Staff

Sandra Ruppert – Director

Sandra Ruppert is Director of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), which is part of the Council of Chief State School Officers, a Washington DC-based nonprofit and nonpartisan membership organization representing the top leaders of state education agencies. Sandra leads AEP’s national network of 100+ organizations dedicated to ensuring every young person in America receives a complete and competitive education that includes the arts. She is responsible for the design and development of AEP’s ArtsEdSearch.org, the nation’s first digital research and policy clearinghouse of educational outcomes associated with learning in and through the arts.  Sandra is also the author of numerous AEP publications, including A Snapshot of State Policies for Arts Education (2014), What School Leaders Can Do to Increase Arts Education (2011) and Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement (2006). Prior to her appointment as AEP Director in June 2008, she was a Program Director with the Education Commission of the States, a Denver-based national nonprofit organization that advises state policymakers on education issues. While at ECS, she directed the Arts in Education Initiative of ECS Chairman, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Sandra holds a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. Sandra can be reached at Sandra.Ruppert@ccsso.org.

Laura Johnson – Senior Associate, Communications and Partnership

Laura Johnson is a seasoned executive who’s devoted a professional lifetime to organizations that inspire and improve the lives of children. With 20 years experience, she has led major press and community outreach campaigns, launched new products and exhibit openings and spearheaded fundraising initiatives for world class organizations including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, March of Dimes, McDonald’s Co-op of Greater Baltimore and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Most recently, Laura served as the Director of Field Services for the March of Dimes Foundation in Georgia where she oversaw marketing communications and fundraising promotions for the nation’s nonprofit leader in pregnancy wellness and infant health. Prior to this, Laura held the role of Vice President of Public Relations and Community Affairs at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra where she coordinated international press relations for the BSO’s 2005 European Tour spanning seven countries and directed the historic press campaign announcing Maestra Marin Alsop as the nation’s first female director of a major symphony orchestra. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Hofstra University. She can be reached at Laura.Johnson@ccsso.org.

Scott Jones - Senior Associate, Research and Policy

Scott D. Jones joins AEP after four years with the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) where he served as the project coordinator, managing the development of one of the largest data sets on arts education outcomes. In addition to his work with SNAAP, Scott served as an Adjunct Instructor in the Arts Management Program, housed in the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) where he taught arts education policy and served as the chair of the Bloomington Community Arts Commission.  Before joining SNAAP, Scott worked as an arts administrator and educator with various arts organizations including Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, Indiana. He holds an MA in Arts Administration from Indiana University, a BA in music education and vocal performance from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and studied public affairs at Indiana University. Scott can be reached at Scott.Jones@ccsso.org.

Emily Edens – Program Associate, Research and Policy

Before joining the AEP team, Emily Edens spent three years working for Congressman Tom Cole, first as a Legislative Correspondent and then as a Legislative Assistant. She focused primarily on education issues in her role as a Legislative Assistant, where she researched legislation, monitored policy updates, and met with school administrators, teachers, students, and others in the education field. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Emily interned with a small lobbying firm and for Congressman Cole. A native Oklahoman, Emily moved to Washington, D.C. to attend American University. She graduated from the School of Public Affairs with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a certificate in Women, Politics, and Political Leadership. Emily can be reached at Emily.Edens@ccsso.org.

Mary Addie – Program Assistant

Mary Addie joined AEP in 2011 as the Administrative Assistant before becoming the Program Assistant in 2013. After graduating from James Madison University with her Bachelor of Music degree, she completed a Special Events internship at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. Mary also has experience in public radio, and volunteered regularly at WNRN in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mary is a classically trained pianist, and teaches private piano lessons on the weekends in northern Virginia. Mary can be reached at Mary.Addie@ccsso.org.