NewBridge Staff

John Carmichael

Executive Director

In September 2013, John Carmichael became the second Executive Director of NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology (“NewBridge”).  John is responsible for expanding NewBridge’s influence in Northeast Ohio and nationally and leading NewBridge’s efforts to provide state-of-the-art, after-school arts programming to urban high school students and market-driven, vocational job training for unemployed and underemployed adults.

John spent most of his professional career at one of the country’s top 20 banks, M&T Bank in Buffalo, NY where he was Vice President for Community Outreach.  John played a number of critical roles during his 20-year tenure with the Bank, including leadership of a unique private-public partnership with the Westminster Community Charter School and the Buffalo Public School District.  He served as Westminster’s CEO and led its transformation from being among the lowest to one of the highest-performing schools in Buffalo while also creating a financially self-sustaining, stand-alone school.

As Director of the Westminster and M&T Bank Charitable Foundations, he was also responsible for heading the Bank’s largest charitable initiatives to support urban education and communities and families in need.

John was also instrumental in obtaining a $12 million Federal Promise Neighborhood grant to significantly benefit children from cradle to college and their families and acted as the Chief Operating Officer for the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood.  The Buffalo Promise Neighborhood not only received the highest score awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, but also was one of only five communities selected from among 350 applicants from across the country.

John attended Cornell University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in French and Spanish and an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Management.


kts_WebKaren Thompson-Shaheen

Chief Program and Operations Officer

Karen Thompson-Shaheen oversees staff, curriculum, and NewBridge’s new facility in Cleveland.

Before joining NewBridge, Karen was a consultant on staff with the Cobalt Group, where she worked with the firm’s educational and workforce projects. In that role, she oversaw the design and evaluation of Family Academy, a joint venture between the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Third Federal Savings Foundation designed to support children’s readiness to learn, support families, and improve referrals among CMSD and other community-based organizations.

Prior to her work as a consultant, Karen worked at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where she worked closely with the dean and other leaders to develop the school’s new undergraduate curriculum and to develop plans for a major academic and commercial research center, among other projects.

Karen holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry from John Carroll University and a master’s degree in art history in museum studies from Case Western Reserve University.


Cynthia Hill

Director of Adult Programs

Cynthia Y. Hill oversees staff, curriculum development, of the Adult Programs at NewBridge facility in Cleveland Ohio.

Prior to coming to NewBridge Cynthia was Allied Health Instructor for JobCorps, where she focused on instructor support, curriculum development, professional development, and the expansion of the components Allied Health training programs. While with JobCorps, Cynthia also successfully implemented training modules, in the areas of professional development, Allied Health, and Electronic Health Records. During her tenure with the Department of Labor Cynthia also served as program chair in the capacity of Subject Matter Expert for testing development with the National Healthcareers Association (NHA).

Cynthia previously was an adjunct staff instructor for Cuyahoga Community College in the Health Careers Department. Cynthia has extensive management and clinical laboratory experience that spans both military and civilian sectors

Cynthia is a decorated veteran of the United States Armed Forces where she proudly served in the Medical Units. Cynthia earned her bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory medicine from the course studies in the United State Air Force, and earned her master’s degree in project management form Jones International University.


John Miyazawa

Studio Coordinator & Instructor, Ceramics

John Miyazawa is a professional potter.

John comes to NewBridge from Pittsburgh, where he worked with the Learner-Centered Arts Integration Program led by Pittsburgh public schools and Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild.  The project connects teaching artists from Manchester with schoolteachers to introduce and integrate more art into curriculum to deepen students’ understanding.

John is a graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., where he spent summers as an apprentice to local potter Scott Shaefer and retired Earlham art professor Mitsuo Kakutani. After graduation, Junji spent three years in Japan, where he lived and worked with an esteemed potter and visited many of the famous Japanese pottery villages, including Bizen, Iga, Shigaraki, Hagi, Karatsu, and Mashiko.


Robert Banks

Instructor, Photography and Film/Video

Robert is an experimental filmmaker, freelance cinematographer, and teacher.

Robert’s best known work is his 1992 short film “X: The Baby Cinema,” which chronicled the commercial appropriation of the image of Malcolm X.  His 1994 feature documentary film, “You Can’t Get a Piece of Mind,” explored the world of Cleveland musician and Vietnam veteran Dan “Supie T” Theman.  His films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and Banks was named Filmmaker of the Year at the Midwest Filmmakers Conference in 2001.

Since 2006, Robert has been teaching, filming corporate training videos, and assisting with all aspects of cinematography for other filmmakers and clients throughout the country. He also has shot several feature-length films.

Banks attended the Cleveland School of the Arts, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio School of Broadcasting and Cleveland State University.   He also served one term overseas in the U.S. Air Force.  He has taught film and photography at Cuyahoga Community College, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and Cleveland State University.