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. Simone most recently worked as a program manager with Richmond District Neighborhood Center, where she managed a staff of 14 and coordinated summer programming for 115 students with school officials at Lafayette Elementary School. Simone has also worked previously as a teaching artist with San Francisco Jazz in 2015, providing poetry-writing workshops alongside talented musicians. 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.
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
Sal is an aspiring musician, audio engineer, and record producer from South Jersey. In 2017, he founded Pink East Music Group LLC, a music production company that offers industry services to DIY creators, schools, and educational organizations. He currently works at the Theodore Presser Company, freelances as a multi-instrumentalist throughout New Jersey, and has interned at multiple recording studios in the Greater Philadelphia Area. He holds both a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry: Music Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Rowan University. There, he studied percussion instruments under Dean Witten. With years of experience instructing multiple award-winning percussion ensembles, Sal knows the benefits of music education first hand and is excited to find ways give youth access to the same opportunities he had.
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. 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.
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
Jake recently moved to Philadelphia by way of Massachusetts and is excited to be sharing his love of music with the city’s at-risk youth and teens. Jake earned a Bachelor’s in jazz bass performance from the University of the Arts, where he graduated in 2017 with honors. He went on to continue to study music – earning a master’s degree in Jazz Studies and Composition at the New England Conservatory in 2018. Through honest performance, education, and composition, Jake wants to help others explore the depths human experience as well.
Choral Ensemble Instructor
Jodie began her journey as a musician at the age of four, when she first began violin lessons. In 2012, Jodie earned her bachelors degree in music therapy at Temple University. Jodie’s teaching career began ten years ago, and she has taught violin, piano, guitar, voice, and theory. Jodie taught through the School of Music, R&M music studios, and Perelman Jewish Day School, and led the Carousel House Choir for two years. As a teacher, Jodie hopes to show her students that music is not a chore, but a beautiful journey of growth and dedication.
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.
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. In college, she moved to the east coast to attend the Contemporary Music Center. 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 topped the Philadelphia pop charts on Reverbnation, was a finalist for Rock on Philly Magazine’s Artist of the Year, won Best Song at the Akademia Music Awards, and was a finalist at The International Songwriting Competition for best song. In addition to her musical accolades, she is also a music journalist. 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.