Neuroeducation: About the Authors and Presenters
From Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts, and the Brain


November, 2009

Sarah Bainter Cunningham, Ph.D., has been director of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Division of Arts Education since September 2005. She provides national leadership in the field of arts education, directing leadership initiatives, the NEA Learning in the Arts grants program, and national initiatives, including Jazz in the Schools, Poetry Out Loud, and Shakespeare for A New Generation. Dr. Cunningham directs a number of leadership initia­tives, including The Arts Education Partnership (a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education), SEADAE (the network of state education agency directors of arts education), SNAAP (the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, spearheaded by Indiana University, Vanderbilt University, and the Surdna Foundation), and professional development for arts education managers at state arts agencies.

Dr. Cunningham has spearheaded the NEA Education Leaders Institute, a project to design public education with arts as a central feature of education reform. This project includes state leadership teams from 19 states, with teams composed of state superintendents, lieutenant governors, teaching artists, principals, business innovators, and others. In cooperation with WestEd, Dr. Cunningham leads the first collection of national data related to practices in arts assessment, examining student learning in schools, cultural organizations, and community centers. She also designed the NEA Big Read Teachers Guides and continues to serve as editor and writer.

The core NEA education investment remains grants to arts-education programs nationwide. Dr. Cunningham chairs the peer-panel process for the review of more than 500 applications and eight panels each year, resulting in over 200 grantees annually. In addition, Dr. Cunningham speaks and presents nationwide, and has served as government liaison to a number of task forces on arts education.

Richard Deasy is the recently retired director of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a coalition of over 100 education, arts, business, philanthropic, and government organizations that demonstrates and promotes the essential role of arts education in enabling all students to succeed in school, life, and work. Under his leadership, AEP published seminal research studies and reports that are credited with major advances in arts education in the United States. He commis­sioned and edited AEP’s widely acclaimed compendium of research,

Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, and subsequently commissioned the research for and co-authored the resulting book Third Space: When Learning Matters, a study of the transformative effects of the arts in high poverty schools.

Upon his retirement from AEP in 2008, the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies created The Richard J. Deasy Award for Partnership in Education and the Arts in his honor. The award will be presented annually to an individual who has significantly advanced arts educa­tion in America. Mr. Deasy was also presented with the NEA Chairman’s Award for Distinguished Service to the American Public through contributions to the arts. Prior to his leadership of AEP, Mr. Deasy had been a senior state education official in Maryland and Pennsylvania, president and CEO of the National Council for International Visitors, and a prize-winning reporter on politics and government in Philadelphia and the surrounding metropolitan area. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on slum housing conditions in suburban Philadelphia.

Janet Eilber has developed and overseen the Dana Foundation’s support to and initiatives in arts education since 2000. Dana makes grants to organizations that train artists to teach the performing arts in public schools, and supports workshops, publications, and confer­ences that provide access to promising practices in the field. Ms. Eilber has contributed to two of Dana’s arts-education books, over­sees Dana’s quarterly publication Arts Education in the News, and helped launch the Dana-supported research study on how the arts influence cognition.

Ms. Eilber became the artistic director of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in 2005, providing artistic over­sight to the three divisions of the Center: the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, and Martha Graham Resources. Her role includes providing artistic direction to the famed dance company, sharing the works of Martha Graham with other arts and educational organizations, and exploring new partnerships and models that utilize the extraordinary collection from Graham’s legacy.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Eilber had a close working relation­ship with Martha Graham. As principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, she soloed at the White House, was part­nered by Rudolf Nureyev, and starred in three segments of Dance in America. She danced many of Graham’s greatest roles, had roles created for her by Graham, and has since taught the Graham tech­nique and directed Graham ballets internationally. Ms. Eilber has also performed in films, on television, and on Broadway, directed by such greats as Agnes deMille and Bob Fosse, and has received four Lester Horton Awards for her reconstruction and performance of seminal American modern dance. Ms. Eilber, a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Juilliard School, is also a trustee of the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Mariale Hardiman, Ed.D., joined the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University in 2006 as assistant dean of Urban School Partnerships and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies after serving in the Baltimore City public school system for more than 30 years. Under Dr. Hardiman’s tenure as principal of Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, the school was designated a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. While principal, Dr. Hardiman devised a teaching framework, The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model, which connects research-based effective instruction with elements from the brain sciences that can inform teaching and learning. A central feature of the model is the integration of the arts into content instruction.

Continuing her interest of bringing relevant findings from the brain sciences to educators, Dr. Hardiman collaborated with colleagues from across the university and community to develop the JHU School of Education’s Neuro-Education Initiative, supported by the JHU Brain Science Institute. The Neuro-Education Initiative includes a new certificate in Mind, Brain, and Teaching, one of the few university programs in the country focusing on the science of learning.

Dr. Hardiman has also continued her interest in supporting urban educators by designing courses and professional development for urban teachers and school leaders. Academic and professional devel­opment programs within the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies include STEM education, earth and space science, adult learning, out of school time learning, urban education, and the Baltimore City Leadership Academy.

