FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Jessica Baron is a lifelong acoustic guitarist, singer and songwriter who began teaching guitar in junior high school and has never stopped. Trained as a music educator, child development specialist and counselor, Jess has devoted the past decade to launching and nurturing Guitars in the Classroom. Before that, she taught music full time in public schools for several years. During the 90?s, she taught middle and high school human development at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. She has authored seven books all related to music instruction (if you are interested, please look up the SmartStart Guitar series online). She has also written countless magazine and online articles on childhood musicality and creativity. Her book for parents, YOUR MUSICAL CHILD: Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps (String Letter Publishing, 2004) helps parents nurture their children’s innate musicality as part of helping them develop well-rounded interests and balanced lives. Jess and her son, Eli, relocated from Santa Cruz to the San Diego area in 2006 where she now directs Guitars in the Classroom, leads GITC classes, fusses over small animals and appreciates the warm weather and the beautiful ocean. She fulfills the role on the board of Secretary.
For more about Jessica, visit JessicaBaron.com
Art Harvey is the Director of Marketing and Sales for OnBoard Research Corporation, the innovative maker of Intellitouch, CenterPitch Tuners, and Beatnik Rhythm Analyzers. As the father of two small children, he is passionate about ensuring all children have the opportunity to be exposed to and learn from music. Art is an inventor and a self-described “perpetual guitar student”. He holds a BSEE from LSU, and a MBA from SMU. His past assignments include IBM, Dallas Semiconductor, and Maxim Integrated Products. When he’s not working, Art enjoys running, rock climbing, playing guitar, and chasing his two toddlers.
Since 1974 John Unger has had the good fortune to work in the music business. 1974-1988 he held various positions in the retail record business in Chicago. 1989 he joined Guitar Center and now serve as the Director of Treasury. Previous positions in Operations and Finance gave him the opportunity to see and manage various aspects of the musical instrument business. For many years he has headed up the Guitar Center Charity Team whose mission is to support music education programs. He knows firsthand the challenges faced by music education programs and how important are programs like GITC. John has worked for many years to help organizations overcome the obstacles to keeping music alive. His education includes a BA from Princeton University and a MBA from the University of Chicago.
VICE PRESIDENT, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Anna Ress is a lifelong musician, a violinist and all-around music junkie. A writer and strategist specializing in campaigns, branding, leader communication, public relations and media relations, Anna is heading up our board marketing committee . By bringing music into the classrooms, GITC blends two of her greatest passions: learning at all ages, and the power of music to connect people. Currently Anna serves as a Corporate Communications Manager for Intuit, Inc. In addition to her work with Guitars in the Classroom, she volunteers with international humanitarian organizations and educational programs in her own community. Her music blog,Grab Me by the Ears, features artist interviews, concert reviews and other music news. Anna and her husband, Harry Finkel (GITC Counsel) are the proud parents of two wonderful young children.
Janet Godin works with her husband, Robert Godin who founded Godin Guitars over 40 years ago. Based in Montreal, Quebec, Godin Guitars has 5 factories in Quebec and 1 factory in New Hampshire with over 600 employees crafting acoustic and electric guitars under the brands: Godin, Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Norman, Art & Lutherie, and La Patrie.
With a degree in early childhood education, Janet taught briefly before moving into a career in association management working for a chamber of commerce in Downers Grove, Illinois which led to a ten year stint at NAMM as Director of Membership Services. Janet left NAMM to follow her heart to Canada and has been working at Godin Guitars for the past 15 years. During this time, she has also served on NAMM’s Board of Directors. Her main role as an industry liaison at Godin is to review applications and requests for charitable donations – opening the door to her association and support of Guitars in the Classroom.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
A self-described “old Folkie from the 60s”, Joan now serves on the GITC Board of Directors as our director of education. She is a singer/songwriter/educator who used her guitar and music to teach across the curriculum for over 3 decades in her public school classrooms. Now retired, she loves teaching for GITC because it combines three of the things she is passionate about, music, teaching and learning. She is teaching GITC classes on Hilton Head Island, SC and near Savannah, GA. Learn more Joan and get free downloads of some of her songs atwww.joanmaute.com.
DIRECTOR OF FUNDRAISING AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Judy Roberts, while experienced with many years and in many types of business, sales and marketing, has been a professional musician for almost 4 decades. With degrees in business, it was a 2006 lung cancer (non-smoker) diagnosis that sparked her actions to merge her business acumen and contacts in the music industry to deploy the powers of each to the benefit of cancer research and it’s fundraising functions. Judy serves as Executive Director for the non-profit Creative Arts as a Global Resource (CAGR), a project of the International Council for Caring Communities in collaboration with the United Nations.
Judy lives in the Boston area with her son and works in concert promotion locally and regionally. Her music performance experience is in classical, but her music work is in the jazz genre working with many nationally known artists. Her commitment to GITC is symmetrical to her loyalty to merging music with medicine: inculcating music into various medical settings and events to benefit others, change the “tone” of environments, and with gratefulness, make an impact on many…..
DIRECTOR AT LARGE, COUNSEL TO THE BOARD
Harry started out life as a musician and continues to play actively. He was previously a successful entrepreneur in the recording studio industry and has a substantial legal and business background in entertainment and commercial transactions, licensing, trademark and copyright issues. In addition to his private practice and work with GITC, he serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster kids in L.A. County and a panel attorney with California Lawyers for the Arts. Our board relies on Harry for his level-headed, humane and well-informed guidance.