Beth Braun, Esperanza Dance Project Artistic Director and Director of Dance at Rincon/University High Schools
Ms. Braun has been referred to as being “riveting” and “magnetic” in reviews by former dance critic, Gene Armstrong of the Arizona Daily Star. She has been performing professionally and teaching since 1982 in Tucson, throughout Arizona, in New York, California, and internationally. Originally from New York, Beth received her MA Degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from State University of New York at Brockport. Beth has worked with just about every modern dance company in Tucson, and while in NY. she studied at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, worked with Joy Kellman and Company and Randy James Danceworks and had work created for her by independent choreographers. She has taught every age student from 13 month old babies to 60 year old differently-abled adults. Beth received her position as director of the dance program at Rincon/University High Schools in 2004. As director of the program, she teaches all styles of concert dance, improvisation, choreography, lighting design, mentors students, travels with them to perform in various College Bowl Game Halftime shows in Florida and California and produces four major dance concerts each school year. Between the years of 1998 and 2005, prior to her founding and directing The Esperanza Dance Project, Beth created and produced her own work with singer-songwriter, Arthur Miscione. Through their work together they created and funded with yearly performances, a Pediatric Heart Transplant fund at University Medical Center, Tucson, AZ. In 2011, Beth founded Esperanza Dance Project after discovering that her daughter had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse for as long as she could remember. Beth was the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Buffalo Exchange Arts Award, 2012 Flinn Foundation Distinguished Education Award, finalist for the 2015 Circle K/University of Arizona Outstanding Educator Award for Southern Arizona, 2015 Pima County Child Abuse Prevention Individual Award, and was on the Disruptive Women in Healthcare’s 2016 list of 16 women to watch in 2016.
Phyllis Braun, Board Member
Phyllis Braun is the executive editor of the award-winning Arizona Jewish Post. She joined the AJP in 1996 as assistant editor and became executive editor in 2002. In 2010, she oversaw the launch of the AJP’s website, azjewishpost.com.
Prior to moving to Tucson in 1995, Braun lived in New York, where she was associate copy chief at Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. She began her career in publishing with a brief stint at Panorama Magazine, which was dedicated to the then-fledgling cable television industry, followed by several years at the venerable Book-of-the-Month Club.
Carole Marlowe, Board President
Carole Marlowe is a retired TUSD Fine Arts resource teacher. Carole has been an educator in many capacities for over thirty years. She has been a teacher of English, drama and dance; served as lead teacher for at-risk students in an alternative high school; and has been a trainer of teachers in classroom management, gender equity, and personal boundaries in the classroom among others.
Her background in education is one of distinction in advocating for the student and student rights. The national awards she has won in defending the First Amendment include the Penn/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award and the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. She is the author of Finding Safety, a book for teenagers about abuse and was featured in the documentary film Healing From Childhood Sexual Abuse.
Sara Anderson Stewart, Board Secretary
Sara Anderson Stewart is a dance teacher at Tucson High Magnet School of the Performing Arts. Her dance educational experience over the last decade includes directing high school dance programs, directing an apprentice dance company, developing dance education and arts integration curriculum, presenting at national dance education conferences, and leading professional development to educators and teaching artists. Sara brings this passion and experiences to the Esperanza Dance Project (EDP) board, and also offers the unique perspective of being a former EDP dance member. Sara began her involvement with EDP performing in the first “House of Hope.” Sara has always been drawn in by the power of the arts to make social change and the mission of EDP is particularly relevant and invaluable to her work with high school students.
Leslie Keena, Board Member
Leslie Keena works at Pima Association of Governments. She comes to Esperanza Dance Project with five years of experience in marketing and fundraising, and recently completed her Masters in Public Administration. She spent her college years in Virginia working in peer education for sexual violence prevention, overseeing Take Back the Night and hundreds of presentations to college students about sexual abuse, prevention, and how to helps survivors. She also regularly served as a 24-hour crisis advocate for the local sexual and domestic abuse shelter. As a lifelong dancer, Leslie was initially drawn to Esperanza Dance Project because it uses art and movement to empower young people and send strong messages about an issue that has always been important to her.
Carmen Hernandez, Board Member
Carmen Hernandez started working in TUSD 22 years ago when she was asked to be the therapist liaison from Our Town Family Center, where she worked for five years. She was hired as the counselor at C.E. Rose in 1995, and have been in this role for 20 years. Carmen has been a counselor at every level; elementary, middle and high school, working at C.E Rose K-8, Hohokam MS, Tucson Magnet High School and now at University High School. She has had the privilege of working with some of the most dedicated, hardworking, intelligent and kind students, wonderful involved parents, phenomenal teachers and a great supportive administrative team!
As a recruiter, it is Carmen’s job to market and promote her high school as the choice school for the underrepresented middle school students and or any other highly motivated students. As the advisor, she helps students with any academic, personal or social situation and guides them all the way through their four years. Carmen is the sponsor of several support programs at UHS, including PB & J Club, SHPE through the U of A (Society of Hispanic Engineers), Penguin to Penguin Mentoring Program and the Annual HOBY CLeW (Career Leadership Educational Workshop). These programs involve students at different levels and support their academics by allowing them to belong to a special part of UHS and find what they’re passionate about. She loves being an advocate for all students and is truly honored to be part of Esperanza Dance Project.