Jerome Kagan, Ph.D., one of the key pioneers of developmental psychology, is Daniel and Amy Starch Research Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at Harvard University. Dr. Kagan has spent 45 years studying children and their development; his most recent work has been on temperaments in children. Dr. Kagan has shown that an infant’s temperament is quite stable over time, in that certain behaviors in infancy are predictive of certain other behavior patterns in adolescence. Dr. Kagan is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most recent books are The Three Cultures, What is Emotion, An Argument for Mind, and The Long Shadow of Temperament.

Dr. Kagan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He earned a B.Sc. from Rutgers University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Dr. Kagan spent a year as an instructor in psychology at Ohio State University. Then, after two years as a psychologist at the U.S. Army Hospital at West Point, he did research in developmental psychology at Ohio’s Fels Institute (1957-64) before beginning his career at Harvard University. Dr. Kagan has won the Hofheimer Prize of the American Psychiatric Association and the G. Stanley Hall Award of the American Psychological Association (APA), among many other honors.

Susan Magsamen is an award-winning writer and advisor on family and children’s issues. Ms. Magsamen’s work is widely recognized as fostering and enhancing the ways people learn, play, create, and grow as individuals, families, and communities. She is the co-founder of The Johns Hopkins School of Education Neuro-Education Initiative. She also developed and chaired the editorial and scientific advisory council for Wondertime Magazine, an award-winning monthly publi­cation for families with an emphasis on child development.

Ms. Magsamen is the founder of FamilyStories, a multimedia resource featuring books, workshops, a Web site, and a radio series. She is also the creator of Curiosity Kits, supplemental educational activities that enable children to learn through multisensory experi­ences in the arts, sciences, and world cultures. Ms. Magsamen has developed successful partnerships and collaborations with many organizations, including Scholastic Inc., the National Geographic Society, Sylvan Learning Systems, the Public Broadcasting Company, the Discovery Channel, and The Walt Disney Company. Her body of work has earned hundreds of national awards and recognition from child-development experts and parenting associations, including Oppenheim Awards, Parents’ Choice, Family Fun, and the National Association of Parenting Publications Awards.

Guy M. McKhann, M.D., is professor of neurology and neurosci­ence at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. McKhann is the founding chairman of the department of neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and also the founding director of The Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. McKhann attended Harvard University and received his M.D. degree from Yale University School of Medicine. His most recent research has been in the cognitive and neurologic problems after heart surgery.

Dr. McKhann has authored over 200 publications. He is the co-editor of a successful neurology textbook, Diseases of the Nervous System: Clinical Neurobiology, which is in its third edition. He and his colleague (and wife) Marilyn Albert, Ph.D., have published a book about aging and the brain for the general public, Keep Your Brain Young. A noted teacher, he is the only person at Johns Hopkins to win awards for being the best teacher of medical students and the best teacher of college undergraduates.

Dr. McKhann has been involved with a number of scientific organizations. He is a past president of the American Neurological Association and an honorary member of the Royal Society of Physicians. He is currently the scientific advisor to the Dana Foundation. In addition to his work in this country, Dr. McKhann has been involved in research in China related to epidemics of a para­lytic disease in children. He has also been an advisor to the Vatican on issues relating to the end of life, particularly brain death.

Mary Ann Mears is a sculptor who has been commissioned to create site-specific art for public sites across a number of states, including Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, New York, and Washington, D.C. In her home state of Maryland, her commis­sioned works are located in Bethesda, Rockville, Cheverly, Belair, Glen Burnie, and at several locations in Baltimore. Her most recent major project, Lotus Columns, was just installed in Silver Spring.

Ms. Mears is also an arts advocate. Her achievements include being a founder of Maryland Art Place and helping to craft and successfully lobby for Maryland’s public art bill. She is a trustee of Maryland Citizens for the Arts and the founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance. Ms. Mears serves on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate in the fine arts from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Elizabeth M. Morgan, Ph.D., is currently the superintendent of the Washington County (MD) Public Schools, having served in the position since 2001. She is also very involved in the commu­nity, serving on the boards of directors of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Hagerstown/Washington County Chamber of Commerce, and Pen Mar Development. Dr. Morgan is a member of the Greater Hagerstown Committee and the Hagerstown Rotary. She serves on the Governor’s P-20 task force and was recently appointed by the Governor as a commissioner of Maryland Public Television.

Michael Posner, Ph.D., is professor emeritus at the University of Oregon and adjunct professor of psychology in psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell, where he served as founding director of the Sackler Institute. Dr. Posner is best known for his work with Marcus Raichle, M.D., on imaging the brain during cognitive tasks. He has also worked on the anatomy, circuitry, development, and genetics of three attentional networks underlying alertness, orien­tation to sensory events, and voluntary control of thoughts and ideas. Dr. Posner’s methods for measuring these networks have been applied to a wide range of neurological, psychiatric, and develop­mental disorders and to normal development and school perfor­mance. His current research involves a longitudinal study of young children designed to understand the interaction of specific experi­ence and genes in shaping attention and self regulation.

