Jerry Butler received a MS Degree in Art Education form Jackson State University. He moved to Madison, Wisconsin as a middle school teacher and attended the University of
Wisconsin where he received a MFA, MSLA and PhD Degrees. Butler also attended
Harvard University’s Summer Institute for Transformational Leadership in Education.
Butler served as a K12 art teacher for the Madison Metropolitan School District for many
years before becoming an Associate Dean at Madison College in Madison Wisconsin.
He served on the Kennedy Center Arts Alliance Network Board and was on the faculty at Central Connecticut State University where he created public art works in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas and Connecticut. Butler is the owner of Arts and Design Works LLC., of Madison.
Marie Justice was born in California, raised in Illinois, and is now enjoying life in Wisconsin’s capital city and loves her adopted home. When she’s not with her four children or working on social justice films with her husband Johnny, she's in front of the camera as a host with the Discover Wisconsin crew or, can be found on stage acting or directing in Madison’s local theater scene. But her passion is social justice and producing films that focus on changing the way people interact and care for one another through her production company, Justice&Justice Productions.
Rachel Erickson has worked with nonprofits for over 15 years, focusing her efforts on social justice, racial equity, and education. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology at B.Y.U., where she developed a love of world cultures. She has coached refugees, military veterans, and recent immigrants in beginning new careers. After moving to Wisconsin in 2013, she joined the Boys and Girls’ Club of Dane County on their education team. She tutors under-represented high school students in core subjects, as well as managing a program budget and tracking the metrics necessary for grant funding. Rachel considers it a privilege to be in the high school, listening to Black, Asian, and Latino youth discuss racial trauma and restorative justice. Rachel has developed a deep appreciation for how art can help people cope with stress, heal from trauma, and construct an identity. Rachel loves getting messy doing art projects or going to the playground with her two children, Owen and Adelle.
Rachel Owen-Erickson, Treasurer
Jerry Butler, Vice President
Alexis Dean, Secretary
Marie Justice, President
Alexis is an educator and a hip hop artist who has devoted his life to children. He is proud of his work as a black educator in a system where black faces are not typically leading classrooms.
He began his worked with toddlers at UW-Milwaukee's childcare center as a college freshman and went on to become an award-winning MMSD Americorp member. He worked in the Madison schools until Covid 19 forced him to begin a new career path. In his work as a hip hop artist, #dreamsstartyoung, Alexis composes music with strong messages for children of color and leads workshops in which he leads hard conversations about racism and other issues that are hard to navigate for the young.
Nicole Wetzel is a teacher at the Goodman Community Center serving both the preschool and after school programs as support staff. Nicole has taught theater basic classes to 1st through 5th graders and also teaches knitting to several groups at Goodman. She believes that building strong community is the basis for strong teaching and is passionate about seeking out resources that celebrate the diversity of our world and incorporating those resources into her teaching. Nicole participated in The Neighborhood Organizing Institute sponsored by the Madison City Council which provided tools and training for grassroots organizing in my neighborhood and larger community. Nicole holds a BA in teaching from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI.
Nicole Wetzel, Curriculum