Basie Center taps longtime arts educator as Vice President, Education and Outreach
(RED BANK | JULY 18, 2023) The nonprofit Count Basie Center for the Arts has announced the appointment of Samantha Giustiniani to Vice President, Education and Outreach. Giustiniani replaces longtime Count Basie Center education leader Yvonne Lamb Scudiery, who founded the organization’s education department in 1999 before her 2020 retirement.
Giustiniani, of Freehold, started as a Count Basie Center teaching artist in 2010, and later earned Director and Senior Director roles. She has been instrumental in the growth of the organization’s education efforts, including implementation of mindALIGNED, the Basie Center’s creative teaching initiative, as well as management and growth of the Basie Awards program, the organization’s 2017 acquisition of the Monmouth Conservatory of Music, its participation as the state partner of the national Poetry Out Loud recitation program, and its current efforts to endow hundreds of annual scholarships for students interested in attending classes at the Count Basie Center Academy.
“Samantha has been with the Count Basie Center for more than a decade,” noted Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “And in that time, she has collected a wealth of experience and achievement, growing as the Basie Center itself expanded its capacity in serving the community with inclusive, diverse and quality arts education and outreach experiences.”
“Her hard work, tenacity and creativity will continue to propel our organization forward for years to come.”
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to build upon the tradition of excellence established through our education programs,” said Giustiniani. “It’s especially an honor to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, Yvonne Scudiery, who has done so much to affect the arts in the region. I, along with my team, the Basie Center’s education committee, and our Board of Trustees will work hard to continue advocating for the arts and education.”
Giustiniani earned her BFA in Theatre Performance from Kean University and her MA in Shakespeare and Theatre at the University of Birmingham in England. She credits her own educational experiences as well as the mentorship of Basie Academy founder Yvonne Scudiery as factors in her professional growth.
As Vice President of Education and Outreach, Giustiniani will continue to foster the Count Basie Center’s commitment to arts education, and to putting equity and inclusion at the forefront of its ongoing “Forever For Everyone” endowment campaign. This includes the establishment of hundreds of annual scholarships, which she says will open the doors of opportunity to students.
“We reach thousands of students a year,” Giustiniani says. “What we work to instill in these students through the arts – be it new levels of confidence, the feeling of acceptance, or the recognition that hard work and commitment creates the joy of achievement – is something everyone should have an opportunity to experience.”
“I look forward to working with all of our teaching artists, partner programs, area schools and fellow nonprofits in making that goal a reality.”