Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania Announces New President & CEO

PRINCETON, NJ; August 10, 2015 — Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania (YA), the leading provider of arts education in the state, has announced the selection of Michele Russo as its new President & CEO. Michele will transition into the role on October 19 as Laurence Capo retires after 25 years of dedication to YA. A national search was conducted by the board of trustees’ search committee led by Board Chair Belinda Roll and Immediate Past Chair Richard Goldman.
“Michele is a proven leader in both the non-profit and arts education field,” said Belinda Roll. “Her wealth of knowledge and passion along with her bright vision for YA’s future will help our organization move forward in its quest to ensure that all children in our region experience high quality arts education.”
Richard Goldman shared, "We are pleased to announce this appointment. Michele will bring leadership, passion and creativity to YA’s programs and a deep sense of commitment to our region’s non-profit sector and the arts education arena. She has a breadth of perspective and experience.”
Michele’s experience includes over 15 years of arts administration, communication, program development and assessment in the non-profit arena. She leaves her position at The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation where she managed the Biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, the largest poetry festival in North America, the Poetry in the Schools Program and participated in the Dodge Emerging Leaders Program. Prior to her time at the Dodge Foundation, she served as a Senior Education Associate at Young Audiences New Jersey where she managed programs that included Creative Beginnings Early Childhood Residency and Professional Development Program, Artists-in-Education Long-Term Residencies, and Arts 4 Learning Literacy Lessons. As a volunteer, Michele has dedicated her time, passion and expertise to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Essex County, the Morristown Festival of Books and the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown.
Michele obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in French from The College of New Jersey. She has been published as a co-collaborator of early childhood arts integrated curriculum in Young Children: The Journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has presented nationally and regionally on arts education.
Michele shared, “I am honored that the board has chosen me to lead Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania in this new chapter. I am thrilled to bring my experience from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and my passion for arts education to this important organization. Under Larry’s leadership, YA has made incredible progress in its mission to reach every child with the arts. I am eager to work with the board, staff and artists to grow YA’s reach, continue to adapt to the educational landscape, and deliver programs that nurture and expand the creativity, cultural understanding and learning skills of our children.” 
“I could not be happier with the board’s selection of Michele,” shared Capo. “I am confident she will carry forward our rich legacy.  She has an expansive vision, proven passion for the field and a depth of knowledge and skills to bring the organization and the field of arts education to its next level.”  
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