Met Dance Staff

Michelle Smith, Founder and Executive Director
jhon r. stronks, Office/Studio Manager
Nicole Rajkumar, Educational Coordinator

Children, Teen/Adult Faculty

Danielle Betscher, Steve Brule, Roberta Cortes, Cynthia Garcia, Trey Gillen, Bailee Hunt, Alissa LaVargne, Ty Lewis, Cameo Miller, Priscilla Nathan-Murphy, Firat Ozsoy, jhon stronks, Kirk Suddreath, Brittany Bass, James Pitre, Randy Flinn


Board of Directors

Anne Sears, Board President
Michelle Smith, Executive Director, Founder & Acting Secretary
Cecilia Winters-Morris, Treasurer
Marcela Arroyave
Megan Jackson
Haylie Lehtovaara Lindsay Pearce
Crissy Poole Elizabeth Smith

Board Advisors

Judy Nyquist
CC Connor

Our Board of Director's Bio's:

Anne Sears, Board President is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and moved to Houston in 2001.  After practicing law for four years, she transitioned to the nonprofit sector and now devotes her time to community service.  She has experience in development as well as in career coaching.  Anne’s passion for dance began at the Houston Met Dance Center in 2011 when she took her first dance class, and she has continued to be a student of Houston Met Dance ever since. Anne is a member of the Junior League of Houston, where she has gained extensive experience in nonprofit governance through service on the Board of Directors and numerous councils and committees.

Michelle Smith, Executive Director, Founder & Acting Secretary, has a background of over 24 years of ballet training including the New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas Christian University. After college she joined the Delia Stewart Dance Company working first as principal dancer and then as Manager of the company and Director of the school where she established a children’s program and diversified the adult’s program that became the base for the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center. She has been involved in the Houston arts and dance community now for over 30 years. In the business world, Michelle was office manager of several real estate firms for her first 10 years in Houston.

Cecilia Winters-Morris, Treasurer has been a member of the board for approximately twelve years. Cecilia is an independent management consultant with over twenty years of internal audit experience, which includes over six years in public accounting serving clients in the energy and service industries. She is a Certified Internal Auditor and a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors. Cecilia studied dance for many years in New York and Massachusetts. She was privileged to study with Frank Hatchett, co-founder of Broadway Dance in New York and Stephen Boyd in Massachusetts. Cecilia is the wife of Lawrence Morris and the mother of Nathia, Demarcus and Darius. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with Fallbrook Church Boy Scout Troop 272.

Marcela Arroyave is a 10 year plus experienced banker in Houston TX.  She specializes in commercial lending, relationship building and loan portfolio/compliance management.  She graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in Corporate Communication / Finance. As a dancer, Marcela has performed at many events, cultural showcases and benefits in Houston, Los Angeles and New York City. She is founder and director of Candela Dance Company, whom have had the honor of performing at several salsa congresses around the nation.  As an instructor, she had the honor to introduce and successfully incorporate a salsa program at Danse Des Enfants, whom have provided dance/gymnastics instruction to children locally in Houston Texas for over 15 years.   She has also taught adult private and group salsa classes at various dance studios, corporate programs and social events.   

Megan Jackson  is currently the Theater Director at Frank Black Middle School and a Group Fitness Instructor at Lifetime Fitness.  Aside from teaching, Megan Jackson is a writer and an actor. She has performed in numerous plays and staged readings in the Austin and Houston area, as well as in New York City. She has worked with well-known writers, such as Ishmael Reed (Body Parts) and Nathan Jackson (Broke-ology). She also enjoys writing in her blog:, which is her own little therapy session!

Lindsay Pearce is a native Houstonian who grew up dancing with Houston Met Dance (The Houston Metropolitan Dance Center, at the time).  She was a member of the youth company until she left for college to pursue a career in counseling.  She currently works at The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  Lindsay has two small children and is looking forward to introducing them both to the world of dance through Houston Met Dance.

Crissy Poole as a native Houstonian and professionally trained dancer of 20+ years, Krys has performed on local and live television in several shows and for mainstream artists. She obtained her B.A. with a minor in Spanish from Ole Miss, and Graduate Certificate from Texas A&M University in Non-Profit Leadership and Management. Through her expertise in creative direction and performance events, she's worked with nationally recognized dance and theater companies and studios, colleges/universities, non-profits, churches, and organizations. Her work has been requested by World of Dance, H-town Sneaker Summit, RAW Artists, African Fashion Week, Houston Margarita Fest, and an array of entertainment brands. She’s been featured in segments for local and national television, Radio One, iHeartMedia, Cumulus Media, and independent radio. Krys continues to serve as Artistic Director for HeartBEAT Houston Dance and Fitness, Board Member for Houston Metropolitan Dance, Education Committee for Young Audiences, and Vice-President for HeartBEAT Performing Arts Charities.

Elizabeth Smith has a BFA in Theatre from New York University. Previously she was employed by AIDS Foundation Houston, and remains an active volunteer with Camp Hope, their summer program for kids and teens living with HIV. She is currently a grant writer for Open Door Mission and a volunteer at the Junior League of Houston, where she also sits on the Board of Directors. She is also in the process of completing the Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives at Rice University.

Haylie Lehtovaara has been dancing as a hobby since she was 3 years old and has a passion for dance. She moved to Houston six years ago and has experience in Houston nonprofit organizations. She volunteers through the Junior League of Houston and Friends for Life, where she often fosters dogs. Professionally she has a Master's Degree in International Business and has been working in management consulting for 8 years. She recently joined the Houston Met Dance board and is excited to be involved and promote dance in Houston.