Currently Beyond the Bars has over 20 incredibly talented and driven volunteers who contribute to the everyday planning and execution of programming. Whether teaching music, serving on the board, or strategically planning how to best help our students, Beyond the Bars volunteers are vital to it running.


Christopher Thornton

Co-Executive Director

Christopher graduated from West Chester University with a dual degree in Philosophy and Anthropology and has been teaching youth for over five years. Having worked with various nonprofits throughout Philadelphia, and a 3 year director with Beyond the Bars Chris is well versed in how to provide effective pedagogy in musical instruction as well as how to form useful and positive connections throughout the community to help guide their students throughout the city.

Matthew Kerr

Co-Executive Director

MAtthew worked as a teacher throughout Philadelphia schools as both a history and a music teacher when he was asked by a student to come teach music at PICC. What started as a small once a week lesson has grown into a full program. Before his work with Beyond the Bars he performed in a variety of musical acts that have toured, graduated from Temple University Summa Cum Laude with a degree in education and started music programs in high schools

Matthew Jernigan

External Director

A Graduate from Temple University’s jazz studies program Matthew is a skilled musician who organizes and leads Beyond the Bars External Program. Overseeing the creation of the curriculum and organization of the students and teachers, Matt works to provide a safe space where students in Beyond the Bars’ programming receive a holistic education. When he is not teaching, Matt is in high demand as a professional musician performing throughout the city.

Juwan Bennet

Director of Workshop Activities

Juwan Z. Bennett is a Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Temple University. He also serves as the director for the Temple University Urban Youth
Leadership Academy, a program designed to equip the next generation of African-American leaders. Juwan is also a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar, and is working with
Education Professor Dr. James Earl Davis examining how alternative education programs can be successful at preventing juvenile delinquency.A fun fact about Juwan is that he is an accomplished musician, performing live for
President Barack Obama.

Josephine Selbeau

Lead Vocal Instructor

Pierce Jordan

Community Outreach Director

Pierce is an established member of Philadelphia’s music Scene where he has performed for a number or touring acts. He is also an excellent teacher who uses his connections within the music scene to recruit more talented artists and seek positive experiences for our youth. A member of Beyond the bars for over two years, Pierce Jordan understands the needs of the program and helps with strategic planning to help it continue to grow.



Alex Held

Audio Engineering Director

A trained audio engineer, Alex Held has recorded dozens of Philadelphia based acts over his years in the city. He has also taught with Beyond the Bars for over two years and helped to start Beyond the Bars Recording Workshop Program that takes place in both our internal and external program. Whether it’s teaching drums or showing students how to record in a studio, Alex is always looking for new ways to have the students have their talents heard.

Eric Ammon

Director of Financial Operations

Eric attended Temple University for Business Administration and is certified in non-profit fundraising. He has worked as Senior Financial Representative at Citadel Bank for over three years where he earned top distinctions and became ranked on the President’s Council.