Starting January 2nd, Dr. Jennifer Harris will become Rainey Institute’s new Executive Director. Holding a PhD in Urban Education, Dr. Harris is a visionary leader who brings a deep commitment to ensuring all children have access to high-quality arts programming. A native Clevelander, Dr. Harris’ career has spanned the nonprofit sector. Early on, Jennifer taught children at the Cuyahoga Board of Developmental Disabilities before supporting early childhood education at Neighborhood Centers Association (NCA) and then at CEOGC Head Start.
“I am very excited and feel blessed to have the opportunity to lead an exemplary organization that is deeply committed to transforming the lives of Cleveland youth through the arts,” Dr. Harris said. “I have personally witnessed the transformation that can take place in a child’s life when they are involved in the arts. This type of programming is empowering.”
Dr. Harris will succeed Lee Lazar, Rainey Institute’s Executive Director of the past 11 years. Under Mr. Lazar’s direction, Rainey Institute built a new facility, allowing for more youth to be served year after year. Mr. Lazar also led efforts to partner with local schools, libraries, and homeless shelters to provide arts education to those who need it most.
Rainey Institute’s new Executive Director knows she has large shoes to fill and said of Lazar, “I am inspired by Lee’s passion and energy. He has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to this amazing organization. I can only hope to do honor to his legacy by building on the foundation he and others have set.”
Please join Rainey Institute in welcoming Dr. Harris and thanking Mr. Lazar at our community open house on Thursday, January 17th from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm. The evening will include a brief reception, concert, and meet and greet. We hope to see you there!