Our Staff Members
Our Staff Members
Esther Netter is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Zimmer Children’s Museum. As Founder, Esther developed a community of supporters and contributing artists, the Museum’s Board of Directors, initial funders and a revenue strategy to support the growing fledgling institution. As the museum expanded its reach over time, Esther launched youTHink, a California arts education initiative which uses the power of art to foster critical thinking, engage diverse learners, promote literacy and serve as a tool for social change. With the creation of the youTHink arts education outreach programming, the museum’s reach extended from birth through high school.
Esther graduated UCLA with her BA and earned her Master’s degree in Education from the JTS in New York. Esther’s graduate research and thesis focused on “synectics,” an approach to creativity and problem-solving. Esther’s work has built on the knowledge that the creative process can be taught and encouraged. She currently lectures and teaches about museum education, informal education and creativity in North America, Europe, and Israel.
Childhood hero: My grandfather, Rabbi Marcus Breger
Belinda received a BA in Sociology and a BA in Studio Art with a minor in Digital Arts from the University of California, Irvine, and continues to study Early Childhood Education at East Los Angeles Community College. Previously, she has worked as a Program Coordinator at the UCI Cross-Cultural Center and as an elementary after-school teacher in the Mountain View School District where she created and facilitated arts-integrated programs.
Belinda has also volunteered with the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center and with the Tuesday Night Project, an art+community space in downtown Little Tokyo. She is a freelance graphic designer and has her own line of stationary. Belinda is particularly committed to creating programs for underserved communities and creating access for young children to learn about the world around them through creative and interactive play.
Childhood hero: Sailor Moon, Martha Stewart, and my mom
Sasha received a BA in fine art from the University of California, Santa Barbara. However, she started her art education at the age of eight and continued taking art classes at Pasadena Art Center while attending Fairfax High School Visual Arts Magnet.
During her stay at UCSB she participated in several group art shows and was head curator of the 2009 Undergraduate Art Show in which she also exhibited her work. She has been a yearly muralist at the Pasadena Chalk Festival since 2005 and interned with the Light Bringer Project, a non-profit arts organization. She continues to make art and exhibits her work whenever she gets a chance. An alumni of the Zimmer’s arts education outreach program, youTHink, Sasha loves sharing her enthusiasm for art with children and families here at the Zimmer.
Childhood hero: Darkwing Duck
Sara was born in Incheon, South Korea and moved to the U.S. when she was four years old. She grew up in central California and lived a very plain life until she came across a book called “People” by Peter Spier in the third grade that changed her life forever.
With a curious spirit and passion to learn more about the world, she continued to get her B.A. in both Anthropology and Communication at the University of California, San Diego and lived and studied in India for a year. After graduation, she returned back to South Korea to teach at Eton House International School, a Reggio-Emilia inspired school that focuses on the individual child and his/ her self-guided learning. She is a life-long learner who is always looking for her next adventure.
Childhood hero: Mr. Rogers, Heidi
A lifelong artist, performer and teacher, Ana was raised in Puerto Rico where she attended a Specialized Art High School and earned a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Special Education and Dance Education from the University of Puerto Rico.
The daughter of a preschool director, she grew up immersed in Early Childhood Education and by age 15 was teaching dance and early childhood classes herself. During her college years she developed arts integration programs where art and dance were used as tools to help kids learn math and science.
Since moving to L.A., she has worked as a private tutor, freelance early childhood and arts instructor and a professional makeup artist.
Dominic was born in Marion, Ohio. As a child he lived in various parts of Ohio including Bowling Green, where he later attended college. While at Bowling Green he discovered his passion for Theatre and Art.
His work in the Bowling Green International Studies Department allowed him to study abroad in New Zealand. He later received his B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. After graduation he became actively involved in the Chicago Theatre scene.
He spent his days working as an administrator for various Chicago Theaters, and his nights as a stage actor. Having had enough of the cold Chicago weather, he decided to uproot and move to sunny Los Angeles.
