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Circus Up Board Members

Circus Up Board Members


Co-Chair of the Board

Ayla Gavins was introduced to Circus Up through partnership work between Mission Hill School and Commonwealth Circus School. After seeing the work the staff did with students, experiencing elements of circus arts, and learning more about the vision of Circus Up, she was compelled to get more involved in the life of the organization...


Board Member

Euness Cirino is a Boston area educator who specializes in early childhood development and community well-being. With over a decade of nonprofit leadership experience, Euness currently works as a facilitator at Smart from the Start focusing on strengthening the parent-child relationship, school readiness, and equitable access to resources. In addition to her work supporting families throughout Boston's diverse communities...


Founder, Executive Director, Co-Chair of the Board

Leah Abel is Founder, Executive Director, and Head Coach of Circus Up, a Boston-based social circus organization. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Simmons College and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Leah additionally holds a master’s degree in Environmental Law and Policy.

Leah performs and teaches with Clowns Without Borders, which has sent her to Haiti, Palestine, Myanmar, Lebanon, and Texas.


Board Member

Lisa Thurau-Gray is Founder and Executive Director of Strategies for Youth, Inc., a non profit advocacy and training organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions. Working with Dr. Jeff Q. Bostic, Director of School Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Lisa built Strategies for Youth from the ground up without formal institutional or foundation support...


Board Member

Dr. Samuel L. Bradley, Jr. is an assistant professor of Macro practice at the Boston College School of Social Work. His research focus is on innovation and equity within organizations. Dr. Bradley is an accomplished musician, community activist, and administrator with extensive experience in fundraising and communications...


Board Member

Sarah Whitman is Assistant Director of the Technical Assistance Team at AnLar, a Washington, DC-based education management consulting firm where she works on educational and policy programs for district, state, and national projects. Sarah utilizes her background in research and data analysis to support systems thinking and the implementation of strategies at a large scale to improve student outcomes...


Board Member

Sheri Gurock is a facilitator and executive coach with over 18 years of experience in management, business development, brand development and change work. She started out as an entrepreneur founding Magic Beans with her husband in 2004 and helping grow it from a small startup to an award-winning toy and baby gear regional chain and website...


Board Member

Sophia Herscu graduated from Colorado College in 2011 with degrees in drama and sociology. She received a Watson Fellowship, which awarded her $25,000 to travel the world studying the ways different communities utilize circus pedagogy in order to work for social justice. She then went to professional aerial dance school in Boulder, Colorado...

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