Meet the Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy founders! 


Anya Dennis is a multidisciplinary educator and administrator with 20 years of experience as a teacher with specific expertise in the area of student-centered pedagogy and teacher training. As an educator, she has taught at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels across four continents and is adept at creating and implementing targeted literacy and art based educational programs for diverse student populations. She holds a bachelor's degree in English Education from Clark Atlanta University and a M.Ed. in Education Administration from Temple University. Her work in the field of education centers around literacy, youth advocacy, and international education. Her teacher-training expertise includes effective classroom management practices, differentiated instruction, technology-integration and cultural awareness through the arts. She has served as an Educational Administrator for the Superintendent of New York’s Alternative Education System and as an Educational Consultant for “Gear-Up". She launched and directed Temple University’s Literacy for Learning Program and directed the Education Through Arts Empowerment Program at Rice High School. Additionally, her international work includes co-founding the Abbiyi Adi Language Center in Ethiopia, and leading the Literacy through Dance Program in Seoul Korea. In 2017, Anya co-founded the Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy (HALA) and serves as the Director of School Programs and Professional Development.


Charmin Archer is an educator and curriculum writer with a passion for global literacy and youth empowerment through education and leadership. Over the past 19 years she has taught on the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels including teaching positions in Harlem, Ethiopia, the Caribbean and Michigan.  As a curriculum writer, she has created a series of “Untold History” curricula used both nationally and internationally to support students researching their family history and genealogy.  Charmin holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan in American Culture and Africana Studies and an MA in Elementary Education from the City College of New York. Charmin is a Kindergarten teacher at Mitchell Elementary School in Ann Arbor.  She is also the co-founder and Director of Curriculum and Content for the Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy (HALA) in Detroit, MI.  

Keisa Davis is a youth advocate with a commitment to community building projects that sustain vibrant empowered neighborhoods and foster economic, social and cultural equity. She has 20 years collective experience in the nonprofit, public and private sectors primarily in the fields of youth development and arts education. With a background ranging from MTV Networks to community based organizations she brings experience in stakeholder relations, event production, corporate social responsibility, and program development. Keisa has founded and administered a college transition scholarship program for first-generation college bound students that provided financial and retention support services to address gaps in college success. While in her community work she co-founded Recharge Youth Project, a two-year grassroots youth empowerment project with South Los Angeles teens. With the objective to create a safe space for youth leadership and cultural enrichment, the platform for youth-produced events hosted a 3-day youth festival, youth symposiums and seasonal open mics. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from Spelman College and a MA in Media Studies with a Youth Media focus from The New School University. Most recently in 2017, Keisa co-founded Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy and serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Initiatives.