Board of Directors
An advocate for music education, Irene co-founded the Massachusetts All-State Treble Chorus, served on the editorial board for the Massachusetts Music Educator’s Journal, and is a board member for Choral Arts New England. Originally from Bangalore, India, Irene pursued music education at Gordon College and earned a master’s degree from the Hartt School of Music. Outside her professional work, Irene enjoys reading, traveling, and attempting to recreate her family’s South Indian recipes.
GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter Bijon Watson’s career as a musician and educator spans more than 30 years and has taken him around the globe to perform for audiences worldwide.
Bijon plays lead trumpet for the GRAMMY®-nominated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the GRAMMY®-winning John Daversa Progressive Big Band, the GRAMMY®-winning John Beasley’s Monkestra, and many other jazz, salsa, and pop bands throughout the United States. Most recently, in 2022, as co-leader with pianist/composer Steven Feifke, Bijon can be heard showcasing his talents not only on lead trumpet but as a featured soloist with their GRAMMY® Award-winning Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra.
Bijon’s recording and/or live performance credits include Natalie Cole, Michael Bublé, Justin Timberlake, Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall, Michael Jackson, Arturo Sandoval, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Nicholas Payton, Rosemary Clooney, Jamiroquai, Prince, Barbara Morrison, Dianne Reeves, Nancy Wilson, Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan, Luis Miguel, Enrique Iglesias, The Temptations, and Gladys Knight. On television, Bijon has performed on episodes of “American Idol”, “The Voice”, and “The Tonight Show”, as well as Grammy Awards shows, The BET Music Awards, and“Dancing With The Stars”.
Bijon’s film appearances include appearing in the award-winning film “La La Land” and recording on several soundtracks with studios such as Paramount, Fox, and Disney, including “Epic”, “Despicable Me 2”, and “The Secret Life of Pets”.
As a classically trained musician, Bijon has had the opportunity to perform as a guest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Los Angeles Opera, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony. A dedicated educator, Bijon is a sought-after clinician who gives master classes and clinics to colleges, and high schools throughout the United States, and Europe, as well as maintaining a private lesson studio.
Linda Nathan was the founding principal of Boston Arts Academy, the city’s first public high school for the visual and performing arts and the co-director of Fenway High School, one of the first Pilot Schools in Boston. She also founded the Tobin Bilingual Middle School for the Arts. Additionally, Linda founded three distinct non-profits (El Pueblo Nuevo, Center for Collaborative Education, Center for Artistry and Scholarship) which focused on arts advocacy and youth development, systemic education reform and creativity. She was the co-founder and co-director of the Perrone Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership which has prepared over one hundred educators for leadership roles in schools and nonprofits.
She currently works as a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Cambridge College, Puerto Rico, where she teaches courses in designing democratic schools and organizational change. She brings her four decades of experience in creating and leading schools and nonprofits to her classroom and mentorship.
Linda is the author of two widely praised books: The Hardest Questions Aren’t on the Test and When Grit Isn’t Enough and she is the co-editor of a forthcoming open access book Designing Schools and Democratic Learning Environments: A Global Perspective.
Dr. Nathan holds a Doctor of Education degree from Harvard University, Master’s degrees from Emerson College and Antioch University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Janie Victoria Ward is Professor Emerita, Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts where she was Chair of the Departments of Education, and Africana Studies. She holds a Masters degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology and a Doctorate in Human Development from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has published five books, along with many book chapters and articles. Along with teaching courses on educational psychology, her courses have also focused on the history, culture and traditions of people in the African diaspora, including music and the creative arts.
Jeremy Cohen is a composer, percussionist and entrepreneur. He is a Remo-sponsored artist and founder of ThisWorldMusic, which for over 10 years specialized in award-winning, music-and-dance study abroad programs in West Africa and Cuba. His music has been performed at Yoshi’s (Oakland, CA), New England Conservatory and WPI, and he has presented workshops at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Sarah Lawrence College.
A passionate educator, Mr. Cohen worked for many years with incarcerated youth through the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. He sat on the Young Audiences of Massachusetts Board of Directors, and consulted for The School District of Philadelphia. Currently he oversees the jazz ensembles at Worcester State University.
He holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley and the New England Conservatory, and studied traditional music and dance in Ghana and Cuba.