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Board of Directors

Board members are unpaid volunteers who serve on the Board due to their passion for the school and its mission. Board members serve three-year terms, for a maximum of six years.

Board of Directors

Jason Jaffery - Interim President

David Ibata - Interim Vice President

Jeff Denny - Interim Treasurer

Reem Bassous, Artistic Director and Head of Faculty - ex officio non-voting member

Madeleine Sargent, Managing Director - ex officio non-voting member


Jeffrey D. Denny is a seasoned communications professional with broad experience working with national leaders and corporate, public and nonprofit organizations, providing strategic and executive communications including speech writing, internal/employee communications, media relations, web materials and leadership consultation.  He was a political appointee in the President Bill Clinton administration as chief speechwriter to U.S. Secretaries of Defense Les Aspin, Bill Perry and Bill Cohen, and then for U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. Jeff then led executive communications at Fannie Mae for 12 years. A four-year US Navy veteran, Jeff began his career as a journalist in Connecticut and Washington, DC, and was a National Magazine Award finalist for two consecutive years and co-winner of the top investigative reporting award.  

A 30+ year resident of Washington, DC, Jeff now is principle of Jeffrey Denny Communications, LLC, serving a range of clients.  He served on the Washington Studio School board from 2012-16, including ultimately as vice chair, and was instrumental in helping to develop the school’s five-year strategic plan.  


David Ibata is an American painter from the Washington DC metropolitan area. He received his education from the Corcoran College of Art & Design (BFA, 2008) followed by the New York Academy of Art (MFA, 2010). Ibata has been a copyist at the National Gallery of Art since 2012 where he is also a teaching artist for Art Around The Corner elementary school art education program. His work focuses on narrative painting and portraiture and takes inspiration from contemporary cinema, philosophy and life. Recent exhibitions include a solo show 'I See A Darkness' at Transformer Gallery, DC and 'Somewhere near the Inside' at Washington Studio School which he curated. 



Reem Bassous received her BA from The Lebanese American University and her MFA from The George Washington University. She started teaching drawing and painting in 2001 at The George Washington University, taught at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa for 9 years, and at Leeward Community College at the University of Hawaiʻi for 7 years. Bassous continues her journey in education as Artistic Director and Head of Faculty at the Washington Studio School, as of the fall of 2023. Bassous’ regional and national exhibitions include solo shows at the Honolulu Museum of Art, SBCAST Gallery in Santa Barbara, and the Washington Studio School Gallery, in Washington DC. Her work has been reviewed by various publications which include the Washington Post, Art Asia Pacific and Star Advertiser. Bassous’ work is in permanent collections which include the Honolulu Museum of Art and Shangri La Museum for Islamic Art, Culture and Design.  


Madeleine is a painter, photographer, and arts professional with a background in non-profit and commercial art management. She graduated from Wesleyan University with honors as a Studio Art major, where she studied painting and photography. Madeleine is an active member of the DC arts community and is joining Washington Studio School from her role as Gallery Manager at Calloway Fine Art in Georgetown. Madeleine maintains an active studio practice and is engaged in the DC artistic network as a member of ArtTable. Making art accessible and sharing the arts through public programming is her passion. 

Advisory Board

Jo Weiss, MFA, Chair

Founding Faculty Member

Washington Studio School

Eric Denker, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer

National Gallery of Art


Catherine Kehoe, MFA

Visiting Lecturer, Painting

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Mark Leithauser

Senior Curator and Chief of Design (Retired)

National Gallery of Art


Cory Oberndorfer, MFA

Adjunct Professorial Lecturer of Painting & Drawing 

The George Washington University

Adjunct Faculty, Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, American University, George Mason University, Prince George’s Community College and Montgomery College


Jack Rasmussen, Ph.D

Director and Curator

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center 


Jennifer Samet, Ph.D

Professor of Art History 

City University of New York and


Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects NYC

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