Fernando Pullum

Executive Director

Fernando Pullum earned his bachelor's degree in music education (1981) and master's in trumpet performance (1983). Fernando moved to Los Angeles in 1984 to follow his dream of becoming an educator and professional musician. He assumed the music program at L.A.'s Washington Prep High School. Under his tutelage, the program thrived. In 1989, Los Angeles Unified School District recognized Fernando's music program as the first music magnet in South Los Angeles.

During the years that followed, 100% of Fernando’s students graduated with a high school diploma and only one student failed to enroll in college during the next fifteen years. Fernando has been recognized by many organizations and individuals throughout his tenure, including Oprah, VH-1, the John Lennon Foundation and the State of California as its teacher of the year. He has performed and recorded with many industry greats, such as Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Jackson Browne, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Eddie Murphy, Fishbone and more.


Over the years, Fernando’s students have performed for many dignitaries, including President Ford and Prince Charles. The students have performed with Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Lionel Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and many other incredible musicians. They have opened the Playboy Jazz Festival four times and traveled to Cuba, Brazil, Spain, and New York. Six of his former students have won Grammys. 

James Bancroft

Chief Operating Officer

James Bancroft’s background includes both the private and nonprofit sectors. Over the course of two decades James was active in the municipal finance sector.  He was a founder and senior executive of an investment-banking firm and was directly involved in the structuring, placement and/or supervision of $6 billion of financings for affordable housing.  This work required management of financing teams involving major banks and insurance companies, real estate developers, local and state governments and securities underwriters & attorneys.  James is particularly proud of his efforts that helped create 10,000 affordable apartment units for low-income persons, mostly in California.  In 1994 he joined the Board of Directors of St. Joseph Center in Venice, CA, a provider of social services to the working poor and homeless.  In 2000, James started winding down his financing activities and became the working, pro bono Chairman of SJC.  For the next decade he led the agency in a restructuring and substantial expansion of its operations, upgrading of its staff, and a successful capital campaign and construction project that resulted in a new headquarters. Today St. Joseph Center is at the forefront of addressing homeless issues in Los Angeles.  In 2015 James was introduced to Pullum Center by a mutual friend, and, after serving as an advisor for six months, he joined the Pullum Center staff, pro bono, to manage its business and fundraising operations.

Kavya Velagapudi

Development Officer

Kavya is a Certified Fund Raising Executive with eight years of diverse experience generating revenue and resources for nonprofits. With a Masters in Social Welfare and a concentration in Non-Profit Administration & Policy Advocacy, Kavya has a unique blend of development, management, and clinical skills. Before launching Honu Fundraising, she was the Development Director of International Museum of Women, now part of Global Fund for Women, in San Francisco. Prior to joining the Museum, Kavya was the Western Region Director of Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles, where she oversaw all development, communications and program services in Starlight’s Western Region. Kavya has raised funds for various nonprofits through grants, special events, corporations, memberships, annual appeals, crowd-funding, e-appeals, silent auctions, and major gifts.

She began working with the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center in 2017 to assist with the organization's fundraising and marketing efforts.

Tracy Williams

Office Manager

Tracy has a M.A. in Chemical Dependency Counseling and a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education from Grambling State University. She previously worked for over 15+ years at a non-profit organization as a Program Coordinator providing case management services to women and their families affected by the use and abuse of illicit drugs. She was employed by Richard Health and Associates to provide oversight to agencies who were contracted to enroll participants into Covered CA during its inauguration of the program. In July 2015, Tracy joined as a part-time Office Manager at the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center. Prior to her tenure as Office Manager, Tracy worked on several theatre productions with the Pullum Center as the Production Manager. Tracy's son is an alumni of the Pullum Center and he participated in several productions including Lion King, Feeling Good, and Dreamgirls. Tracy is also employed full-time for the L.A. County Department of Health Services-Housing for Health as a Program Analyst. Tracy has a passion for helping others, which is evident by her work at the Pullum Center, where she truly believes we are saving living through the arts!  

Our Teachers

Professional Performing Artists

Throughout the school year and the summer session, Pullum Center employs 15 to 20 teachers who are professional performing artists and/or college graduates or students with majors in the performing arts and music education.  They teach from weekly lesson plans designed in accordance with State of California standards for the performing arts.  All relish the opportunity to share the performing arts with underserved children who are so eager to learn.


Board of Directors


Jim O'Brien

Chairman of the Board

Senior Managing Partner, Napier Park Global Capital

Pamela Bright-Moon

Board Member

Broadcast Engineer, CBS Television City

Tony Calloway, M.D.

Board Member

Anesthesiologist & President, Calloway Management

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Frank Clementi

Board Member

Principal, Smith-Clementi Architects

Kevin Eskowitz

Board Member

Music & Entertainment Law, Rothenberg Mohr & Binder, LLP 

David Jackson

Board Member

Board Member, Zegar Family Foundation

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Kevin Kelly

Board Member

CEO, KellysRun Consulting

Michael Lashendock

Board Member

Partner, Senior Relationship Manager, Napier Park Global Capital

Ken Pace

Board Member

Corporate Executive & Consultant, Entertainment Industry

Alan Palmer

Board Member

Product Manager, Kawai America Corporation


Fernando Pullum

Board Member

Executive Director, Fernando Pullum Community Arts center

Michael L. Ross

Board Member

Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Delicious Vinyl


Brian Reaves

Board Member

Senior Vice President, Chief Belonging, Diversity & Equity Officer, UKG

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Carol Shaw

Board Member

Owner, CJ's Elegance


Frederick Smith, Jr.

Board Member

Founder/CEO, All Music Television Digital Network

Four-time Emmy Award Winner

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Brian Warfield 

Board Member

Founder Fisticuffs Music Production

Grammy Nominee

Advisory Board

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Jorge Arciniega

Partner, Legal Firm of McDermott, Will & Emery

Frank Harris

Retired Music Teacher & Director, L.A. Unified School District

Craig Keys

Senior Vice President Business Affairs & Strategy, SME Entertainment Group, a Live Nation Company 

Brian Rothschild

Executive Director, John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

Isabella Scocozza

Principal & Director, Joseph E. Soehl Middle School

Artist Council

Jackson Browne

Singer / Songwriter / Musician / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Gandhi Peace Award

Ted Lange

Actor / Director / Screenwriter / Heroes & Legends Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Christian McBride

Jazz Bassist / Composer / Arranger / GRAMMY Award Winner

Rickey Minor

Music Director / Producer / EMMY Award Winner / Author 

Kirk Whalum

Saxophonist / Recording Artist / GRAMMY Award Winner