Founding Executive Director
Jessica (McKay) Craft founded Rock to the Future in 2010 after working for Janney Montgomery Scott, a prestigious investment firm in Philadelphia. Jessica studied music through public school as a child starting with violin, saxophone, and clarinet in her early years, then percussion in high school. She believes in the power of music to change lives. A Temple University graduate with a degree in Business Administration and Economics, Jessica has been featured in the New York Times and named a Local Leader at the PA Conference for Women, among other awards. In 2014, Jessica completed the Nonprofit Executive Leadership certificate program and the Designing Leadership series in 2017.
Her past volunteer work includes being a big sister through Big Brother, Big Sister, working with Habitat for Humanity, teaching drums at Girls Rock Philly youth and adult camps, and organizing community benefit events. She is also currently the drummer for Philadelphia band Conversations, who opened for The Beach Boys in 2014.
Joshua is a Philadelphia-based songwriter and music instructor who has been teaching music for over fifteen years. He has taught for Paul Green’s School of Rock, Farrington’s Music, Major Music, and privately. Because of his love of teaching and dedication to Rock to the Future, he worked his first two years at RTTF on a completely volunteer basis. From arranging music for weekly band rehearsals to teaching music business and songwriting, Josh is always ready to encourage, support, and inspire young creative minds. He has written songs for notable local bands such as The Bee Team, Conversations with Enemies, and many more. He combines his love of and talent for music with his love of teaching to encourage the success of students at Rock to the Future.
Katie is the Development Director at Rock to the Future and has been with the organization since 2012. A thoughtful strategist with superior leadership and communications skills, Katie brings her 11 years of nonprofit experience to the team as well as a passion for mission-driven work that makes an impact. After graduating from Penn State University in 2006 with a B.A. in Journalism, Katie completed a two-year term of national community service with AmeriCorps, where she was named a ‘Member of Excellence’ by her peers in 2008. Katie most recently worked as a Policy Analyst at the Clean Air Council in Philadelphia from 2008-2012, where she funded and coordinated projects to implement sound state and federal clean air policies while increasing community awareness through events, earned media, and community outreach. As a singer/songwriter herself and the lead vocalist for local band You Do You, Katie is passionate about increasing access to the arts for underserved youth in Philadelphia.
Outreach & Development Assistant
Alison joined Rock to the Future in the fall of 2017. She has a BFA in Film and Video from the School of Visual Arts and an ALM in Museum Studies from the Harvard University Extension School. Before relocating to Philly, she worked as the Education and Outreach Coordinator at the List Visual Art Center in Cambridge and as the Communication Coordinator and Assistant Curator for VAEFF NYC. She also works as a Garden Guide at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and as a visual artist. Alison passionate about accessibility in the arts, and is thrilled to join Rock to the Future as they share the magic of music education with the next generation of Philly musicians!
Simone is a youth development professional with experience working with students of all ages. She is from California, loves to read novels, and is a certified yoga instructor. Simone’s approach to her work is that treating each student with respect and care will help their inner light shine! It is radical to teach our young people profound self-respect, and through her work in arts education Simone has worked to promote this ideal.
Meri began her career as an artist at Temple University, where she graduated with a B.F.A. in dance and choreography. After leaving the dance world to pursue her passion for music, she worked in administrative positions for various arts nonprofits and lent her skills as a volunteer with Girls Rock Philly. She currently plays guitar in Great Weights, Cult Objects, and Yarrow, and has had her music featured in New Noise Magazine, The Deli, Substream Magazine, The Key, and Spark Mag.
Julia Rainer is a musician, songwriter, performer, producer, and advocate born and raised in South Philadelphia. In 2017, she graduated from The University of the Arts with a Bachelors of Science in Music Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology, receiving awards for high academic achievement. She has worked directly with youth from Philadelphia’s underserved communities since 2004, leading classrooms in a diversity of settings such as a long term residential addiction treatment center, community after school programs, and in South Philadelphia’s largest public housing site. Julia was introduced to Rock to the Future when she facilitated a partnership between the organization and fellow Philly music nonprofit, Weathervane Music, where she currently serves as the Community Director. She is committed to working for equity in issues of economics, race, gender, sexuality, and accessibility. She firmly believes in the power of music to help young people discover their identity, their community, and a strong sense of self.
A graduate of Temple University, began her career in Philadelphia working for the acclaimed hit-makers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International Records. After an unforgettable two years at PIR filled with event planning and office management, she accepted a position with Greater Philadelphia Marketing Corporation, now Visit Philadelphia, to manage to their multicultural branding campaign, Philly 360®. There, she conducted celebrity interviews with artists like Robin Thicke and Chrisette Michele, developed web content and maintained relationships with local organizations like The Recording Academy. After realizing her passion for music education, she moved on to work as a Site Manager for Play On, Philly! for 2 years. Today, Kyleen is all about pursuing her true passion—being a performing artist and using art to help others become the best version of themselves!
