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.



Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar

Nerman Family President

A proven administrator, educator, and thought leader, Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar most recently was Acting Director of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design where she managed more than 100 full-time employees and a collection of 215,000 design objects spanning 31 centuries. She has previously served as the Director of Education for Cooper Hewitt, Associate Provost of Education and Access, and the Acting Under Secretary for Education at the Smithsonian Institution. During the pandemic, she led the Smithsonian’s response to the nation’s distance learning needs with a pan-institutional team. Prior to that, she worked extensively in higher education at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma where she advanced from professor in graphic design to director of graduate programs and associate dean of the College of Arts & Design. Neuhold-Ravikumar is also an award-winning graphic designer. 

Originally from Chennai, India, she received her MFA in graphic design from Iowa State University and BFA in the history of fine art and drawing and painting from the Stella Maris College in India. She also has an executive education certificate in business from Yale University and a certificate in museum studies from Northwestern University. 

She served in multiple leadership roles at American Institute of Graphic Arts and was named an AIGA Fellow in 2015 by the Oklahoma Chapter. She has won numerous awards and recognitions including the prestigious 2021 Design Achievement Award from Iowa State College of Design. Neuhold-Ravikumar is married to Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar, president of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. 

Darcy Deal

Senior Director of Admissions

First-time Freshmen Territories: St. Louis, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan
Transfer Student Territories: Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Wisconsin

Contact Information: ddeal@kcai.edu or (816) 982-5344

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.

Allison J. Puff

Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs

An accomplished academic and administrative leader, a professor of visual communications, and a lifelong artist, Allison J. Puff joined the college in August 2022 after more than two decades at Farmingdale College in New York. Her most recent position was Academic Program Manager, where she created and revised academic programs and initiated community college admission agreements that helped to increase enrollment. Prior, she was Associate Provost, Associate Dean of Business, and Chair of the Department of Visual Communications.

Allison has an AST from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, a BA in English and Communication Arts from Ursinus College, an MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts, and is also a graduate of the Management Development Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She served in numerous leadership roles including co-chairing the AIGA National Design Educators Steering Committee, participating as a mentor in the AIGA New York City High School Mentoring Program, and serving on the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum Education Board. She has been a featured presenter at conferences around the world. 

Nicolle Ratliff

Executive Vice President for Advancement and Communications

Nicolle Ratliff joined the Kansas City Art Institute in 2012, where she enthusiastically works on behalf of the next generation of great artists and designers. She spent ten years working in development at art museums, including at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Prior to that she was director of public relations for the American Red Cross in New Orleans, LA. Nicolle currently serves on the Board of Nonprofit Connect and the Center for Architecture and Design. She was a member of the 2012 KC Chamber’s Centurions Class and graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.