Leadership & Staff

SAB Leadership

Jonathan Stafford*

Artistic Director

Jonathan Stafford began his ballet training at age 8 with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. After attending two summer courses at SAB, he enrolled full time in 1997. He joined New York City Ballet in 1999, was promoted to soloist in 2006 and principal dancer in 2007. Mr. Stafford joined SAB’s permanent faculty in 2007 and was named the School’s first Professional Placement Manager in 2015.

After retiring from dancing in 2014, Mr. Stafford served as Ballet Master for New York City Ballet. In 2017, he led New York City Ballet’s four-person interim artistic leadership team and was named Artistic Director of both New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet in February 2019.

Darla Hoover*

Chair of Faculty

Darla Hoover began her new role as the School of American Ballet’s Chair of Faculty in June 2022. Ms. Hoover started her ballet training at age 6 at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. After attending three SAB Summer Courses, she was invited to enroll as a full-time student in the fall of 1976. At George Balanchine’s invitation, Ms. Hoover joined New York City Ballet in 1980 where she danced for 12 years.  Ms. Hoover was named CPYB’s Associate Artistic Director in 1995 and rose to Artistic Director in 2019. Concurrently with her work at CPYB, Ms. Hoover joined the faculty of Ballet Academy East in 1996, rising to Associate Artistic Director in 2006, and Artistic Director of BAE’s Pre-Professional Division in 2014. Ms. Hoover is a recipient of the Marcia Dale Weary Legacy Award in recognition of her lifelong commitment to education in the arts, and 2021 she received a Congressional Commendation for outstanding public achievement in New York’s 12th Congressional District. Additionally, Ms. Hoover has been a répétiteur for The George Balanchine Trust since 1996, staging Balanchine works for leading dance companies in the U.S. and around the world.

Aesha Ash*

Associate Chair of Faculty

Aesha Ash assumed her new role as Associate Chair of Faculty at SAB in June 2022. Ms. Ash hails from Rochester, NY, and began dancing at age five at the Joyce Winters School of Dance. She began her pursuit of classical ballet at age 10 at the Draper Dance Theatre. Ms. Ash attended three Summer Courses at SAB before enrolling as a full-time student. She was the recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in 1996 and joined New York City Ballet later that year. After 7 years with NYCB, Ms. Ash joined Béjart Ballet Lausanne as a soloist.  She subsequently danced with Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Christopher Wheeldon’s Morphoses before retiring from performing in 2009. Ms. Ash served as a guest teacher at SAB’s 2016 and 2017 California Workshop for Young Dancers and during the 2017-2018 Winter Term. She was SAB’s Visiting Faculty Chair from September 2018 to July 2020, and joined the permanent faculty in September 2020.  Ms. Ash is  a founding member of SAB’s Alumni Advisory Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, and she continues to head The Swan Dreams Project, a not-for-profit she founded in 2009 whose mission is to dismantle stereotypes surrounding race, beauty and talent through imagery and programming.

Carrie W. Hinrichs

Executive Director

Carrie W. Hinrichs joined the School of American Ballet (SAB) as Executive Director in September 2017. She brings to SAB more than 20 years of experience in school administration and nonprofit fundraising, as well as a lifelong passion for ballet. Under her leadership, SAB has significantly strengthened its financial sustainability, increased it support of its talented students and dedicated faculty and staff, and continued to deepen SAB’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Ms. Hinrichs returned to SAB following five years as Director of Advancement at The Spence School, where she oversaw fundraising, alumnae relations, and school communications. Previously in her career, she served as SAB’s Director of Development and Planning, Director of Development for Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, and held fundraising positions at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the American Museum of Natural History. Ms. Hinrichs graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Politics, magna cum laude.

Permanent Faculty

Dena Abergel*

Marika Anderson*

Megan Fairchild*

Gonzalo Garcia*

Craig Hall*

Adam Hendrickson*

Arch Higgins*

Anthony Huxley*

Sterling Hyltin*

Megan Johnson*

Katrina Killian*

Lauren King*

Meagan Mann*

Kay Mazzo*

Allen Peiffer*

Susan Pilarre*

Suki Schorer

Andrew Scordato*

Sheryl Ware*

Marimba Gold-Watts


Dirk Hartog,

Weight Training

Phoebe Higgins*,


Aaron Severini*,


View Faculty Bios


Flora Arbitman

Kevin Carpenter

Sophie Chandler

Arkadiy Figlin

Sorin Frisan

Alice Hargrove

Bradley Harris

Maurizio Najt

Leo Shih

Artistic & Executive Administration

Hannah Federau,

Artistic Manager

Julia Sandke,

Artistic Assistant

Rachel Davis

Senior Manager of Operations, Executive & Board Affairs

L. Faith Lindsey,

Human Resources Director

Elise Drew León,

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Kristen Spencer

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Associate

Juan Hernaiz,

Senior Manager of Information Technology

Alexis Branagan,

Project Manager, Ballet Connoisseurship

Student Life

Sion Harrington,

Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs

Katy Vedder,

Director of Student Life for Children’s Division and Wellness Programming

Nate Guarino,

Assistant Director of Student Life for Residential and Transitional Programming

Lindsey Gainey,

Senior Manager of Student Life for Community and Programming Development

Satchel Henneman,

Residence Life Associate

Katharine Rygiel,

Residence Life Associate

Hope Sanders,

Residence Life Associate

Cameron Hancock,

Assistant Residence Hall Director

Allie Johnston,

Assistant Residence Hall Director

Sherrell Bush,

Student Life and Production Coordinator

Julia Price,

Receptionist and Testing Coordinator

Shao Peterson,

Little Dancers Coordinator

Joan Lantz,


Dr. Nicole Marcus,

School Psychologist

Heidi Skolnik,


Rebecca Alcosser,


Acanthus Fairley,


Adrienne Gregorek,

Physical Therapist

View bios for key Student Life Staff

Public Relations, Recruiting & Outreach

Amy Bordy,

Director of Public Relations, Recruiting and Outreach

Molly Baran,

Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

Heather Toner,

Director of Digital Content

Kathleen Woods,

Manager, Database and Information

Ellen Duddy,

Manager of Auditions and Outreach

Tess Brock,

Digital Content and Social Media Manager

Annalise Boese,

Marketing Coordinator, Website & Media Management


Kristen Barrett,

Director of Development

Barbra Silver,

Senior Director of Special Events and Corporate Sponsorships

Meredith Lee,

Senior Director of Institutional Relations and Gift Operations

L. Michelle Palmour,

Director Individual Giving

Alexandria Arbeitel,

Manager of Individual Giving

Gabrielle Bohrman,

Development Assistant, Institutional Giving

Hannah Ferguson,

Development Assistant, Individual Giving

Maddi Bitter,

Development Assistant, Special Events & Corporate Sponsorship

Emma Rishel,

Development Coordinator, Database & Operations

Nigel Finley,

Development Assistant, Individual Giving and Events

Finance & Information Technology

Naz Kamal,

Director of Finance

Janki Dave,

Associate Director of Finance

Sara Holmes,

Finance Associate

*SAB Alumna/Alumnus