Leadership + Faculty

A team committed to your success

Faculty, staff and trustees at the Kansas City Art Institute are all dedicated to students’ success and want to help you thrive here.



Tony Jones ᴄʙᴇ

The Nerman Family President

Tony Jones ᴄʙᴇ joined KCAI in December 2014. He is an internationally known arts administrator, broadcaster, educator, exhibition curator and historian of art, architecture and design, as well as a consultant on higher education and the arts. A citizen of both Britain and the United States, he was educated at Goldsmith’s College in London and the Newport College of Art in Wales as a sculptor, painter and art historian. He came to the United States for postgraduate study as a Fulbright Scholar. He was appointed president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986, serving in that capacity until 1991, when he took a position as director of the Royal College of Art in London. He returned to SAIC in 1996 and served as president until 2012 when he was named chancellor and president-emeritus.

Conferred the title Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2003, Jones holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, six honorary doctorates and an array of international honors. He was conferred the Austrian Knight’s Cross for services to education in Europe, elected an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and received the Distinguished Service Award of the American Lawyers for the Arts. He is a former two-term national chairman of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, a consortium of which KCAI is a member. In 2011, a historic landmark building in downtown Chicago was named Jones Hall in his honor.

In addition to numerous books and articles, Jones has scripted and hosted several television series and radio programs for the BBC. Jones is also president of the Sir James Dyson Educational Foundation in America, co-chair of the Royal College of Art Foundation and international ambassador of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (“Young Arts Miami”).

Bambi Burgard, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Bambi Burgard joined KCAI in 2000 as assistant dean for academic affairs and director of the academic resource center. In 2006, she became associate vice president for student achievement; from 2008 to 2010 she served the college as interim vice president for enrollment management; in 2010 she was promoted to vice president for enrollment management and student achievement; and later that year, she was named vice president for academic affairs. Before coming to KCAI, she worked in the student counseling center at University of Missouri-Kansas City and in private practice. Burgard earned her doctorate in counseling psychology from University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a licensed psychologist in Missouri and Kansas.

Gina Golba

Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Gina Golba joined KCAI in 2006 as director of student affairs. In 2012, she was promoted to dean of students. She currently holds the position of dean of student affairs, working with registration, academic and career advising, disabilities and academic support, as well as student life. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Pittsburg State University and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Kansas State University. She has 15 years of experience in student affairs, including participation in a number of professional organizations, including NACA, ASCA and AICAD.  Prior to joining KCAI, she held positions at Southwestern College and Kansas State University.

Brian Henke

Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer

Brian Henke, who joined KCAI in May 2020, works closely with KCAI’s Board of Trustees and serve as liaison to the Facilities, Finance & Audit, Investments and Retirement Plan Committees. Henke has over 20 years of nonprofit management experience, most recently as the Director of Operations at the Kauffman Foundation where he oversaw the operation of the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center and managed multi-million dollar budgets for the
Foundation’s many areas of focus. Henke also led the Kauffman Scholars Program where he performed budget oversight for more than 1,000 individual scholars and built a network of postsecondary institutions, working closely with their Admissions, Student Life and Financial Aid departments. Brian has also served as the lead on many facility-related projects, working closely with architects and contractors and managed building renovations.

Emily Hess

Vice President of Advancement and General Counsel

Emily Hess joined KCAI in 2013 from the Pembroke Hill School, where she was the director of annual giving and stewardship. Previously, she was at a small non-profit in Kansas from 2010-2011 as a development officer specializing in planned giving. From 2006-2010, Hess clerked for the probate judge of Jackson County, Missouri and was a practicing attorney in the area of Estates and Trusts at a Kansas City law firm. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in art history from the University of Kansas and a juris doctor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.​

Milton Katz, Ph.D.

Professor, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Dr. Milton Katz teaches American studies; art, literature, and peace and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Ban the Bomb: A History of SANE, the Committee for Sane Nuclear Policy,” 1957-1985 (Greenwood Press, 1986); and more than two dozen articles, book chapters and reviews on peace and social justice issues in contemporary American history. He consults and is a visiting professor at the Institute for Creative Conflict Management at Syracuse University. He worked with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education in its “Witnesses to the Holocaust” project served as its Vice President of Education. He has presented lectures on art of the Holocaust in educational and religious institutions throughout the U.S and Europe. In 1998, he received the KCAI Special Projects Award; in 2001, the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award; and in 2007, the KCAI Distinguished Achievement Award. A member of the KCAI faculty since 1974, Dr. Katz earned a bachelor’s degree from Rockford College in Illinois and holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees from St. Louis University.

Nicolle Ratliff

Executive Vice President for Advancement and Communications

Nicolle Ratliff joined KCAI in 2012 from the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, where she was development director. Previously she was at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from 2004-2010 as the manager of individual giving. From 2001-2004, she served as the director of public relations for American Red Cross in New Orleans. A member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce 2012 Centurions class, Ratliff was an ambassador for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, serving on that group’s executive committee from 2006-2010. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and graduated cum laude.

Karen Townsend

Vice President for Enrollment Management

With 19 years of progressive experience in admissions and recruitment, Townsend most recently served as the Director of Admissions of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston. Prior to her work at SMFA, Karen held leadership positions at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Maine College of Art, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. Townsend received her B.F.A. from Corcoran School of the Arts And Design | George Washington University in Washington, DC.