Charles Washburn Announces His Retirement and Successor

Posted Tuesday July 18 2017 at 11:05 pm.
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Charlie Washburn and Nicole Agois

A message from Charles Washburn:

When Maida Abrams, founder of VSA Massachusetts, approached me about joining her team over thirty years ago, I thought I would help her build her organization for a while and then move on.  I really had no idea that I was signing on to an international movement that would become my career.  Now the time has come for me to move on, I will retire in November.  Correspondingly, I am happy to announce that Nicole Agois has agreed to accept a new position at the Seven Hills Foundation, as Managing Director of VSA Massachusetts.

Unlike when I started, Nicole already knows VSA intimately and has demonstrated her passion for this work.  Her first exposure to VSA came as a volunteer at the Ann Sullivan Center, the VSA Affiliate in Lima, Peru.  After her studies at the Boston Conservatory and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, we were lucky to recruit Nicole onto our team, moving throughout the organization over the past thirteen years as her leadership and the organization matured together.  She is also well known in the VSA Network, sharing field-leading knowledge and application of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), teaching artist development, and school partnerships.  Last year she served on the City of Boston's Leadership Council surrounding the creation of our sector-wide cultural planning process.  Needless-to-say, she is an exceptional artist, practitioner and leader whom we are deeply lucky to have assuming this essential role.

Nicole's team will include Marian Taylor Brown, who worked with us as an intern while she was in Harvard's Arts in Education Program, as a COOL Teaching Artist, and has also exhibited in the Open Door Gallery.  Marian will serve as Organizational Consultant through a special arrangement with the Institute for Community Inclusion and UMass Boston, where she is a doctoral candidate in Global Inclusion & Social Development.

The COOL Schools team will include Aysha Upchurch, who also started with us while studying in Harvard's Arts in Education Program, and who helped us develop the COOL Schools Model over the past two years as our COOL Schools Associate Director.  New to the COOL Schools team, Mia Branco will join as the Program Manager, bringing experience as a teaching artist and intern, having just completed Harvard's Arts in Education Program.

Upcoming this year, VSA Massachusetts will set a new course for both our COOL Schools and our Cultural Inclusion programming, creating a strategic plan to take us to our 40th Anniversary in 2020, and beyond.

I am grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve the community and for all the friends and colleagues who have been on this journey with me.  I will still be on the job through October, so don't hesitate to stay in contact.  After that I will be reachable at cjwashburn@gmail.com and Nicole can be reached at nicole@vsamass.org.

One comment

Tx for leading VSA Massachusetts so beautifully all these years. You will be missed. And so thrilled that Nicole will be stepping into this leadership position. As you point out, she's a remarkably talented artist and brilliant thinker. And the organization. will surely continue to thrive with her leadership. Mindy Fried (URL) - July 19 2017


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