William Safire served as the Dana Foundation chairman until his death in September 2009. He was active with the Dana Foundation since 1993. He joined the New York Times in 1973, won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 1978, and served nine years on the Pulitzer board. He continued to write his Sunday column, “On Language,” which appeared in The New York Times Magazine from 1979 until just before his death. This column on grammar and usage led to the publication of 14 books, including the recent Safire’s Political Dictionary; Mr. Safire was the most widely read writer on the English language. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in a White House cere­mony held December 16, 2006. Before joining The Times, Mr. Safire was a senior White House speechwriter for President Nixon. He had previously been a radio and television producer, a U.S. Army corre­spondent, and began his career as a reporter for a profiles column in The New York Herald Tribune.

Gottfried Schlaug, M.D., Ph.D., is associate professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School, chief of the Division of Cerebrovascular Disorders at BIDMC, and director of the Music, Neuroimaging, and Stroke Recovery Laboratories at BIDMC. Dr. Schlaug’s major research interests include the neurobiology of music perception and music making; brain plasticity using instrumental musicians as models; the development of musical skills in children; and the use of inno­vative musical interventions, including singing and instrumental music making, to facilitate recovery from brain injuries and neurode­velopmental disorders. Dr. Schlaug has published over 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts and more than ten book chapters. His research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, as well as private foundations.

Elizabeth S. Spelke, Ph.D., is the Marshall L. Berkman Professor of Psychology and co-director of the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative at Harvard University. She studied at Harvard and Yale and received her Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell University in 1978. She studies the origins and nature of knowledge of objects, persons, space, and numbers through research on human infants, children, human adults in diverse cultures, and nonhuman animals. The author of more than 100 research articles, Dr. Spelke is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her honors include the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the William James Award of the American Psychological Society, the IPSEN award in Neuronal Plasticity, and honorary degrees from the University of Umea, Sweden, the École Pratique Des Hautes Études, Paris, and the University of Paris-René Descartes.

Brian A. Wandell, Ph.D., is the first Isaac and Madeline Stein Family Professor at Stanford University. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1979, where he is also chair of the department of psychology and a member, by courtesy, of the electrical engineering and radiology departments. Dr. Wandell’s research projects center on how we see, including topics like visual disorders, reading development in chil­dren, digital imaging devices, and algorithms. Dr. Wandell’s work in visual neuroscience uses functional and structural MRI, along with behavior testing and modeling, to understand the action of the visual portions of the brain. His research includes studies of the organiza­tion of the visual field maps in the human brain, color and motion processing within these maps, and the potential for reorganization following injury or developmental disorders.

The Wandell lab is applying diffusion tensor imaging and func­tional MRI to study human brain development. It is carrying out a longitudinal study measuring the development of structures and signals in the visual cortex of children aged 8-12 as they become skilled readers. The lab’s measurements of developmental changes during the acquisition of skilled reading are intended to understand how visual signals become rapidly identified and classified in the process of learning to read. Among recent awards, Dr. Wandell was named Electronic Imaging Scientist of the Year by the SPIE/IS&T in 2007, and he was awarded the Tillyer Prize from the Optical Society of America in 2008. Dr. Wandell was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2003.

Ellen Winner, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at Boston College and senior research associate at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University in 1978. Dr. Winner’s research focuses on learning and cognition in the arts in typical and gifted children. She is the author of over 100 articles and four books: Invented Worlds: The Psychology of the Arts; The Point of Words: Children’s Understanding of Metaphor and Irony; Gifted Children: Myths and Realities (translated into six languages and winner of the Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Book Award in Science); and Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education (co-authored with Lois Hetland, Shirley Veenema, and Kimberly Sheridan).

Dr. Winner received the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Research by a Senior Scholar in Psychology and the Arts from the American Psychological Association. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 10, psychology and the arts) and of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. She is currently studying the cognitive and social skills learned from experi­ence in the visual arts and theater, cognitive and perceptual strategies underlying talent in drawing, and the effects of music training on children’s brain and cognitive development.

About the Editors

Barbara Rich, Ed.D., a vice president at the Dana Foundation, is responsible for the news, IT, and web office and helps oversee arts education at the Foundation. Rich was a co-editor of Learning Arts and the Brain: The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition; Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education; Acts of Achievement: The Role of Performing Arts Centers in Education; and editor of Partnering Arts Education: A Working Model from Arts Connection.

Dr. Rich’s background in communications and education includes posts at Rutgers University and Marymount Manhattan College, where she was dean and then a vice president. She was senior vice president at the Scientists’ Institute for Public Information (SIPI) prior to joining the Dana Foundation.

Dr. Rich has published articles on science and education, and has served often as a discussant on both media and arts education. She earned a B.A. from City College of New York, M.A.s from Rutgers University and Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Johanna Goldberg has worked at the Dana Foundation since 2005 and now serves as its public information officer. She copy edited the Dana Foundation publications Learning, Arts, and the Brain and Partnering Arts Education: A Working Model from Arts Connection, and was associate editor of Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education. Ms. Goldberg received a B.A. in English from Goucher College and an M.L.I.S. from Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science.