About Us

Our Vision

We envision a public education system in Maryland that supports, cultivates, nurtures, and uplifts ALL students’ creativity through a robust arts education experience so that they can thrive in a healthy society.

Our Mission

AEMS is committed to ensuring that all students in the state of Maryland have access to high quality arts education by mobilizing power to communities through advocacy programs, professional and leadership programs, and resource building and sharing.

Our Values


We believe that the community is the most important part of our advocacy efforts. We want to illuminate and highlight the power communities have to make systemic changes.


We believe that creativity is critical for humans to thrive. It is what makes humans human.

Racial Equity

We understand the history and impact of educational policies on our most historically resilient communities and we commit to addressing this through our work. Our work is rooted in anti-racism and we believe that arts education can be a tool to create systemic change within education.


We believe that growth is the most important aspect of learning. We are invested in the growth of our constituents, board, and staff through professional and leadership development.

AEMS’s Approach

Our Staff

Quanice Floyd, Executive Director

Quanice G. Floyd is a renaissance woman who wears many capes. Born and raised in NYC, she has spent over a decade in Washington, DC where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Howard University and Kent State University respectively. Her passion for arts administration led her to pursue her second Master’s degree in Arts Management at American University and is currently a doctoral student at Drexel University. Quanice is coming to AEMS after previously serving as the Director of Learning and Leadership Development at the National Guild for Community Arts Education. She is also the Founder & Director of the Arts Administrators of Color (AAC) Network, an organization committed to empowering artists and arts administrators by advocating for access, diversity, inclusion, and equity in the arts in the DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas. She has also been a public-school music educator where she taught elementary and middle school general music, chorus, band, and orchestra. Quanice serves as a commissioner for the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, a member of the National Teaching Artist Advisory Committee, and is an alumna of Fractured Atlas’ Artist Campaign School, the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s Leadership Institute (CAELI), ArtEquity’s Racial Facilitator Cohort, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Educators and Arts Administrators Academy, 4.0 Schools’ Essentials Program, and the Arts Education Collaborative’s Leadership Academy. In 2018, Quanice received the Americans for the Arts’ American Express Emerging Leader Award.

Rachel McGrain, Development Director

Rachel McGrain received Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Trumpet Performance and History from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she was a Banneker-Key Scholar. She was president of the Gamma Epsilon chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society and Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2013, she joined Teach for America and began her teaching career at KASA in West Baltimore. In addition to teaching 7th and 8th grade math, she served as the middle school track coach and 8th grade team leader while earning her Master of Science in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. Frustrated by the lack of consistent arts programming offered to her students, Rachel started a brand new instrumental music program in 2016 at Green Street Academy where she taught 7th grade general music and band as well as several after-school programs including bucket band, wind band, and drumline. Rachel’s passion for equitable access to high quality arts education continues to drive her work at AEMS and as a volunteer instructor with the after-school band program at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. She is also an active volunteer with Jews United for Justice.

Peter Dayton, Programs & Operations Manager

Composer and pianist Peter Dayton has been a member of the AEMS team since November, 2018. An Ohioan happily transplanted to Maryland, Peter earned a Bachelor’s Degree (Summa Cum Laude, Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society) from Vanderbilt University majoring in Composition/Theory and minoring in English. He received his Master’s in Composition from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and has lived in Baltimore ever since. In addition to his academic pursuits, Peter has been active in LGBT+ charity fundraising and has organized and promoted events devoted to identity-based inclusivity and social justice. Peter’s compositional exploits have taken him all over the United States, to Europe, Hong Kong, and Perú. He has composed works for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, and a short chamber opera about Gertrude Stein. Peter actively produces concerts of modern and contemporary music for the general public. Peter is honored to contribute his organizational, promotional, and artistic abilities to AEMS’s efforts to make Maryland a world-class example of well-funded and supported arts education programs. Peter also enjoys playing jazz standards in his spare time.

Kate Lynch, Special Projects Manager

Kate Lynch is a Baltimore-based social impact professional and life-long lover of the arts. She is committed to serving changemaker organizations that prioritize equity and community. Kate recognizes that the arts are essential to a healthy, vibrant, and engaged society and is particularly interested in the intersection of art, activism, and community-building. Kate is a Baltimore Corps Fellow alum and an ensemble member at Single Carrot Theatre

FY21 Board Members

  • Lyn Frankel, Chair, Arts Education Advocate
  • Brian Sullam, Co-Vice Chair, Editorial Manager, T. Rowe Price (Retired)
  • Jane Coffey, Co-Vice Chair, Director of Development, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
  • Kristin Cox, Manager of Quality Control for Gas & Electric Programs, Baltimore Gas & Electric
  • Christine Dietze, Treasurer, Chief Operating Officer, The Baltimore Museum of Art
  • Martin Knott, Secretary, President & CEO, Knott Mechnical, Inc.
  • Carole R. Alexander, Carole R. Alexander Consulting
  • Christen Cromwell, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Nigel-Ray Garcia, BaltimoreCorps
  • Anita Lambert, Prince George’s County Public Schools
  • Mary Ann E. Mears, Artist, Arts Advocate, AEMS Founder
  • Veronica Thomas, Associate Professor of Marketing, Towson University
  • Danita Beck Wickwire, Senior Associate Director of Principal Gifts, Johns Hopkins University

FY21 Educator Council

  • Steven Barker, Theatre & Media Arts, Montgomery County
  • Natalie Estelle, Visual Art, Baltimore City
  • JoAnne Foster, Media Arts, Prince George’s County 
  • Kayla Harley, Dance, Media Arts & Theatre, Prince George’s County
  • Julian Lazarus, Theatre & Arts Integration, Montgomery County
  • Sarah Lorek, Vocal Music, St. Mary’s County
  • Robert Miller, Instrumental Music, Howard County
  • Emily Moul, Dance, Anne Arundel County
  • Elizabeth Palmer, Instrumental Music, Prince George’s County
  • Kelly Reymann, Elementary Music & Theatre, Frederick County
  • Danni Schmitt, Instrumental Music, Baltimore City
  • Maria Sunick, Visual Art, Frederick County
  • Kristen Tyler, Dance, Queen Anne’s County
  • Karen Zepp, Instrumental Music, Howard County

FY21 AEMS Ambassadors

  • Sarah Edelsburg, Community Art Collaborative AmeriCorps Program Manager, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
  • Anand Macherla, Ecosystem Associate, SurgeBaltimore 
  • Ashlee McKinnon, Freelance Dance Educator, Arts Administrator, and Consultant
  • Jen Retterer, Orchestra Director, Lake Elkhorn Middle School in Howard County
  • April Ryan, Art Teacher, George Washington Carver Elementary School in St. Mary’s County 
  • Marci Shegogue, Music Director and Board President for The Free Theatre, Collaborative Accompanist at Montgomery County Public Schools, Music Director for Free Range Humans and Interfaith Families Project, freelance musician
  • Gerrod Williamson, Student Leadership Specialist, Center for Social Concern at Johns Hopkins University
  • Paulette Wilson, Social Media Specialist, University of Maryland, Baltimore 

AEMS’s Founding

In response to growing concern about the diminishing quality and equity of access to arts education in Maryland’s public schools, the Maryland State Arts Council, in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, formed Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) in June 1992. Several beliefs inspired this effort: the importance of cultural literacy in teaching and learning; the arts’ intrinsic value in childhood development; and the ability to enhance learning and create positive school environments. AEMS incorporated as a 501(c)(3) Maryland non-profit organization in November 1997.

AEMS’s Organizational Structure

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