Kaamilah serves as the academic leader for Rock to the Future’s after-school program at Roosevelt Elementary. Prior to this role, Kaamilah volunteered at the MusiCore after-school program in North Philadelphia before helping to launch RTTF’s newest expansion in Germantown. These volunteer efforts along with other partnerships and collaborations were achieved through her own community service organization, the HLA Foundation – where she serves as Executive Director, which aims to work with underserved youth both domestically and internationally. Kaamilah has a background in career development and strategic management and works with CEOs, C-suite teams and Fortune 500 companies on their hiring directives, company-wide initiatives, and corporate social responsibility projects. Kaamilah holds both a B.A. and MBA from Florida A&M University
Creative Workshop Instructor
Natalie is a graduate of Berklee College of Music where she studied songwriting and guitar performance. She has many years of experience teaching private music lessons focused on the unique needs of each student, keeping them engaged and energized with songs of their choice while emphasizing the foundational techniques needed to master their instrument. As an artist she has used music as a platform for community building and social change, investing much time and energy building bridges between music education and the healing power of song, predominantly within communities in which oppression and marginalization have limited access to creative opportunities. With a strong desire to make music accessible to all, Natalie launched The SONG Project in 2009 which uses songwriting to empower folks who have been marginalized by poverty, trauma and violence to tell their stories of oppression and resilience in creative and transformative ways. Natalie also spent time serving as the Director of the Thea Bowman Women’s Center in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia native Will Wright is best known for his energetic teaching style, excellent musicianship, and professionalism. He is an excellent organist, keyboardist, and trumpet player, versatile in all styles of music. Will has shared the stage with greats such as Bobby Watson, Ingrid Jenson, Oliver Lake, Bernard Purdie, and Cecil Bridgewater, just to name a few. Will started his music studies at the Philadelphia Clef Club and the Governors School for the Arts, where he received the Louis Armstrong Jazz Trumpet Award. He has attended schools like Manhattan School of Music and New School University. Will has performed in the US as well as overseas in Germany. Upon his return, from 2006 to 2016, he began to teach at the Philadelphia Clef Club, where he received the Berklee Pulse Master Teacher Award. He is currently working and teaching in the Shelby County Area.
Rock to the Future’s teaching artists have a range of musical and teaching experiences, but all are extremely talented and highly skilled musicians. Trained formally and playing various genres of music, they have performed live and on studio recordings with numerous bands.
Bass Guitar Instructor
Piano, Vocal, and Choral Ensemble Instructor
Barron Lacy is from Upper Darby, PA. Having studied music from a young age, he continued his music studies after graduating high school and obtained his B.A. in Music Education with a piano concentration from Cairn University. The transformative power of music to inspire and enrich the lives of others, especailly in the lives of youth, is a deep passion for Barron. In addition to teaching at Rock to the Future, he has been a music teacher in the School District of Philadelphia since 2014.
Ready for the Future Club Instructor
An alumni of the MusiCore Kensington program, Cheyenne has returned to Rock to the Future to prepare students for academic success in high school, and help students get ready to graduate.
Adam has been a drum instructor for more than 10 years, and he is starting his fifth year with Rock to the Future. He has a B.S. in Music Industry from Drexel University and has previously worked as a live sound engineer and recording engineer for venues and studios such as The Trocadero in Philadelphia and BBKings in NYC. He lends his talents to many local bands and currently plays drums for Reverend Mantis, Head Flip, and The Last Barbarians. He is also a singer / songwriter for The Towering Pine.
Band Support and Guitar Instructor
Victoria was born and raised in San Diego, California. Coming from a musical family, she had a love for music from the very beginning, and wasted no time developing her musical passions. Though a California girl at heart, her gypsy intuition led her all over the US and abroad. In college, she moved to the east coast to attend the Contemporary Music Center, a by-invitation artist colony, at which she acquired further skills in live performance, studio work, and songwriting. After a stint in Nashville, she moved to Philadelphia to play bass for Talain Rayne and guitar for Element K. Victoria now tours full time, both as a solo artist and the front woman of her full band show. She has been featured on Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5 and Delaware’s WSTW 93.7, as well as countless podcasts and publications. She has topped the Philadelphia pop charts on Reverbnation and was also one of Rock on Philly Magazine’s finalists for artist of the year. Her songs have achieved recognition as well, both with Akademia, winning “Best Song” for her single “Long Way to Go,” and with The International Songwriting Competition as a finalist for best song. In addition to her musical accolades, she is also a music journalist who has been published in Elephant Journal, Rock on Philly Magazine, Unfolding Destiny, M Pire Mag, and writes countless articles for her own music blog. Furthermore, Victoria is an experienced instructor teaching ages six to 60+ in a variety of regions throughout the country.
In addition to Rock to the Future’s program and administrative staff, we work with a variety of featured teaching artists and substitute teachers that teach instrumental lessons. We are also supported by over 25 volunteers who assist with program volunteering (tutoring, music, mentoring), committees, and administrative support.