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Dr. Nia Nunn

Executive Director/Curriculum Creator

Dr. Nia Nunn is a professor and poet. Creating curriculum, presenting arts programming for youth & offering performance lectures to people of all ages, the entire community is Dr. Nia’s classroom.  Nunn creates innovative curriculum for youth/artists/teachers to feel joy and a sense of belonging when they’re expressing and discovering themselves through art.

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Mr. Fe Nunn


After 42 years as a teacher and administrator in the Ithaca City School District, Mr. Fe Nunn knows what children from all backgrounds need to succeed.  He founded CUMEP in 2002 to "serve and uplift those from disadvantaged communities."  Now in retirement, Mr. Fe is able to focus more time on CUMEP and see how his vision of music for everyone has grown.

Dr. Baruch Whitehead

Co-Founder/Music Instructor

Dr. Baruch J. Whitehead is an associate professor of music education at Ithaca College and the founding director of the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Negro Spiritual. He also founded the Orff-Schulwerk certification program, a music education that views music as a basic system like language.  Dr. Whitehead founded CUMEP with Mr. Fe Nunn in 2002 as a way to put music in the hands of kids who may not be able to afford it otherwise.  Today, Dr. Whitehead spends time at CUMEP teaching music from the African diaspora, as well as music important to the African-American Tradition.


Daraisi Marte

Operations Manager

Ms, Daraisi has joined the leadership team of CUMEP and enjoys helping to ensure the program runs smoothly and safely.  She works closely with our teen counselors and makes sure everyone is having the best camp experience they can.


Shannon Frier

Operations Manager

Shannon Frier is a 4th grade teacher at Belle Sherman Elementary School and a 10-year veteran at CUMEP. You will find her smiling face greeting every family at the gate in the morning and running operations behind the scenes. Ms. Shannon loves to explore nature and considers herself a lifelong learner who enjoys reading in her backyard under the apple tree.


Jon Keefner

Production Manager

Jon Keefner has been a member of the CUMEP team since 2012, first as an Ithaca College student and later as an educator. He has taken on various roles at CUMEP from teaching drumming and modern band, to administrative work and video/audio editing. His favorite part of CUMEP is the love, joy, and creativity that emanates from every inch of the program and he cites CUMEP as his greatest influence as a now 10+ year public school educator.


Jacob Yale

Webmaster/Social Media Manager

Jacob has been part of the CUMEP family since 2014, and loves using his technology skills to help spread the CUMEP love.  When not working for CUMEP, Jacob is a teaching assistant in the Ithaca City Schools.  He provides technology support to teachers & students who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices like the ones he used as a young child.  Jacob is an advocate for social justice and disability rights.  He also enjoys creating with LEGOs, practicing American Sign Language (ASL) and exploring.

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Sharron Payne

Director of Nutrition

Sharon Payne loves CUMEP and the kids!  She has been heading the food program at Southside and CUMEP for nearly 4 years.  She loves seeing the kids smile as they eat her delicious food.  When not in the kitchen, Sharon enjoys spending time with her friends and enjoying her community.

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