Dawn M. Ellis and Associates, LLC

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DME Affiliates

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Pulling from our national network, Dawn M. Ellis & Associates develops teams to meet client needs.  DME Affiliates wear many hats within the public sector field and bring this experience to DME collaborations.

Marv Klassen-Landis, MFA, Windsor, Vermont

DME Senior Research Associate Marv Klassen-Landis brings decades of experience in writing, editing, education, facilitation, local and town planning, arts, and human services.  Marv's major emphasis in teaching and professional development is inspiring reluctant readers and writers. A published poet, Marv also writes and edits in technical areas, including web copy for Leadership in Medicine. As an educator and teaching artist, Marv works with groups ranging from young children, college students, people with disabilities, and families, to standards-based curriculum development teams. As a creative writing specialist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, he leads writing groups for patients with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  As a Planning Commission member in Windsor, Marv engages town and regional planners to promote responsible growth and development and conservation of cultural and environmental resources.  Over the last two decades, Marv served on DME research teams for Broad Brush; Ready, Set, Grow; and Designing the Learning Community and editing teams with DME Ford's Theatre Society and Burlington and Winooski School District education reform projects


 Karen Poirier, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Karen Poirier helps passion-driven organizations articulate their messages, communicate effectively with stakeholders and constituents, and develop their services strategically to meet market needs.  Karen's 25-year marketing career includes award-winning work in-house and as a consultant to not-for-profit organizations and foundations, including 10 years in the arts where she focused on building long-term constituent relationships and broad-based community support. She specializes in supporting leaders and teams through critical transition points with strategic, integrated marketing campaigns that impact multiple levels. To that end, she helps with branding; messaging; campaign planning; content creation; video engagement; database marketing; and constituent relationship management. Karen integrates analytical and creative thinking informed by behavioral economics into improving organizational effectiveness. Karen graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with an Art History degree.

John E. Novotny, Ph.D.,  Burlington, Vermont

As an engineer and educator, Dr. John Novotny provides technical expertise to the DME team, linking DME to the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field areas. John's fields include mechanical engineering and technical design, as well as published research in biomechanical engineering.  John currently serves as teaching faculty as a Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Program in the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont.  His work has included leading the design practicum course partnering groups of students with businesses to develop useful solutions to real problems.  John has also served as engineering faculty for the Governor's Institutes of Vermont and the University of Delaware. He has experience teaching and developing curriculum for a wide range of ages, from graduate students to high school. John holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S. in Biomechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University.  He volunteers at the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes School, a public elementary magnet and coaches youth baseball.

Dana Powell Russell, Ed.D., San José, California

Dr. Dana Powell Russell has worked as a strategic planner, evaluator, researcher, preK-12 teaching artist and teacher educator, program director, and writer for organizations nationwide. She specializes in strategic planning, program development, and evaluation. As an adjunct professor with Lesley University's Integrated Teaching Through the Arts program, she teaches graduate-level courses in integrated curriculum design, instruction, and assessment. Dana holds an Ed.D. in Learning and Instruction at the University from San Francisco, focused on creativity and the arts in elementary teaching practice, an M.A. in Museum Studies/Public Programming from John F. Kennedy University, and a B.A. in Visual Arts from the University of California San Diego. Dana and DME President Dawn Ellis collaborated on Designing the Arts Learning Community, where Dana served on the commissioning and steering committee through the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

 Gordon Sasaki, New York, New York

Gordon Sasaki brings a unique combination of personal insight, academic training, and studio artist experience when working with disabled populations. A wheelchair user since a 1982 automobile accident, Gordon champions the inclusion of the arts as a life tool, invaluable to everyone. With an emphasis on the creative process, he uses the universal qualities of the arts to design curricula and workshops for all learners. Gordon implements his ideas through teaching in universities, museums, schools and private institutions, including the New York City Department of Education, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design, VSA arts Institute, and the International Center for Tolerance in Education.  Gordon teaches in the education department of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). His work is exhibited internationally and held in many private and corporate collections. Gordon and DME President Dawn Ellis have collaborated on arts, inclusion, and professional development over the last decade and a half.

Sara Goldhawk, M.Ed., Buffalo, New York

Sara Goldhawk has over 25 years of experience working in the non-profit arts and education arena in New York State and nationally in Washington, D.C.. Her education work includes time with Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Public Education Network, and the American Forum for Global Education. Sara has taught in higher education, at University of Buffalo, and community settings.  Recently, she helped plan and launch a partnership initiative for Arts Partners for Learning (APL), serving eight counties in Western New York State.  For over a decade, she served as a founding staff member of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), in which she collaborated with Dawn on national research and initiatives to help states. She has a wide range of skills and expertise including qualitative research, knowledge of education policy and governing agencies, membership development, communications and publications, grant reviewing and writing, conference organization, and strategic planning.  She maintains a pottery studio in New York state. Sara holds at M.Ed. in Social Foundations of Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a BFA in fine arts from Daemen College.