board of director bios

Laura Altshul, Vice President

Laura Altshul is a retired educator who now spends time tutoring; she is also a trained community mediator. Laura has been a member of the Music Haven board since 2013, and also serves on other non-profit boards in the New Haven community. In addition to writing stories and essays, she turned seriously to writing poetry five years ago; Searching for the Northern Lights was published by Antrim House in 2015, following which she was a featured poet in the SCTV television series “Speaking of Poetry.” Her second book, Bodies Passing, was published in 2017. She and her husband, Victor, also a poet, live in New Haven; they have seven children between them, and eleven grandchildren.


Diane Ariker

Diane Ariker is a management consultant specializing in human resources and organization development. She was formerly the Associate Manager of Training and Development at Yale and Director of Student Services at the Yale School of Management. Diane has served on numerous boards and committees in the New Haven community including Women’s Health Research at Yale, Business Volunteers for the Arts, All Our Kin, Read to Grow and the Community Foundation Fund for Women and Girls. She joined the Music Haven board in 2011.


Lygia Davenport

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Lygia Davenport is a proud mother of three current Music Haven students, (plus one former and one future student!). Originally from New York City, she graduated from Deerfield Academy, obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College, and later earned a Master’s Degree in Education prior to moving to New Haven. She currently works in a New Haven public school educating and mentoring students, and prides herself on volunteerism. 


Anna Garsten, Secretary

Anna Garsten is a lawyer specializing in contract and commercial law; she is also a verified music junkie – as a cellist, pianist and singer in various chamber and other groups and a concertgoer of music of all kinds. She has been a board member of Music Haven since 2012 and previously served on the boards of Creative Arts Workshop, Volunteers Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts and the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra. Anna also has experience working in arts administration, through her time at The Celebrity Series of Boston. She is an avid trail runner and hiker and a fan of anything related to the woods, the mountains and the water; Anna currently serves on North Haven’s Inlands and Wetlands Commission.


Stephanie Halene

Stephanie is a German native who played viola in international youth orchestras and, most recently, the Yale Medical School Orchestra. She discovered Music Haven through her daughters’ time at John C. Daniels, a downtown magnet school. She holds a brown belt in Sanuces jiu-jitsu, raises bees and chickens in the backyard and is a physician scientist in Hematology at Yale.


Lawrence Harris, Treasurer

Larry retired after a long career in the investment management industry. These days, he devotes his time to making music (he is a pianist) and to Music Haven whose board he joined in 2015, and where he serves as Treasurer.


Sarah Heath

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Sarah has been active in the arts in New Haven since the 1970’s, and has worked as an artist and musician in after school programs in the city public schools. She has also run a private piano studio for hundreds of children, and she taught general music and coordinated instrumental lessons at The Foote School for nearly twenty years. An avid performer and choral singer, she served on the Hamden Arts Commission for six years, is currently a member of the Yale Alumni Chorus and is the President of the Yale Glee Club Associates. Her interest in setting high goals for students comes in part from her late mother, a Kodály music specialist in the New Haven schools, who was often heard to ask, “for our students, why not the best?” Sarah has watched Music Haven grow from the very beginning, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute whatever she can to its success.


Marc Mann, President

Marc practices Internal Medicine in the North Haven/Hamden area and is a devoted amateur violist. He is a proud founding board member of Music Haven. Marc is principal violist of the Yale Medical Symphony, a member of the New Haven Chamber Orchestra, and a frequent participant in chamber music gatherings and workshops near and far. He and Margaret have lived in Hamden since 1983 and share interests in music, swimming, travel, and photography.


Wendy Marans

Wendy is a speech pathologist working with children with a range of communication disabilities. In her nonworking life, she is learning to play the cello (something she should have taken up much sooner), and she is a story teller, a quilter, and a lover of the arts, for themselves and as a bridge to community building.


Jamillaah Roberson

Jamillaah will be a proud graduate of Albertus Magnus College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management in May and is looking forward to pursuing her Master’s in the fall of 2018. She is proud to be the parent of a fourth-year cello student at Music Haven and is even more proud of the progress that he has made while at Music Haven, along with the growth and success of Music Haven. She has no musical background but she has a love for music. She always enjoys the concerts of the Haven String Quartet. She thinks the students and teachers of Music Haven are very passionate about, and devoted to, their musical talents, and she really enjoys the excellence that is poured into each lesson and performance. She thinks Music Haven is a great program, and everything it has to offer makes her very proud to be a part of the Music Haven family.


Kafi Rouse

Kafi is a 20-year mass communication veteran. Kafi believes music brings people together, and musical education and performance unites people across social, racial and economic divides. Kafi volunteers for Music Haven because it ensures opportunities to learn and perform are available to all.


Joseph Satin

Joseph Satin came to the board of Music Haven through his friendship with Larry Harris. Over the past 50 years, Joseph’s efforts have been focused in the areas of Power Engineering, Hospice Care and Geriatric Counseling. The opportunity to work with our young generation of New Haven musicians is really a treat.


John Taylor

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John is Executive Director at the Booker T. Washington Academy, a Connecticut State Department of Education High Quality School of Distinction and Category 1 ranked school, located in New Haven, CT.  John earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He also holds an Executive Leadership Certification in Strategic Design for Charter Schools from Harvard University. John has more than twenty years of classroom and school leadership experience.  Prior to Booker T. Washington Academy, John was the Founding Principal at Green Tech High Charter School in Albany, NY.  Green Tech is a single gender college prep high school created to focus exclusively on preparing males for college and career in a city where less than ten percent of black and Latino males graduate with a Regents Diploma. Under John’s leadership, Green Tech High School student performance on the New York State Regents exams in ELA, Math and Science exceeded state averages and 100% of Green Tech graduates were accepted into colleges or universities. Prior to coming to the Booker T. Washington Academy, John served as Executive Director of School Turnaround, a practice area of the Rensselaerville Institute.  John has also served as Vice President of Membership and Services for the Northeast Charter Schools Network, overseeing operations and working directly with charter schools to assess school performance and identify solutions to drive overall school improvement while increasing student achievement. Outside of the school setting, John is an avid boater and devoted father.


Clara Wilson-Hawken

Clara is a third-year PhD candidate in American Studies and African American Studies at Yale University, where she is writing a dissertation on the effects of race, gender, and class dynamics on the recording industry in the United States between 1930 and 1960. Clara grew up in Connecticut, and while in high school she volunteered as a “practice buddy” for Music Haven students, and returned to join the board in 2017 as a New Haven-based grad student. She loves both playing and listening to music and is deeply committed to Music Haven’s mission – she looks forward to watching the organization continue to grow and thrive.


Juliana Wilson

Julie Wilson is a former Wall Street executive, specializing in the sales and trading of International debt, specifically in Latin America. Working at large international banks including UBS and Cantor Fitzgerald. She has spent the last 15 years as a home parent and volunteer. While at Cantor Fitzgerald, Julie was on the founding, planning and implementation committee of the Emerging Markets Charity Ball for Children a large Emerging Markets industry event. She is an active event/fundraising participant with the Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation, in Jamestown, RI. In New Haven, she is a member of LEAP’s development committee, and works with the New Haven’s new boat house project. Julie was a very active member of the NYC Junior League, as a lead presenter of Health and Wellness topics to at-risk women’s groups.