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Board Members’ Bios

Executive Committee

Dr. James Blasingame
Chair
Gilbert
Professor, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University Tempe

As a Professor, Dr. Blasingame focuses on young adult literature, Indigenous curriculum, censorship, secondary reading and writing pedagogy, preparing pre-service teachers, and cowboy poetry. He also works with the ASU chapter of the U.S. State Department’s International Leaders in Education Partnership, where he helps international teachers create professional development modules for use in their home countries. Blasingame is the executive director of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of English Teachers. He is an assistant to Henry Quintero and Simon Ortiz on the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All: Collaboration and Creativity at Work. His academic distinctions include the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Zebulon Pearce Professor for the Humanities, Pat Tillman Veterans’ Center Professor, Arizona Humanities Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar, Doctoral Mentor of the Year, Parents’ Association Professor of the Year, and International Reading Association Arbuthnot Award for outstanding professor of children’s and young adult literature. Prior to ASU Blasingame spent twenty-four years in secondary education as a high school teacher, coach, bus driver and principal.

Edgar Rafael Olivo
Vice Chair
Scottsdale
CEO/Business Leadership Educator and Economic Development Advisory, Compass Computer and Business School, LLC

Edgar Rafael Olivo is an award-winning bilingual business communication expert, international corporate trainer, author, and speaker featured on Univision, Telemundo, CNN Latino, NPR, Phoenix Business Journal. He founded Compass CBS, a computer and business school that delivers innovative leadership and training solutions to top businesses in North and Latin America to develop strong, harmonious, productive, and inclusive work communities. Olivo is a passionate advocate for economic development, community, culture, and education.  He is certified in business, finance, data analytics, corporate training, and executive coaching. Olivo is the son of Mexican immigrants and the eldest of eleven siblings. He enjoys spending time on his ranch in Northern Arizona searching for fossils and assisting his husband build his natural history museum. B.A. degree in Business Communication. Applied Business Data Analytics Certificate, W.P Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

Karl Kendall
Treasurer
Glendale
Deputy Director of Collections and Programming, Phoenix Public Library

Karl Kendall has worked for the Phoenix Public Library for the past 17 years. In his current role as the Deputy Director of Collections and Programming, Karl oversees the coordination of programs, services, and the purchasing of library materials across this diverse system of 17 Library locations. Prior to his current position, Karl managed the Century, Cesar Chavez, and Agave libraries, overseeing the opening of the latter two. Married with three young children, Karl’s main passions are music, baseball, and, of course, reading. B.A., History, Arizona State University. M.A., Information and Library Sciences, University of Arizona.

Dr. Tamika Sanders
Secretary
Phoenix
Talent Development Manager, Silicon Valley Bank
Business & Educational Consultant, Savvy Pen

Dr. Tamika Sanders has over 10 years of experience working with schools and businesses in the areas of teaching, training, curriculum design, public programming, strategic planning, and professional development. Her work entails bringing diverse, real-world perspectives to programming, and creating strategic community partnerships that generate revenue and provide access to resources and opportunities for marginalized groups. Her company, Savvy Pen, provides interactive arts and multicultural training to bridge cultural and socioeconomic divides between educators and their students. Dr. Sanders is a co-producer/partner of the Bi-National Arts Residency (BNAR), which connects cultural communities in the Sonoran Desert with issues of social justice and identity through art. Her professional distinctions include TEDx Phoenix Salon on community sustainability, Community Luminary Award, and nomination for the 2015 Humanities Rising Star Award for individuals using creative approaches to engage the public in humanities. Dr. Sanders believes that the arts can break barriers, inspire youth, and create social change. PhD in Higher Education, M.A. Business Administration, B.A. Communication.

Regi Adams
Member at Large
Tempe
Director of Information Development, ADP

Regi Adams is Director of Information Development at ADP where he oversees the Knowledge Management program that supports service teams and clients. Adams is ADP’s Tempe campus president of Cultivate, a volunteer employee group that focuses on professional development of African American businesses and allies. He has worked across multiple industries spanning government, education, and the business services sector. As a Knowledge Management leader, Adams dedicates time helping others find empowerment through knowledge and information. Adams believes that when people know more, they do more, and organizations serious about empowerment must use methods that allow them to preserve knowledge in useful ways. Adams serves on the board of the Sonoran Science Academy, a K- 12 school system that emphasizes STEM education across diverse communities. B.A. in Organizational Leadership, Wilberforce University. M.A in Education, University of Phoenix. He is a Certified Information Professional (CIP).

