Youth in Arts is supported by community members who make art programs work for youth. Without them we would not be able to offer such a multitude of programs and services. Strong community support is vital to having a sustainable organization. Our Board of Directors form a critical support component for our staff.
Naomi Tamura, Board President, has been involved in a variety of creative and community endeavors, from volunteer efforts to practicing a variety of visual arts mediums around the Bay Area. After graduating from Scripps College with a Studio Arts Degree, Naomi worked professionally as a graphic designer /art director in both print and online advertising. After a brief stint as a freelancer, Naomi joined Netcentives, Inc., an online incentives marketing company, as their in-house Senior Art Director. At Netcentives, she built and managed a team of designers that developed the visuals for their product and all out-bound marketing communications for their flagship product, as well as various in-house special projects. Naomi is also board chair of O’Hanlon Center for the Arts. After the death of her eldest son, Walker, in 2011, Naomi chose to concentrate on family life and more philanthropic projects. In conjunction with Youth in Arts, she developed the Walker Rezaian Creative HeArts Fund to honor the spirit of her son, who loved to create art together in their small studio space at home.
Tim Distler, Treasurer has spent his career working in the renewable energy project finance and development industry. Along this path, he’s lived and worked in Boulder, CO, Chicago, IL and now San Francisco where he currently works for PG&E Corporation. At PG&E, Tim manages the company’s unregulated investments in rooftop, small-scale solar with two leading solar installers. Tim has a strong passion for renewable and environmentally sustainable energy sources as well as business and investment strategy. He thoroughly enjoys solving new and interesting problems and learning from this process along the way. In his free time, Tim enjoys trail running, skiing in Tahoe or Colorado, camping, cycling, and traveling to Sonoma or the Russian River to relax with friends and family. Tim is orginally from the Chicago area yet spent most of his childhood in Iowa where he attended the University of Iowa during undergraduate school. He since went on to earn an MBA from Lindenwood University in St. Louis, MO.
Angela Rafner, Secretary is an art history graduate of UC Berkeley. She has lived in Kent Woodlands with her husband Josh and their three children for more than ten years. She served on the Kentfield School Foundation Board and has raised funds for nonprofits such as the Marin Primary, the Marin Rowing Community, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, She is an active runner who has participated in triathlons and the Dipsea race.
Melissa Jones Briggs is a university lecturer, performer and consultant specializing in performance as a tool for social change. Melissa leads client transformation as an executive coach and has designed and deployed bespoke learning experiences and full scale programs in the corporate, academic and nonprofit sectors. She has taught at London Business School in the UK, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Aalto University in Finland, and the United States Naval Academy. An honors graduate of Wake Forest University, Melissa also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and the Actor’s Center Conservatory in New York.
Devin Dixon, has lived in Larkspur with her husband Todd and their two sons for many years. She has a background in finance. She has served on multiple boards and currently also serves as secretary on the board of the Ralston White Retreat.
Kathryn Hasson, is the student representative on the board a proud member of `Til Dawn. Kathryn has been singing for over 12 years, and taking private voice lessons with Krista Wigle for 4 years. She loves performing, whether it is as part of an ensemble, as a solo singer, or as an actress. She is a member of Marin Academy’s music and theater programs. Kathryn also loves musical theater and has performed as part of the Cabaret Ensemble, the musical Homefront, and many summer classes at the American Conservatory Theater. Singing is her passion, and she loves being able to share music with other people through `Til Dawn.
Rich Storek, architect and teacher, studied at the University of Oregon, then practiced residential/commercial architecture, project development and product design in San Francisco and Oakland, and taught design at San Francisco State. With the U.S. Foreign Service Rich directed Peace Corps programs in architecture and town planning in Africa and Iran. After five years living in North Africa with his family of five children Rich returned to his design practice in San Francisco, specializing in commercial historic buildings. Rich initiated an Architect-in-Schools teaching program for Bay Area schools, assembled a championship sandcastle-building team, and continues a lifelong engagement with architecture and visual arts, now building Youth in Arts’s Architecture Studio program, promoting and teaching design thinking in Marin elementary schools. Rich also serves on the Historic Preservation Board of the City of Larkspur.
Janine Simerly, has been practicing law for 35 years, most recently as a shareholder in the employment law practice group at Seyfarth Shaw. Focusing on jury trials, Ms. Simerly is well known for her courtroom skills and is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates. She has tried over 35 jury trials to verdict with notable success, including a complete defense victory in two trials (sexual harassment and discrimination) in December 2010, and a July 2009 defense verdict in a racial harassment and retaliation case. Other recent trial victories include a June 2007 defense verdict in a multi-plaintiff racial discrimination/harassment case and a December 2006 defense verdict in a whistleblower/retaliation case. Her son Sean Simerly is a `Til Dawn alum who leads the band Happnstance.
Maura Tokarski, is an arts educator with a background in teaching and industrial design. She is currently the Marin lead for Local Arts Network of the California Alliance for Arts Education. Working with the Getty Museum and Los Angeles Unified School District, Maura developed lesson plans integrating academics with art. By digitizing the entire permanent collection, the Getty made it possible for all students to experience the artwork, and Maura designed programs that incorporated art into math and science classes.
Sheila Tuffanelli, is a fine artist who specializes in tar paper sculptures. She was an art major at Stanford University and continued her education at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and the College of Marin. In her sculpture she portrays the strength and dignity of women, the loving, nurturing yet fiercely protective nature of women. These attributes have been passed down to her daughters and 11 grandchildren. She has long championed and spearheaded “Rising Stars” the annual Marin County high school art show.
If you are interested in joining the Youth in Arts Board of Directors, please contact us here.