Neil R. Scheier, M.D, President of JAACA, is passionate about serving Rochester and, in particular, its underserved youth and families. Currently he also serves as Vice President of the Joseph Avenue Business Association, and has worked diligently to enhance the business and living climate in Rochester. He is a proud supporter of the arts, and believes that the creation of a performing arts center on Joseph Avenue is an important component of revitalization in such a historically and culturally rich neighborhood.
Scheier’s multidisciplinary background includes MA degrees in finance and economics, PhD studies in economics, and a M.D. from New York Medical College. In addition to practicing medicine for 30 years, he developed senior living centers in Upstate New York.
Scheier enjoys playing squash, photography, and spending time with his 6 children and 12 grandchildren.
William (Bill) J. Ferguson II, Vice President of JAACA, graduated with honors from The Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a B.A. in Dance with a concentration in Pedagog. A Principal company member since 1996, Bill joined Garth Fagan dance in 1989 and created many roles, most especially in “Moth Dreams”, “Life:Dark/Light” and “Dance Collage for Romie”. Bill retired from the concert stage in 2008. He has been an instructor at the Garth Fagan Dance School since 1990 and is Artistic Director & resident choreographer of the Garth Fagan Dance School Ensemble, choreographing over 15 dances and producing numerous performances for the Garth Fagan Dance Student ensemble since 2000. Since 2008 he has served as Executive Artistic Liaison for Garth Fagan Dance and as Personal Assistant to Garth Fagan.
Bill, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, is married to Nicolette Ferguson and father to William Donovan and Nicholas Lamond.
Darrin Brentnall has worked in the financial services industry for over 10 years, and is currently serving as Vice President, Commercial Services Officer at Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. A longtime resident of the Finger Lakes Region, Brentnall graduated from Newark High School and holds an MBA from the University of Rochester. He is invested in helping local businesses flourish, and is President of the Wayne County Business Association, in addition to serving on the JAACA board. Brentnall lives in Farmington with his family and their dog, Daisy.
Ned Corman has been a Rochester resident, effectively, since 1955, and holds degrees from Eastman School of Music and Penn State University. During his multifaceted career, Corman performed and recorded with Chuck Mangione, Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians, the Rochester Philharmonic, and others. A 35-year music educator, Corman taught in the Penfield Central School District for 25-plus years, where he pioneered their jazz program and founded the Penfield Music Commission Project. He also founded The Commission Project, Swing ‘n Jazz, and Rochester Independent Music Festival.
Corman has been a community activist for decades and sees his work with JAACA as a way to make Rochester an even better place to live and work. He is proudly married to artist and philanthropist, Linda Q. Corman.
Sherman Dickerson is a lifelong resident of Rochester, with a long history of devotion to families and community. The father of two sons, he currently works for General Motors. In addition to serving on the Board of the Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance, Sherman is President of the Joseph Avenue Business Association. He is the recipient of numerous entrepreneurship and community service awards.
Meredith Dragon became CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester in April of 2016. She served from 2009 to 2016 as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, and was the Assistant Director at the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville, FL for 13 years prior. During her time with Federation, Dragon has brought donors, agencies, synagogues, and institutions together for the greater good of the Jewish community. Enhancing the role of Federation in the Rochester community motivates her professionally and personally.
Dragon is married to Ze’ev and is the very proud mother of three boys, Matan, Ori and Etai.
Annette Ramos has devoted her career to ensuring equitable educational and artistic opportunities for Artists of Color. As a Bilingual Arts Educator and Advocate, Annette has long impacted the Rochester community through her work as Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company. Increasing opportunities for all artists of color, providing access to art resources and sustaining a platform to give voice to these stories is Annette’s life mission. She has a many year history of mentoring young artists as Actors, Playwrights, Directors and Theater Artists. Annette currently works as the Associate Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Rochester Broadway Theater League. She is an alumnus of the Leadership Institute of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture.
Christine L. Ridarsky is Rochester City Historian and Historical Services Consultant for the Rochester Public Library, where she manages the Local History & Genealogy Division. She says that she can't think of a better place to be living and working in public history than in Rochester, where abolitionist Frederick Douglass and woman suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony made their homes.
Some of Ridarsky’s fondest childhood memories are of going to the theater to see plays with her grandparents, researching the Underground Railroad for a National History Day project, and playing in her high school band. She is passionate about giving inner city children and families access to the same sorts of educational and cultural experiences that shaped her own personal development and sees her participation in the JAACA as a way to doing that.
Michael Rothman holds a BA and MA from the University of Rochester, and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. He served on faculty at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College for over thirty years. A 1961 graduate of Irondequoit High School, Rothman has deep roots in Rochester, where he was born and raised. He had his Bar Mitzvah at B’nai Israel, and fondly remembers the vitality of the Joseph Ave neighborhood during his childhood. Rothman looks forward to the JAACA’s restoration of the synagogue and the impact it will have on the surrounding community.