Rhoda Bernard believes that all people must have access to high quality arts education and the opportunity to engage meaningfully in arts experiences. She currently is the Founding Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, a catalyst for the inclusion of individuals with special needs in all aspects of visual and performing arts education. The Institute's three main pillars of work include Arts Education Programs for people with special needs, ages 3 to adult; one-of-a-kind Graduate Programs in Music Education and Autism; and Professional Development offerings for educators and other individuals in the field. With the motto "Arts Better the Lives of Everyone," the Institute strives to provide arts participation and arts education opportunities for all people.
Before founding the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs in 2017, Rhoda was the Chair of the Music Education Department and Director of Autism Spectrum Programs at Boston Conservatory, where she developed and led graduate programs to train public school music educators. Prior to that, she taught Music Theory and Music Education courses at New England Conservatory of Music, and co-founded the Conservatory Lab Charter School, a public charter school in Boston where students receive music classes every day, like every other subject.
Rhoda holds a Bachelor's degree in Government from Harvard University, a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Voice Performance from New England Conservatory of Music, a Master's degree in Arts in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an Ed.D. in Teaching and Learning from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rhoda spends her free time performing jazz music and Jewish music in Yiddish and Hebrew in synagogues, private parties, folk festivals, and clubs throughout the U.S. She also enjoys attending live music, theater, dance, and opera performances and festivals, playing piano, and practicing the accordion.