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Meet the Staff

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Susan McGreevy-Nichols | Executive Director

Susan recently moved back east to become the new NDEO Executive Director after living in Santa Monica, CA for the past 10 years. While in CA, Susan worked as an independent National Arts Education Consultant. Her consulting work included coaching districts in Los Angeles County as part of the Arts for All initiative and in Northern California in Alameda County as a part of that county’s initiative Revitalizing Classrooms Through Arts Learning: Strategic Plan. Susan also was a part time lecturer at Loyola Marymount University and California State University Dominguez Hills. As a teacher at Roger Williams Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island from 1974-2002, Susan found and developed that institution’s nationally renowned middle school dance program. The program treated dance as a core subject and emphasized the creating, performing and responding processes as they link to the arts and other disciplines. She is the developer of a cutting edge reading comprehension strategy that uses text as inspiration for original choreography created by children. This literacy-based methodology combines the creative process with reading instruction. In 1995, Susan was honored as the National Dance Teacher of the Year. Susan McGreevy-Nichols is the co-author of five books: Building Dances (1995), Building More Dances (2001), Experiencing Dance (2004), Dance about Anything (2006) and Exploring Dance Forms and Styles (2010). She/Her/Hers. Contact Susan

Jane Bonbright | Director of OPDI; Founding Executive Director (1997-2012)

Jane earned her doctorate in education at Temple University. Dr. Bonbright dedicated fifty-five years to the field of dance specializing in performance, education, research, administration, and dance/arts advocacy at national and state levels. She began her career as a professional ballet dancer and toured the United States and Europe with major ballet companies. She is founding director of the Maryland Youth Ballet (MD), home school of artists Susan Jaffe, Julie Kent, Cheryl Yaeger, Roger Plaut, Joanne Danto, and hundreds of other professional ballet dancers .She taught for thirty-five years in professional-oriented training academies, K-12, and colleges and universities before focusing on national issues involving policy, legislation, and funding for arts and education. Dr. Bonbright served as President and Executive Director for the National Dance Association before joining NDEO as Founding Executive Director in 1998 where she worked to establish NDEO as the national service organization for dance arts in US education. Dr. Bonbright served as Project Director for Research in Dance Education (2001-2005) and Professional Teaching Standards for Dance in the Arts (2005) and many national task force commissions. As Founding Executive Director of NDEO, Dr. Bonbright worked with over 100 federal/state government agencies and arts/education associations to ensure dance arts is included in the national agenda in U.S. education. She is the recipient of CORD’s Outstanding Leadership in Dance Education Award (2005), CODA’s Alma Hawkins Award of Excellence in Dance in Education (2007), and NDEO’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2009). She is grateful to every dance educator in America who works on a daily basis to advance dance as art in education, culture, and life. Thank you! She/Her/Hers. Contact Jane

Melissa Greenblatt | Managing Director

Melissa is originally from Houston, Texas and first began dancing at the age of six. At her parent’s insistence, she pursued business and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, she worked in the corporate world of consumer products, spending thirteen years with Procter & Gamble in the sales/business development and brand management functions. She continued dancing off and on throughout college and while working.  In early 2006, she had the unique opportunity to go back to school full time at the University of Maryland, studying dance with NDEO member Karen Bradley. At a Laban workshop at Maryland, she met NDEO former Executive Director Jane Bonbright and realized the opportunity to combine her marketing background with her love of dance. She joined NDEO in 2007 as the Director of Marketing and Membership. A few years later, Melissa’s work at NDEO  broadened to include honor society, board of director programs, and state affiliate development. Recently, Melissa has transitioned into the role of Managing Director with oversight of all NDEO programs and services, including NDEO's online education program, OPDI, while also maintaining her marketing and membership responsibilities. She/Her/Hers. Contact Melissa

Vilma Braja Rama | Director of Finance and HR

Vilma is originally from Albania and came to the US as a young girl. She has always loved dance but hasn't had the chance to pursue it. She worked for six years at Chevy Chase Bank as a Branch Manager. This is where she met Jane Bonbright and started learning more about NDEO. In 2009, she decided to return to school full-time; and was able to join NDEO part-time. After completing her degree in Finance from the University of Maryland, Vilma took over as the Director of Finance for NDEO. Meanwhile, she has decided to also pursue a degree in Accounting while remaining a dancer at heart. She/Her/Hers. Contact Vilma

Betsy Loikow | Director of Conferences and Events

Betsy Loikow, CMA, grew up in Washington, D.C., and began studying dance with NDEO founder Rima Faber, performing with The Primary Movers Performance Company as a child. She continued her dance education at the Washington School of Ballet and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. She continued dancing and choreographing through college and graduated with a B.A. in film and political science from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. She has worked on both local and national electoral campaigns in the U.S. and abroad. She joined NDEO in 2009, combining her love of dance with her passion for advocacy. Betsy continues dancing on a daily basis in the D.C. area as a founding member and Co-Artistic Chair of Glade Dance Collective and co-founder and organizer of the National Choreography Month D.C. (NACHMO DC) annual regional festival. She/Her/Hers. Contact Betsy

Kari Schrade | Program Coordinator

Kari Schrade, MA, grew up in Virginia and is a part of a very musical family which naturally lead to participating in show choir and other singing and dance groups in her childhood. Kari holds a B.A. in Anthropology with an emphasis on Archaeology from Brigham Young University. While at BYU Kari had the opportunity to embrace her love of dance and take dance classes each semester, ranging from world dance to ballroom to ballet and everything in between. One of Kari’s favorite experiences involving dance was having the opportunity to participate in the BYU Lu’ua, where she was able to perform a Maori dance involving poi balls. Kari received her MFA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from Manchester University in England. Kari had the opportunity to join NDEO April 2018 as a temporary employee and is excited to become a part of such a wonderful organization. She/Her/Hers. Contact Kari

Kaitlynn Schultz | Administrative Assistant

Kaitlynn is originally from Rochester, NY. As a recent graduate from SUNY Brockport with a degree in Recreation Management, she completed an internship with NDEO during the summer and fall of 2019 wherein she learned the ins and outs of the organization and experienced what it is like to work at a non-profit arts administration organization. While at SUNY Brockport, she coupled her coursework with her long-standing relationship with dance, focusing on Private Sector/Studios with a special interest in Early Childhood and working with students with disabilities. Over the past four years, she taught Strike it Up Artistic Center, a dance studio in Ontario, NY where she’d been training since the age of 11, and she currently teaches in Northern Virginia and Maryland. As a dance teacher herself, she hopes to be able to use her knowledge of the field and her previous experience in customer service to serve the membership. She/Her/Hers. Contact Kaitlynn