mindALIGNED – Arts Integration Collective Impact


Adam Philipson

Executive Director of the Count Basie Theatre since 2012. Adam has an extensive background in the arts and has developed exemplary educational and community outreach programs throughout his career.

Dr. Brent Hasty

Executive Director of MINDPOP in Austin, Texas. In partnership with the Austin Independent School District (ISD) and the City of Austin, MINDPOP has implemented creative teaching strategies in their schools to get the entire city working on this pilot to make all Austin schools “Creative Campuses” by 2023.

Participation and support partners on the project include: the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Arts and Culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts and Education Partnerships, the Arts & Education Center, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, individual arts groups, and many elected officials.


Jeremy Grunin became the first Ocean County resident on the Red Bank (Monmouth County) based Count Basie Board of Directors in 2015. In his first meeting, Jeremy was excited to hear Adam Philipson talk about their work in creative teaching, or as it is sometimes called, Arts Integration. This approach to teaching integrates fine and performing arts as a pathway for learning.

The Grunin Foundation brought its NJ arts partners to the table and Adam brought in Brent Hasty, from MINDPOP out of Austin, Texas in an effort to create a collective impact initiative that leverages the resources of education, the arts, civic and governmental organizations, business, philanthropy and families to transform the communities of Ocean and Monmouth Counties through equitable access to the arts and creative learning in and out of schools.

To carry out this idea, six pilot schools, three from Ocean County and three from Monmouth County are designing the pilot implementation to build the program to best fit each individual school district’s needs. The beauty of this program is our collective desire to create a truly collaborative experience.


It is our combined goal to make creative teaching instruction a tested and successful methodology to aid students’ learning.  Our Foundation wishes to create an arts rich community in Ocean and Monmouth Counties to serve as a template for all schools wishing to increase their students’ learning outcomes.


The mindALIGNED pilot phase is underway at Red Bank Middle School, Middletown Village Elementary School, Park Avenue Elementary School in Freehold Borough, South Toms River Elementary School, George J. Mitchell Elementary School in Little Egg Harbor and Ocean Academy in Bayville.

During the current phase of the pilot, data will be collected and observations made, consistent with the goal of a regional expansion and the creation of cornerstones for arts-rich communities. Changes in students’ attitudes, attendance and test scores will be measured over time to gauge the success of creative teaching and the impact of increased arts education. Like MINDPOP, mindALIGNED’s goals are noble: a reinvigoration of learning, greater engagement and test scores, and a brighter classroom experience for teachers, students and parents alike. By 2030, the goal is for every school district and community in Ocean and Monmouth Counties will become mindALIGNED and designated as arts-rich.

The JLGF is working closely with Adam and Brent to ensure they have the support they need to create the instructional program. Jeremy Grunin has also recently been named the co-chair of the mindALIGNED Steering Committee.

UPDATE!!!! We are thrilled to announced six more schools are joining in on mindALIGNED for 2018-2019!

  • East Dover Elementary (Toms River)
  • Freehold Learning Center
  • Point Road School (Little Silver)
  • Markham Place (Little Silver)
  • Shrewsbury Borough School
  • Frog Pond Elementary (Little Egg Harbor)

For more information, visit the MindAligned website.