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Board of Directors

Who We Are

Amber Linde


Amber Linde serves as a Program Officer for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Virology Branch's Adenoviruses, DNA Tumor viruses, Parvoviruses & Poxviruses Portfolio. She supports extramural research studies that advance mechanistic, methodological, and data-analytic approaches to discover, integrate, describe and/or analyze DNA viruses. 


Prior to her work at the NIH, Amber worked for the Department of Defense for 20 years and managed portfolios containing grants and contracts that directly supported alternative medicine and approaches to mental health through nutrition, art, and meditation for US military personnel. 


In 2019, Amber became a proud comeback musician. She started playing again at the Browningsville Cornet Band on tenor saxophone. Amber enjoyed that band so much she was encouraged by her fellow musicians to join other bands. In 2021 she started playing for the Market Street Big Band where she plays tenor saxophone and flute. In 2022, Amber joined two more bands, The Swinging Harmony Band and the Harmony Cornet Band. There she plays tenor, alto saxophones, and the flute. In 2021 she serves on the Board of the Browningsville Cornet Band and in 2022 she became the Manager of the Market Street Big Band. 


As Amber’s day job focuses on grants and contract management, using that knowledge, she has written and successfully received grants for various art programs. With this background, Amber is very proud to be offered the President of Italia Performing Arts Institute where she will actively serve for the nonprofit to encourage professional and student learning in the dance arts. 


Amber resides with her husband Seth in Frederick, Maryland. She holds degrees from Walden University (PhD), University of Maryland (MS), and Winthrop University (BS).


Peter Kirk


Peter Kirk lives in Woodstock, Virginia, USA, with his wife Lorenza (married 2009) and their two dogs. Born in Britain, he lived many years in Chelmsford in the south east of England.

His academic life started in the study of Physics at the University of Cambridge and completed postgraduate courses in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. He worked for several years in the electronics and software industry, including design of accounting software. He studied theology to MA level at London Bible College, now London School of Theology. After training in linguistics he served with Wycliffe Bible Translators and the United Bible Societies on a Bible translation project in the Caucasus region, partly living in that region and partly based at home in Chelmsford. 

In 2012, Peter and Lorenza moved to the United States and opened Italia Performing Arts LLC, a dance studio in Winchester, VA. As a trained bookkeeper and tax preparer, he is the Business Manager for the studio which includes responsibility for its accounts, student database, website, and marketing. 


In 2018, he was one of the founders of the non-profit Italia Performing Arts Institute. Initially, the IPA institute was to promote scholarships for those pursuing dance in the Shenandoah Valley region where Peter has served as Treasurer. He will continue to serve as Treasurer as the IPA Institute expands its vision in the opening of the ARTEINMOVIMENTO Dance Company.

Laura Fieo


Laura is a Frederick County, Virginia resident that has been a special education teacher for 23 years. She has been teaching at Admiral Byrd Middle School in Frederick County since 2005 and has been the lead special education teacher since 2017. Laura is also an active member in her church, Stephens City United Methodist Church and participates in several committees. She serves as the Chairperson of the Preschool, the Secretary of the Worship Committee and Church Council, and is on the Daycare Board. She also teaches Sunday School.


Laura has had a love for the arts starting at an early age with taking ballet and tap, participating in church children’s choir and handbell choir, playing the flute and piccolo in the school band, marching band, and a community marching band. She has two daughters that have participated in dance since an early age.


Laura helped to create the Italia Performing Arts Parent Committee, which helped to organize parents to assist with shows and functions. When the Italia Performing Arts Institute was formed, Laura helped to establish it and is the secretary for the Institute. She has helped to organize fundraiser events and other activities and events that are sponsored by the Institute. Laura started to work part-time for Italia Performing Arts where she has taken over the responsibilities of ordering costumes for shows and competitions, organizing parent volunteers for shows and events, assisting to promote events for the studio on

social media.


Angela Palombi


Angela is a Frederick County, Virginia Resident working in healthcare for 23 years as a MRI/CT technologist. Her family has long been native to northwest Virginia and West Virginia. Her personal exposure to the arts growing up was dance, music and arts of many different styles, Her parents were florists. She has family members who are music therapists, art teachers adding designers, photographers and a variety of educators. She has two young daughter age 13 and 11 who are talented and involved in various music and dance styles. Her love for the arts run deep. She had served in church as worship chair and various other roles. She has a passion to help wherever she can to promote the arts in the Shenandoah Valley that create the community connections of respect and love for one another through the arts. 

Yolanda Shields


   Dr. Yolanda Shields MBA, Ph.D., Founder, and CEO is a global business advisor/strategist and best-selling author who has over 20 years of experience as a business leader and also does international workforce development and social entrepreneurship work in the continent of Africa and other 3rd World Countries. She is a much sought-after speaker and trainer in the area of business startup, entrepreneurship, nonprofit startup and sustainability, fund development, public/private partnerships, human capital management, and social entrepreneurship. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States, France, and Africa. She holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Human Resources Management as well as a Ph.D. in Strategic Leadership.

  She was appointed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and other Tennessee Governors to the Labor and Workforce Development Board for the State of Tennessee and Vice-Chair of the Oversight Committee for over 15 years. She is currently a board member of the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board, Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, GO Virginia Region 8 Council member.

  She has assisted over 30 corporations in the areas of business operations, workforce development pipeline strategy, talent development, human capital management, strategic planning, executive coaching/training, business operations, celebrity charity management, and public/private partnerships. She is also currently a mentor/coach at the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Vanderbilt University Wond’ry Innovation Center, and Yolanda is an International Member of the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society.

She has worked with such celebrities as CeCe Winans, Darrell Green, Art Monk, Tony Boselli, and many others. Yolanda is the author of 6 books with the first book released in September 2013. She is also a Huffington Post Contributor.

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