since 1988, close to 4,000 students of every economic and ethnic background have graduated from NWSA – many joining the ranks of prestigious arts organizations throughout the nation and beyond.

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Robert Vijay Gupta (Wednesday Plenary)

Robert Vijay GuptaRobert Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in June 2007 at the age of 19 after graduating with a Master’s degree in music from Yale University. Throughout his undergraduate course of study, he held Research Assistant positions at CUNY Hunter College in New York City, where he worked on spinal chord neuronal regeneration, and at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine Center for Neurologic Diseases, where he studied the biochemical pathology of Parkinson’s disease.

Gupta also directs a non-profit organization called Street Symphony, which actively brings a live classical musical outreach concert series to greatly underserved mentally ill living within homeless, incarcerated, and Veteran communities on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

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