Childhood hero: Han Solo, Batman, Bob Ross
Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Luis is a self-taught musician playing guitar by age fifteen. In his early career, Luis toured with various bands throughout Latin America and the U.S. East Coast. Between 2001 and 2012, as founding member and lead vocalist for Nayas, the group received nominations for various awards including, “Best Latin Duo/Group” and “Best Latin Vocalists” by Washington Area Music Association.
While living in Washington, D.C., Luis developed a following providing music and play programs as Creative Director at the Blue Igloo Playgroup, several school events, festivals and private parties. Now in Los Angeles,
Luis continues to teach music classes to young children and performs original and traditional bilingual English and Spanish favorites at venues throughout the city.
Development & Communications
Christy’s job is to help ensure the financial sustainability of the museum and youTHink programs by effectively communicating with and seeking funds from foundations, corporations and individuals.
Prior to this role, Christy was a consultant with a focus on non-profit fundraising, marketing, and project and event management. Previously, Christy directed marketing and programs for the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), international programs for the Marshall School of Business at USC and communications for the ENPC School of Management in Paris, France.
Christy earned an MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business in 2004 and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arizona.
Stef is the Communications Associate and Graphic Designer at the Zimmer Children’s Museum. She is responsible for the execution of all communication projects through visual and textual content while maintaining the Zimmer message and branding.
Stef was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena with a BFA degree in Graphic Design, concentrating in print and branding. This intensified her highly detail-oriented nature (in other words, it fed her OCD). Her work was published in Art Center’s catalogue and also displayed in the college’s gallery and website.
Stef’s interest in art at a young age was heavily influenced by her mother, who studied Fashion Design. Now, in her free time, Stef likes to sew clothes and make a variety of handmade items. She also has a passion for singing and all sorts of adorable little animals.
Childhood hero: Her God-Grandmother, Patricia Wilson, and her mother, Irene Sung.
Amy Shapiro is the Managing Director of the Zimmer Children’s Museum. Amy is a nonprofit executive with extensive administrative, fundraising and event management experience. Prior to the Zimmer, Amy served as Executive Director, Advancement & Operation at P.S. ARTS, where she provided professional fundraising leadership by overseeing and taking an active role in the activities of the advancement team in coordinating continued development of a diverse base of contributors, enabling the organization to meet programming and financial goals.
While in this role, Amy was also responsible for overseeing all administrative, financial and human resources functions, and enhancing the internal organization processes and infrastructure to allow for effective and efficient fulfillment of the organization’s mission. Prior to joining P.S. ARTS in 2001, Amy, who has a background in special education, was a High School Program Manager for Best Buddies of California, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with developmental disabilities.
Amy graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. of Science in 2000 and in 2006 she earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration, with an emphasis on Non-Profit Management, from the University of Southern California.
Amy currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Westside Food Bank, an organization that annually distributes more than a million pounds of food to social services agencies, shelters and food pantries across West Los Angeles.
Hannah is originally from Southern Illinois. She graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin where she received her BA in Modern Languages, specializing in Japanese. She also has a minor in Anthropology.
After graduating, she made her move out west and began a year of service with City Year Los Angeles as an AmeriCorps tutor and mentor at a middle school in Boyle Heights. Inspired by her students, she has continued finding ways to empower children through education.
She has since worked with two different literacy-focused organizations, Reading to Kids and Ready, Set, Read. At both organizations, she engaged volunteers and provided students and parents with much needed resources in schools across the area. Some of her hobbies include crocheting, hiking, and cooking.
Ed was born in Ohio but spent most of his childhood in Columbia, Maryland. Defying his parents’ wishes for him to become an engineer, he received a B.A. in Communication from Stanford University and was hired by legendary low-budget movie producer Roger Corman as a production assistant and assistant director.
Ed then worked as an assistant and development executive to film producer Harry Gittes for 16 years, working on such films as About Schmidtand The Girl Next Door. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Museum Studies from John Hopkins University and hopes someday to have a career as a collections manager at a museum or studio archive. His hobbies include seeing lots of movies, collecting DVDs, and frequently attending rock concerts and music festivals.
