Longtime Executive Director of the Kenan Center Announces Retirement | local news

Longtime executive director Susan Przybyl this week announced her departure from the Kenan Center effective March 31, 2023.

“It’s extremely difficult to step down after almost 25 years at the Kenan Center,” Przybyl said. “I’m leaving Kenan Center in a good place to move forward. We have strived to keep up with best practices during my tenure and I know we will continue to do so. We have brought forth fresh new faces with many great ideas to continue making Kenan the great residential center it is – ready for generations to come.”

R. Scott DeLuca, president of the Kenan Board of Governors, said while board leadership knew that day was coming, it couldn’t be easier to see Przybyl go.

“The entire Lockport community owes a debt of gratitude to Susan for her consistent, warm and visionary leadership of the Kenan Center for the past 20+ years,” said DeLuca. “Throughout her tenure, she has guided the Kenan Center through the development of countless programs, spearheaded efforts toward our new arena, community center and campus master plan, and guided us through the COVID-19 pandemic. Their accomplishments are remarkable and impressive and have had a tremendous, positive impact on Lockport and the Kenan Center.”

Przybyl began working for Kenan Center Inc. in 1998. As General Manager, she has led the growth of Kenan Center by employing best practices in capital improvement and capital projects, endowment fundraising, marketing, programming, strategic planning and volunteer recognition.

The Kenan Center was twice named Best Art Gallery and Best Place of Interest in 2001 in the 2016 and 2019 Lockport Union-Sun & Journal “Best of the Best” reader polls. In 2017, the entire organization received the Arts Service Initiative’s Sparks Award for Cultural Organization of the Year. Other awards include the Binational Star Award, presented by the Binational Tourism Alliance, which recognizes leadership, partnership and best practices. In 2006, Kenan was named an All Star Cultural Center by Western New York Life magazine.

Personally, Przybyl was nominated for the YWCA’s 2007 Niagara Award in Management; In 2005, she became the first woman to be recognized as an Outstanding Arts Administrator by the Buffalo & Erie County Art Council.

Przybyl led the Kenan Center through the Great Recession and the Covid Pandemic. She is particularly proud of having initiated the official Kenan Center Endowment and an annual fundraiser through funding partnerships. The center raised millions of dollars and undertook capital and program projects including the renovation of Kenan House, new roofs, modernization of the Taylor Theater building, lighting of parking lots, acquisition of new technology, conversion of the arena annex back to a recreation room and development of Daisy’s Adventure Garden and a second Montessori classroom; production and publication of a children’s book about William Rand Kenan, Jr.; and countless programs for people ages three through 100.

“During my time at Kenan, I had so many great mentors from the community,” Przybyl said. “The idea of ​​people giving back by supporting an institution is a strength of character that is found heavily in Lockport. What’s amazing to me is that this extends to seasoned professionals who are willing to take the time to share their knowledge and support me. Some of my Lockport mentors have passed away, but they will always be in my heart.”

The Kenan Center Executive Committee will serve as the official selection committee for the next Executive Director and will make a recommendation to the Board of Governors.

Przybyl’s successor will be chosen before her departure in March and the board hopes for a transitional period during which the successor can work alongside Przybyl.

DeLuca said the search will be “thorough” and an executive search firm, Career Partners International/Buffalo-Niagara, has been hired to assist.

“The breadth of the Kenan Center’s programs, including visual arts, performing arts, lifelong learning and education, along with our well-known athletic and recreational programs, make this a unique position and requires diligent searching for the right candidate. ” he said.

Przybyl said she’s ready to spend more time with her family, especially her grandchildren who are “growing up way too fast.” She also plans to take piano lessons and do some volunteer work.

“I hope I achieved my goals at the Kenan Center and ‘was the change you want to see in the world,'” she said, citing an attorney attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.

DeLuca said the Kenan Center will miss Przybyl “and her wisdom and guidance.”

“We are delighted that Susan will enjoy this next chapter in her life and wish her a very long and happy retirement. The Kenan Center is poised for a bright future, and we stand ready to serve the Lockport community for many years to come.”

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