Our Leadership

Cheryl Appleman
Founder & President

Ms. Appleman is a long-time educator, program provider, and innovator in the after-school enrichment and summer camp industries. A native of Los Angeles, Cheryl has amassed a long and varied list of accomplishments and accolades spanning over thirty years. She began her career as a ballet teacher (training under Royal Ballet alumnus, Anita Newman), oversaw children’s theater camps through UCLA’s Summer Extension Program, and was a volunteer at the surgical recovery ward of Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. She owned and operated the after-school enrichment company, Kids in Motion, during which time she assisted the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop the first district-approved licensing procedures for enrichment companies operating on LAUSD campuses. After taking a brief hiatus from the industry, Cheryl founded Performing Arts Workshops, which continues to provide arts-based summer camp and enrichment programming to children throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Under her leadership, PAW was named 2010’s Best Summer Camp, Best Children’s Live Theater, and Best After School Program by LA Parent Magazine.

In addition to her work with children, Cheryl has been a leader in the training, development and certification of teaching professionals working in the industry. In 1996, Cheryl founded the Academy of Children’s Services, which was the first California state-registered vocational school for enrichment teachers. ACS would evolve to become the National Enrichment Teachers Association, which developed best practices training and certification standards for instructors throughout the country working in the industry.

Project LEAD was founded by Ms. Appleman as a call to action to educators throughout the country. Cheryl recognized that children at a younger age than ever before need to see themselves as important active participants of society whose voices matter, who are capable of taking on leadership roles, and who have the power to create change. It is Cheryl’s commitment to provide children in elementary and middle school with the skill set necessary to become successful leaders with a sense of purpose and confidence in high school, college, and beyond. Through Project LEAD, Cheryl is providing leadership curriculum in the four core subject areas of Language, Education, Arts, and Debate to educators who will empower the changemakers of tomorrow by nurturing the children of today.

At Project LEAD, Cheryl is the primary creative visionary, providing the team with concepts for programs and curriculum to empower LEAD Educators and students with.  Cheryl connects Project LEAD with networks of experienced professionals in the fields of education, curriculum development, leadership, administration, and business. She performs outreach representing Project LEAD in order to gain insight into student and teacher needs, organize Project LEAD fundraising, and to increase public awareness and notoriety.