Our Staff


Jan Nadav, MSS, LCSW, Founding Executive Director, has decades worth of experience as a therapist, group facilitator, and program director working with diverse populations in wide variety of educational, therapeutic, and community arts settings.  She trained with Michael White, one of the creators of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, and went on to publish articles and supervise clinicians in this innovative approach to counseling and community work. She brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding in the areas of intergroup work, emotional intelligence and empathy development. Jan has a private practice at Newport Street Retreat in Denver, CO where she provides counseling and coaching for people in transitional stages such as emerging young adults and women in midlife — helping to uncover the hidden genius within.

Jan is passionate about using the arts and music as a catalyst for community collaboration and perceptual change. She was the Director of Education at Colorado’s Mizel Museum for five years, where she developed successful initiatives utilizing teaching artists in content-based learning. She was awarded a Colorado Creative Industries Grant in 2011 and the National Endowment of the Arts award in 2013 for her innovative work in high-need school communities. Jan has a Master’s degree in Social Work and Social Research from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.


Roger Ames, Master Teaching Artist/Mentor, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominee and a resident artist at the New Dramatists Playwrights Collective in New York City. He is an author, artist mentor, and composer who has written operas and musicals for American opera companies, off-Broadway theater, London Fringe, and the Hartford Stage of Connecticut. Roger’s pioneering work in education has brought him to school districts  throughout the United States, where he develops programs that engage students from grade school through graduate school to write their own musical theater and opera performances. He was the principal author of Music! Words! Opera! commissioned by Opera America; the curriculum helps teachers get out from behind their desks, and use principles of opera and music-theater to create interdisciplinary, experiential learning.

Roger was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Requiem for Our Time, a performance that sets Anne Sexton’s poetry to music. His musical How Green Was My Valley, written with Elizabeth Bassine, was recently produced as a concert by the Central City Opera and El Paso Opera. The Oratorio Society of Minnesota recently partnered with Roger and writer Elizabeth Bassine to create a multimedia evening‐length production for actors, chorus, orchestra, and film entitled The Greatest Generation. Roger worked in Europe for many years as a composer, opera coach, and conductor. For six years he served as chairman of music theater at The University of Hartford’s The Hartt School. Most recently, he was composer-in-residence and director of vocal music at Great Neck North High School, New York.

Visit Roger’s Website

Brian Laidlaw

Brian Laidlaw, Master Teaching Artist/Mentor, is a poet-songwriter currently working toward a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Denver. He has released books and albums with a variety of publishers and record labels, most recently THE STUNTMAN (Milkweed Editions, 2015) and THE MIRRORMAKER (Milkweed Editions, 2018), as well as the forthcoming SUMMER ERR (Mount Vision Press, 2019.) Brian has served as a songwriting consultant on multiple Grammy-winning and Grammy-nominated albums and continues to tour nationally as a folksinger. He also co-founded Unrestricted Interest, an organization that provides poetry and songwriting mentorship to children and adults on the Autism Spectrum, and frequently collaborates with the Department of Public Transformation to offer music and creative writing workshops in rural areas.

Visit Brian’s Website


Scott Kinnamon, Mentor to Film Interns, is a Denver-based filmmaker, educator, and artist, is the founder of the Young Filmmakers Workshop, a project of the Denver Film Society. The workshop is Colorado’s premiere film education program for teens. Scott will mentor and advise CCSI’s film interns.

Visit Scott's Website
More about Scott!


Dona Laurita, CommonChord Project Documentarian, is a Fine Art photographer who has been exhibited in reputable galleries throughout Colorado and beyond for the past 30 years. Dona had a Fine Art gallery in Old Town Louisville and is now a curator and a studio artist at Eldorado Arts Center. She has also facilitated dozens of Artist-In-Residence programs and along with Jan Nadav, was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for "Stories Matter", a residency in a turn-around school in Aurora, CO. Dona has photographed thousands special events, as well as births, deaths, and every rite of passage in between. 

Visit Dona's Website


wisdom we love

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

- Victor Hugo