A Step Beyond Staff

James Wright , Chief Executive Officer

James Wright joins A Step Beyond (ASB) in July 2020 as the new Chief Executive Officer. Wright has more than a decade of resource development, marketing, and senior leadership experience with local and national nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining ASB, Wright served as CEO for the Classroom of the Future Foundation (CFF), a nonprofit that serves all 42 school districts in San Diego County and prepares students to be college and career ready. Prior to CFF, Wright was the Director of Development and Marketing for Feeding San Diego, one of the leading hunger-relief organizations in the County. Wright also served at the Federation of American Scientists, a national science policy think tank in Washington D.C. Wright holds a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University and a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego. Wright lives in Vista, California, where he enjoys spending time with his wife, Samantha, and sons, Fox and Indiana.

Jennifer Oliver, Artistic Director

Oliver holds a B.A. in dance from University of California, Irvine, and a M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapy from the European Graduate School. Oliver has choreographed and performed both locally and internationally and received a Sator Arts Grant for her performance series Artful Happenings Abound! As an educator and therapist Oliver has provided creative dance education and artful practices for students and adults for 20 years. From 2005 – 2015 Jennifer served as the Associate Director for Young Audiences of San Diego where she co-founded and directed the Arts Education Resource Organization (AERO) and the Teaching Artist Institute of San Diego. Oliver was the San Diego representative for the statewide initiative, Teaching Artist Support Collaborative and served on the National Arts Education Council for Americans for the Arts.

Allison Morrissey, Director of Development

Allison holds a BA in dance and drama for University of California, Irvine and is in her last year of the Master in Nonprofit Leadership and Management program at University of San Diego. She has served on the programming committee of Rising Arts Leaders and is currently a Collette Murray Scholarship recipient with Association of Fundraising Professionals. She has worked throughout Southern California both as a teaching artist/education professional and in development and fundraising for organizations such as the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Musical Theater.  

Araceli Huerta, License Clinical Social Worker, Family Services Manager

  • B.A. in Human Development, Masters in Social Work from California State University San Marcos, and is a licensed clinical social worker
  • 11 years of experience in providing therapeutic services, case management, client advocacy, and an array of social work services. Trained in different therapeutic modalities including; Social Emotional Learning, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Trauma-Informed Approach.


Karla Navarro, Teaching Artist/ Student and Parent Coordinator

Karla Navarro received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from San Diego State University. She was born in San Diego, and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. Prior to joining A Step Beyond, Karla was involved in Harmonium Prime Time after school program, The SDSU Educational Opportunity Program, the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty Leadership Camp (Research Study), and the American Ballet Theatre and Movement Research Intensives in New York City.  

Casey Flores, Teaching Artist/ Administrative and Programs Services Assistant

Casey received her B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies and a B.A. in Dance from University of California Berkeley. Casey led and taught youth development programs for the EDD from 2009 – 2014 and currently teaches with local dance studios in San Diego. Casey founded the Emerging Artist Collaborative, dances professionally with various San Diego choreographers and most recently choreographed for Shared Spaces at Performing Arts Workshop in Encinitas.

Nhu Nguyen, Teaching Artist

Nhu Nguyen began her professional dance career at eight in Vietnam. She worked with HBSO, Vietnam for roughly 7 years while pursuing her education at Vietnam’s National School of Dance and Choreography. Since her migration in 2012, she has been involved with transcenDance Youth Art Project, A Reason to Survive, and A Step Beyond. In 2017, Nhu Nguyen was named the Outstanding Graduate in Dance, completing her BFA in Dance and minor in Visual Art.

Heather Glabe, Dance Teaching Artist

Heather Glabe is a California-based dance-artist and teacher. She holds a BFA in Dance and a BA in Communication from UCSB, and an MFA in Dance from CSULB. Though Heather now resides in Encinitas, she danced within San Francisco and LA communities before relocating to SD County in 2013. Heather has taught dance for such institutions as: CSULB, CSUF, SDSU, UCSD, American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensives in Orange County, and, most recently, A Step Beyond.