Childhood hero: James Cameron
Finance & HR Staff
Christine Barber is the Director of Finance and HR. In her native United Kingdom, she received a BA in Business Administration and a Master’s in Psychology and was employed in HR Management, prior to travelling to the U.S. on an extended vacation.
When she chanced on employment with the New Zealand Embassy, her ‘vacation’ trip to the US became permanent residency. Based in Los Angeles, she was employed to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination to Americans.
After several years of this fun lifestyle she decided it was time to join the American workforce. She obtained Certificates in both HR Management and Accountancy at UCLA and has been employed in non-profit management and worked for the Zimmer for many years. In addition to the UK and US, Christine has lived in Spain and New Zealand and traveled through much of the world. Exploring foreign lands and foreign cultures is an on-going passion and is only curtailed by work and financial restrictions.
Childhood hero: None. She was too busy playing.
Adult hero: Nelson Mandela
Jennifer was born and raised in Los Angeles. While taking general education classes in college, she began working at a local non-profit where she provided administrative support for both the Finance and Development departments.
She decided to pursue other options and returned to school to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development. For eight years, she worked with another local non-profit overseeing their programs in theraputic massage services for terminally and critically ill men, women and children. Most recently, Jennifer decided it was time for another change and began working with the Zimmer as the Accounting & HR Coordinator.
When she’s not at work, she enjoys riding her bike and spending time with her daughter.
Kaila is from the southeast, born and raised in Georgia. She moved to Los Angeles most recently from New Orleans, Louisiana, and loves living on the West Coast. She received a BS in Science, Technology, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and previously worked as a Volunteer Coordinator at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
She is super excited to get the Los Angeles community involved here at the Zimmer! Kaila is a certified yoga teacher (for both children and adults) and a former cheese monger. You can find Kaila hunting for fresh veggies at one of the many L.A. Farmer’s Markets or adventuring to new restaurants around town.
Childhood hero: Dolly Parton
Tasha Johnson was born and bred in Sacramento, California. She attended college at Grambling State University in Louisiana earning her BA in English. Always up for an adventure, she moved to Washington DC where she worked in politics for a while before discovering she wanted to effect change in another way through teaching.
After teaching 7th grade English for 5 years, she and her family moved back to California. Tasha’s passion for youth continues both as a mom of 3 adorable boys and now as the School Services Coordinator of youTHink. When she’s not working, she enjoys riding bikes on the beach, reading and dancing to old school hip-hop.
Childhood hero: My brother, Autroy Graves stood tall above buildings and when he picked me up it felt like I was flying high in the sky.
Julia is an educator, facilitator, community artist, and theater maker. Her work sits at the intersection of the arts and social justice and she strives to promote dialogue through artistic processes in educational and community settings. Before joining youTHink in 2014, Julia worked as a teaching artist in New York and previously, as the Project Manager of The Thousand Kites Project at Appalshop in Whitesburg, KY, using film, theater, and radio to impact criminal justice policy on local and national levels. Julia’s independent theater work includes Theater of the Oppressed Forum Theater, Theater-in-Education, and community-based theater projects. She was a 2012 Create Change Professional Development Fellow with the Laundromat Project. Julia received her BA in Social Science from the University of Michigan, and her MA in Applied Theater from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.
Childhood hero: Her Parents. And Peter Pan.
Y. Isabel Gonzalez received BA’s in Political Science and Spanish Studies while minoring in International Relations from Mount St. Mary’s College in 2009. Her dedication to working with educational/youth service programs stem from an early age as she grew up in South Los Angeles and experienced firsthand the need for educational/youth mentoring support within her own community and neighboring communities.
After working for various years within the nonprofit sector for organizations that serviced people in need; Isabel joined youTHink’s staff in the summer of 2014. Isabel welcomes the opportunity to serve as a mentor, role model and friend to the young adults that youTHink and the Zimmer work with as they acquire the skills to be community leaders that can bring positive social change within their neighborhoods and the world.