Dr. Julie Codell
Member at Large
Tempe
Professor, Art History and Film, Barrett Honors College Faculty, Arizona State University

Julie Codell is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University, affiliate faculty in English, Film and Media Studies, Asian Studies, and the Sidney Poitier New American Film School. She previously served as Vice Chair of the Montana Humanities Council. Dr. Codell is grants evaluator for the Australian Research Council and the National Humanities Center and has served as grants evaluator for the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. Dr. Codell was awarded a Seed Grant from ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research, 2020-2021, and the School of Art Evelyn Smith Award for 2019-20 for her research. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Getty Foundation, Kress Foundation, Huntington Library, Ransom Center, American Institute of Indian Studies, the Yale Center for British Art. Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Indiana University Bloomington. M.A. in Art History, Indiana, M.A. in English, University of Michigan. B.A. in English, Vassar College.

Members

Caryn Bird
Phoenix
Residential Faculty, Glendale Community College, English Professor

As Residential Faculty at Glendale Community College (GCC), Caryn Bird teaches rhetoric and composition to undergraduate students. She is also a college-wide Assessment Developer working with faculty, staff, and students from all disciplines to creatively assess student learning. Prior to joining GCC, Caryn was a high school English teacher and department chair at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona where she taught both composition and literature through a humanities lens. Caryn won the Charros Teacher of the Year award in 2017 for her work in the high school classroom. Before joining the Arizona Humanities Board of Directors, Caryn Served as Co-Chair of the GLSEN Phoenix board where she worked to make K-12 schools safer for LGBTQ+ students and their peers. In addition to her work with GLSEN, Caryn volunteers as Workshop Coordinator for one∙n∙ten’s Camp Outdoors. She presents a variety of camp workshops including LGBTQ+ Young Audiences Literature, Queer Story Telling, and Public Speaking. Born and raised in Arizona. Caryn lives in Phoenix with her spouse Laura and their family of foster pets.

Dr. Albrecht Classen
Tucson
Distinguished Professor of German Studies, University of Arizona

Dr. Albrecht Classen is University Distinguished Professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Dr. Classen has published numerous scholarly books on German and European medieval and early modern literature and serves on the boards of international journals dedicated to the Humanities. In 2021 he won the Tulliola Renato Filippelli World Award for prose narratives. Dr. Classen, a dedicated member of the Arizona Speaks program, has given presentations statewide on the Middle Ages, German and European history and culture, and the contributions of German Jesuits to the early Sonoran region. He has served for two decades as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), and on the boards of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association and national AATG. Dr. Classen has received numerous teaching awards, including the Five Star Faculty Award (2009), and for his service as Director of Undergraduate Studies (2014 and 2015). In 2012 Dr. Classen was named Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Arizona.

Christine Coe
Phoenix
Intel Corporation, Director, Enterprise Hosting

Christine Coe is currently the Director of Enterprise Hosting at Intel Corporation where she leads a global infrastructure organization. She has been with Intel for 21 years in a variety of positions including Marketing/Event Management, Communications, Project/Program Management, Operations, and Leadership. She is a passionate problem-solver and champion for accessibility and equality. Originally from Kansas, Christine relocated to Arizona from Oregon. She resides in Phoenix with her husband and two dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, baseball, travel and exploring her new home state of Arizona. B.A. Degree in Communications, University of Kansas. Project Management Professional Certificate, the Program Management Institute (PMI).

Dr. Alain-Philippe Durand
Tucson
Dorrance Dean of the College of Humanities, University of Arizona

Alain-Philippe Durand is Dorrance Dean of the College of Humanities, Professor of French, Honors College Distinguished Fellow, and affiliated faculty in Africana Studies, Latin American Studies, and LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona. His research interests include French and Brazilian literatures, French Cinema, Hip-Hop, and the promotion of the Humanities disciplines in the professions. He is the author and editor of four books: Black, Blanc, Beur. Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World; A Techno World. New Electronic Spaces in the French Novel of the 1980s and 1990s (preface by Marc Augé, published in French); Novels of the Contemporary Extreme (co-edited with Naomi Mandel), and Frédéric Beigbeder and his doubles (published in French). He is Associate Editor of the journal of Contemporary French Civilization. The French Government awarded Durand the Palmes Académiques. The University of Arizona awarded Durand the Five Star Faculty Award, the Richard Ruiz Diversity Leadership Faculty Award, and the African American Community Council’s Distinguished Faculty Award. The French publication France-Amérique named him among its list of fifty French talents living in the United States.

