ede board of directors


Milner Seifert, President

Milner was choral director at Evanston Twp. H.S. for 34 years. In “retirement” he teaches church music and coordinates worship at Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary in Hyde Park. His first encounter with EDE was in 2009 when a friend invited his family to join her at a performance of Alice in Wonderland.

Melanie Wright, Vice-President

Melanie is passionate for education and the arts as well as coaching and career development. Professionally she has served in both admissions and career-coaching roles at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She previously was instrumental in rolling out career development programming before taking on the role of Director for the MSMS program at Kellogg School of Management.  Melanie currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Chiaravalle Montessori School in Evanston.

Lauren Biolsi, Secretary

As a former EDE dancer, Lauren decided to pursue a different path during college at Butler University and majored in English. She now works at a small marketing and tech consulting firm in the Chicago. 


Patty Acha, Treasurer

Patty was an actor and then an arts attorney. She has a Theatre degree from Northwestern, and a JD from Columbia University.

Melissa Dobbins MS, RDN, CDE

Melissa is an award-winning dietitian/nutritionist, media expert and the founder of Sound Bites® Inc.

Christina Ernst

Artistic Director of Evanston Dance Ensemble and a teacher at Dance Center Evanston since 1998, Christina also conducts workshops in collaboration with others integrating wellness and creativity.

Jenny Higgins

Jenny is a special educator and dance instructor. She has been on the board for almost 10 years and coordinates the Jump for Joy Outreach Program.

Faye Jacobs

A former occupational therapist and fitness instructor, Faye is the proud parent of an EDE alum. She has served on the EDE Board for the past decade while balancing her passions for photography, community service, family, and all things dance…especially the Evanston Dance Ensemble!


Ariel Orlov

Ariel is a parent of an EDE dancer, who just graduated, she works as a university library director, and has served on the EDE board since 2019.

Béa Rashid

Béa is the Founder to the Evanston Dance Ensemble and Director of Dance Center Evanston. Along with her husband  Steve Rashid, she runs the Studio5 Performing Arts Venue presenting professional music, dance and spoken word events.


Christie Robinson

Proud parent of two EDE alumni dancers, Christie has become progressively more involved in EDE costuming since 2006, balanced with communications and programming work at Skokie Public Library.

Sharon Robinson

Dr. Sharon Robinson is a pediatrician as well as a Physician Director of Primary Care at NorthShore University HealthSystem. She lives in Evanston with her husband, Keith, and her daughters, Taryn and Kari.


Regina Sant'Anna

Regina is the co-founder of Kombucha Brava, advisory council member of The James B. Moran Center for Justice, and  community member. 

Christopher Tirres

Chris teaches Religious Studies at DePaul University and is an EDE parent.  He has served on the board since 2017 and also volunteers with the Chicago-based Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants.