A classical singer and former Petoskey enrichment and middle school teacher, Heather Russell serves as the Education Director at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts.
Ms. Russell is the point of contact for educational programming for schools and youth throughout the region. “Being on staff at the Center blends my favorite worlds – the performing arts and education of youth in the arts in Northern Michigan,” said Ms. Russell. “Having been raised with an appreciation of and a lifelong passion for the arts, and having spent 27 years as an educator at the Petoskey Public Schools, I know it is essential that today’s children, as well as adults, have exposure to a variety of genres and opportunities to express themselves through the performing arts.”
During her time in the public schools, Ms. Russell also served as the Enrichment Coordinator, where she developed programming yearly for 150 gifted and talented students in grades 6-8. She also started a FIRST Robotics program to encourage students to pursue their education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and led the team to the World Championship in its first season in 2011. Additionally, Ms. Russell was the founding director of the Little Traverse Youth Choir which toured throughout Michigan, New York, and Canada under the auspices of Voices Without Borders and hosts an international choir and dance festival annually. Ms. Russell followed her musical passion and sang in Carnegie Hall in the winter of 2019.
“Heather brings extraordinary background and experience to the Center. As we move into the education component of the Center’s mission, she is a key resource for how we can best reach and inspire youth and support teachers in that objective,” said Jill O’Neill, the Center’s Executive Director. “She is working closely with the Education and Programming Committee and its chair, David Crouse, to develop programs that will have wide-reaching impact.”