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July 15, 2022

Farewell and Thank You

Executive Director Elizabeth Schurgin announced this week that she will be leaving her role at the beginning of August after nine years with the organization. Below is the email she shared with the DCYOP community, followed by answers to questions you may have about what happens next.

Dear Friends:

I have some news to share with you: after nine years, this is my last season as Executive Director of DCYOP.

I love DCYOP, and it will always be a part of me. I am incredibly proud of the work that we have done. During this time, we have turned around a venerated but struggling program into a thriving organization, one that is increasingly recognized as a national leader in arts education. Our students have performed with Gustavo Dudamel, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, and for President and Mrs. Obama. They toured five countries, and performed at Chile’s Presidential Palace.

We welcomed new students through our expanded after-school programs and deepened our impact through our Talent Development Program. Recently, in collaboration with the Kennedy Center, Levine Music, and National Symphony Orchestra, we founded Washington Musical Pathways Initiative, which is committed to creating access to transformative musical experiences for student-musicians who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

DCYOP has grown substantially and is in a strong financial position, which has allowed us to successfully weather the COVID-19 pandemic. We are already nearing our pre-pandemic enrollment. You can remain confident that DCYOP and our partnerships and collaborations are in very good shape for the transition to come.

I fell in love with DCYOP because of its drive for excellence, its commitment to its students, its boldness to challenge systemic inequities, and its willingness to accomplish big and exciting things. But what I have loved most about this role is the community of people I have had the honor to work with.

Little will change for students and families. We have a truly dedicated team and an incomparable faculty. Evan Ross Solomon will continue in his role as Artistic Director, providing continuity for staff, faculty, students, and families.

I informed the Board of Directors in the spring of my plan to leave after this season and my last day will be August 5. The Board is in the process of hiring an Interim Executive Director and is preparing to conduct a national search for a permanent Executive Director. I will be available to the organization this fall to provide knowledge and support during the transition. I am mindful of the imperative that all of our initiatives, collaborations, and the strategic plan can be seamlessly picked up by the next Executive Director.

Thank you for being a part of DCYOP’s musical community.

With much gratitude,

Liz Schurgin


Questions About the Transition

What will happen next?

The Board is in the process of hiring an Interim Executive Director, who will likely join the team by the end of July, while the DCYOP Board of Directors conducts a national search for a permanent Executive Director. The Board will engage staff and parents in the process and take the time necessary to find the right person for the organization and our community.

How soon will the interim ED be in place?

Most likely by the end of July. 

How soon will a permanent ED be in the job?

A national search will take several months, at least.

When is Liz’s last day?

Liz’s last day as Executive Director will be Aug. 5. She’ll be available to staff and the Interim Executive Director for several weeks after that to help with the transition. 

What will change for parents, students, and faculty?

Nothing. Scheduling, programming, instruction is all led by Evan Ross Solomon, our Artistic Director, and the stellar program team. Most parents and students won’t notice any difference at all.

Where is Liz going next? 

Liz has been with DCYOP for nine years and informed the Board this spring that she felt the time was right for her to take a breather, and explore new opportunities.

How can I say goodbye to Liz?

Call or email the office. A community gathering is being planned, probably for September, and more information will be made available in August.

Will parents/staff/faculty/students/donors be involved in the national search process?

Yes. Working with a search firm, the Board will engage in an inclusive process.

I’d like to share some thoughts/ideas for the executive search and/or the future of DCYOP.

Great! Please email info@dcyop.org and we’ll share with staff and the Board.