New Young Audiences Executive Director

23 Jun

Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington

Denis Hickey, a longtime teacher, administrator and arts in education advocate in the Portland metro area, has been appointed Executive Director of Young Audiences Arts for Learning Oregon & Southwest Washington.

Hickey previously worked in the North Clackamas School District for more than 30 years. Most recently, he was the Associate Director, K-12 Curriculum, where he successfully directed four major arts initiatives. He was also a co-founder and director of Sojourner School, a national award-winning elementary school in Milwaukie, OR, noted for its rigorous liberal arts curriculum and exceptional student performance. A longtime volunteer with many organizations that promote arts in education, Hickey holds a Master’s in Education Administration from Lewis & Clark College.

“I strongly believe the arts will lead the way to the reform all stakeholders want to see in education, and I am deeply committed to nurturing our partnerships with schools, artists and the community to make sure every child achieves his or her potential,” Hickey said.

At a time when school budgets are declining and Young Audiences’ programs are more vital than ever, Hickey’s expertise in the educational system is very valuable, according to Young Audiences President Al Davidian.

“Our chapter is experiencing tremendous growth as school administrators seek to leverage their funds and produce improved outcomes,” Davidian said. “Denis will help us manage that growth and still reach as many children as we can.”

Hickey succeeds Gail Hayes-Davis, who is retiring after five years as Executive Director. During that time she increased both the visibility and individual donor contributions through Mad Hot Ballroom, where 5th graders perform what they have learned in dance residencies with artists. She introduced the Right Brain Initiative to the metro area and subsequently became the Implementation Partner for the initiative, and helped secure the largest arts in education grant given for Innovation in Education, i3 with Beaverton School District, Arts for Learning Lessons. In May, she received Young Audiences’ Lifetime Achievement Award for her longtime support of the arts. Hayes-Davis plans to travel with her husband and spend time in Central Oregon pursuing her passion for painting.


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