Each year, NDI delivers its award-winning arts and learning programs to more than 6,000 public school children per week throughout New York City, and reaches thousands more through 12 NDI associate programs across the United States, and an international exchange program in Shanghai, China. In addition, NDI disseminates its acclaimed teaching methodologies to artists and educators, both nationally and internationally, through its teacher training initiatives.
"I started NDI in the belief that all children should have access to the arts, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that NDI would be what it is today," said Jacques d'Amboise, NDI Founder. "With Traci on board, I'm confident we will continue to impact the lives of young people around the world through the power of dance."
Since 2014, Lester has served as the Chief Executive Officer of LSA Family Health Service, a human services agency, where she was recruited to spearhead the reorganization and growth of the East Harlem-based nonprofit. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, an early literacy, school readiness program, where she developed the organization's expansion plan and overarching fundraising strategy, and served for over a decade making waves in the field of early literacy development.
"We are thrilled to welcome Traci to the NDI family," said Ellen Weinstein, Artistic Director. "As a former educator, Traci's experience in the classroom, coupled with her nonprofit leadership and her personal love of the arts makes her the perfect leader to take NDI into its next phase of growth."
Lester notes, "I am truly inspired by the vision of Jacques d'Amboise. As the daughter of a jazz musician, I grew up in a household where music and the arts played a critical role in everyday life." She continues, "Later, as an educator in the NYC public school system, I saw firsthand how positively my students responded to art, music and dance in their curriculum. It means so much to me to be a part of an organization that feels so passionately about providing young people with access to the arts especially those children that might not otherwise have the opportunity."
Lester replaces Kathy Landau who stepped down from her role as Executive Director.
About National Dance Institute
National Dance Institute (NDI) was founded in 1976 by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d'Amboise, and leads the field of arts education with a model program that is replicated worldwide. Under the Artistic Direction of Ellen Weinstein, NDI uses dance and music to instill in students a love of the arts, a passion for learning, and a desire to strive for their personal best. At the root of NDI's methodology is the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage all children—regardless of background, ability or socio-economic status—and motivate them toward excellence. In addition to programming in New York City, NDI has 12 associate programs in the United States, and one in Shanghai, China. In 2011, NDI opened the doors to the National Dance Institute Center for Learning & the Arts in Harlem, allowing the organization to further its mission and expand its reach. Since its founding, NDI has impacted the lives of over two million children. No child pays a penny to participate in NDI's core programs thanks to the generosity of public and private donations. For more information about NDI, visit www.nationaldance.org.
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SOURCE National Dance Institute