Dr. Tanae Morrison
Laveen
CEO of Morrison Education Group, Inc. / Sun Valley Charter School

Dr. Tanae Morrison is an educational change agent. An Arizona native hailing from Tucson, she is the CEO of Morrison Education Group, Inc. dba Sun Valley Charter School founded in 2009. Dr. Morrison saw that students at Sun Valley Charter School in the Laveen/South Mountain community were being underserved. She believed that students in a high-need area could learn when given the right tools, love, and support. Dr. Morrison employs a diverse group of passionate educators. The Morrison Education Group is now extending its reach through a new campus project to improve academic outcomes for more than 750 young scholars, and employ over 50 faculty and staff, to positively impact the local community. Dr. Morrison is a respected member of the Phoenix business community, and active member of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, an international service organization, involved in community outreach through Pilgrim Rest Foundation. B.A. degree in Sociology, M.A. degree in Educational Psychology, M.A. degree in Educational Leadership, and PhD in Educational Leadership.

 

Dr. Almira Poudrier
Mesa
Principal Lecturer, Arizona State University

Dr. Almira Poudrier is principal lecturer in the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University. Her research includes Greek history and religion, particularly the material culture of religious space and cult described in Herodotus. A specialist in teaching first-year Latin, Dr. Poudrier teaches several lower division Latin courses, courses in ancient Greek and Roman language, myth, culture, the classical tradition, and comparative literature. Dr. Poudrier is faculty sponsor of the Classics Club, directs the annual Fall Forum in Classics, and international poster contest at the SILC Language Fair. She is Vice-President of the Central Arizona Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, which brings national and international scholars to the Valley for lectures on archaeology and material culture. She organizes the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) Medieval Latin Research Group and leads weekly reading sessions in translating medieval and Renaissance Latin authors. In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching futuristic science fiction and space opera, and hiking in the desert with her dog.

Joe Ray
Scottsdale
Creative Director/President, Maximo Branding

Joe Ray is Creative Director/President of Maximo Branding in Scottsdale, a creative collective and consultancy specializing in branding and strategic design with expertise in engaging multicultural audiences. Ray has integrated marketing campaigns for U.S. Latino and mainstream audiences. Ray is a visual artist and has been actively involved in the Phoenix arts scene for over 30 years, including as an artist member of Xico: arte y cultura, an arts organization focused on nourishing a greater appreciation of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Latinx and Indigenous people of the Americas through the arts. His artwork has been featured in exhibitions and publications throughout the U.S. and Mexico. He serves on the board of Phoenix One Foundation, dedicated to supporting the needs of the students and families in Phoenix Elementary School District #1 beyond the classroom. Ray is a proud alum of ASU. B.A. of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Arizona State University.

Natalia Ronceria Ceballos
Phoenix
Founder, La NRC

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Natalia Ronceria Ceballos has studied and worked throughout the U.S. and abroad. Natalia is the founder of La NRC, a consulting firm which connects nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals to the resources and education they need via bilingual facilitation, coaching, and training. Her areas of expertise include Intercultural Competency, Strategic Planning, Community Engagement & Outreach, DEI, & Leadership Development. She comes from a diverse family of artists and entrepreneurs, and believes in the importance of hard work, creativity, giving back, and staying true to what makes you passionately curious – while of course having fun. Natalia was honored in 2014, 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40, and in 2015, the Sparxx Fly Pillar of Strength Award, and 2020, Athena Award Nominee. Natalia is proud to be a member of the Valley Leadership Class 40. Creating positive change locally, nationally, and globally is her fuel. B.A. degree in Communication & Culture, Clark University. MBA, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

Martin Stamat
Page
Executive Director, Glen Canyon Conservancy

Martin Stamat has worked in and on public lands for the past 10 years. In his current role as Executive Director of Glen Canyon Conservancy, he oversees a philanthropic nonprofit that educates visitors to public lands in northern Arizona and southern Utah including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Before his current role, Martin worked in the Glen Canyon River corridor as a daily river guide on the Colorado River. B.A. of Fine Arts, Appalachian State University of Boone, NC. He lives and works in Page, AZ, where he is frequently outside on the public lands he loves.

Crys Waddell
Phoenix
Chief Operating Officer/Creative Strategist, Hustle PHX

Crys Waddell is the Creative Strategist/ Chief Operating Officer at Hustle PHX. Hustle PHX is a non-profit that serves under-resourced areas in Arizona by providing intellectual, social, and financial capital to entrepreneurs. She is Vice Chairperson of the Arts and Culture Commission for the City of Phoenix. The Commission promotes the importance and value of arts and culture experiences for Phoenix residents. Crys Waddell is a servant leader and creative change agent. She has used this talent in community-building projects that have transformed marginalized communities. She is a member of the African American Women’s Empowerment Giving Circle, of the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI) of the Arizona Community Foundation. The BPI advances equity, health, education, leadership, and social justice for African Americans in Arizona. She is a mixed media artist who shares her artistic talents volunteering across Arizona and throughout the U.S. B.A. degree in Theater Arts and Dance, California State University of Los Angeles.