Ekpedeme AkpanDirector of Human Resources Administration
Peg BirkInterim Executive Director Administration
Interim Executive Director
Birk is the founder and CEO of Interim Solutions, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm that works with foundations, non-profit organizations and associations undergoing management and organizational changes. She partners with boards of directors, staff and stakeholders to maximize leadership transitions.
Birk brings to her change management expertise the executive experience as executive director for the George Family Foundation; interim president for the McKnight Foundation; interim president of the Forum for Theological Exploration; Transitional General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; co-executive director of the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation, interim executive director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and Interim CEO of Sholom Community Alliance.
Prior to founding Interim Solutions, Birk was senior vice president and general counsel for Federated Insurance; city attorney for the City of St. Paul; general counsel for AIG’s U.S. insurance business; and senior government affairs counsel and senior corporate counsel for The St. Paul Companies. She holds a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Houston. She is a certified Somatic Coach through the Strozzi Institute.
Birk’s civic engagement includes serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Global Rights for Women board of directors. She previously served on the McKnight Foundation board of directors, the Hamline University board of trustees, the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation board of directors, the International Alliance of Executive Women, the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable board of directors and was co-chair of the Center for Religious Inquiry.
Thomas JohnstonInterim Director of Finance Administration
Lon LamprechtExecutive Assistant Administration
Pam PaulsonDirector of Professional Development and Resources Administration
Director of Professional Development and Resources
Pamela Paulson, PhD, is one of the founding directors of the Perpich Center for Arts Education. In her position as director of professional development and resources, Paulson is responsible for all professional development and outreach programs at Perpich, providing advocacy and information for the state legislature; connecting with state and national arts and education organizations; heading administration of the statewide Perpich Library; and directing the State Policy Pilot Project.
Paulson is a Trustee of The College Board, Chairs the College Board Academic Council and is past chair of the Arts Academic Committee. She was on the Steering Committee of the College Board National Task Force for the Arts in Education. She is the Minnesota representative of SEADAE (State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education), on the Advisory Committee of the Arts Education Partnership and a member of the Leadership/Governance Team for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards.
Previously Paulson served as President of the National Dance Education Organization and the Minnesota Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (MN ASCD). Prior to her work at the Perpich Center she created and directed the dance program at Apple Valley High School and taught for seven years at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.
Peggy RaderCommunications Director Administration
Before coming to Perpich, Peggy Rader served in leadership communication positions at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, primarily in the College of Education and Human Development. Prior to that, she was a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers nationally. She began her career as a newspaper reporter, working at papers in New York, Ohio, Kansas and Seattle, WA.
Ahava Silkey-JonesSchool Director Administration
Ahava Silkey-Jones, a native of Northfield, MN, is an accomplished non-profit and education leader. She has a passion for building community through the arts locally and globally. She has worked to develop and implement high-quality arts programming, global education initiatives and innovative models for school improvement in Chicago, Boston and Newark. Ahava earned an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University.She comes to Perpich from the Newark Public Schools where she served as the Vice Principal for the Girls’ Academy of Newark. Prior to moving east Ahava was an integral component of the arts and education community in Chicago. In her role as the Director of Fine Arts for the University of Chicago Charter School she developed a thriving dance program; designed and led student performance and college tours; and facilitated collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Redmoon Theater, and the Logan Center for the Arts. She was recognized by the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute as Employee of the Year in 2013 for her extraordinary service, exemplary practice, and stellar results.Ahava is committed to working on system-level education initiatives, building school and community partnerships, and improving access to quality arts programming. She is the co-founder of a non-profit organization, the Professional Theatre and Dance Youth Academy, which provides performing arts programming for schools in under-resourced communities. Ahava is excited to return to Minnesota, champion the vision of the Perpich Center for Arts Education, and embrace the students, families, and staff of the Arts High School.