Judy Hixenbaugh recently announced that she will be retiring at the end of the month from her position as executive director of the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach. Latitia (Tish) Sheesley will replace Hixenbaugh as the new executive director effective Nov. 1.
"It's been and honor and a privilege to serve as the executive director of the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach," Hixenbaugh said. "I've had the opportunity to work closely with our amazing and talented staff and board of directors, combined with the unyielding support from our generous community.
"Together, we have continued to grow our core arts programs and have begun planning for an expansion of our arts center in the near future," she added.
Hixenbaugh began her career with the Cultural Center eight years ago as the director of development. Under her leadership, the Cultural Center introduced the PVB Home and Art Tour, now one of the largest and most profitable fundraisers for the organization.
Three years ago, Hixenbaugh was promoted to the executive director position following the retirement of Dick Williams.
During Hixenbaugh's tenure, the art tuition enrollment set new records; the sound connections music therapy outreach program for children with special needs expanded from one elementary school to four and fundraising events grew popular enough for larger venues.
Hixenbaugh has been involved with community and board leaders to expand the Cultural Center from its current 7,800-square foot facility to a state-of-the-art, 15,000-square foot arts center. Hixenbaugh plans to remain active with the Cultural Center following her retirement. She will participate in the steering committee for the new building, and she has been invited to join the board of directors in 2018.
Sheesley, Hixenbaugh’s successor, has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit leadership. She comes to Ponte Vedra from a state-and-county-designated local arts agency in Southwest Florida where she served as the executive director and was responsible for providing leadership and direction of the county's cultural assets.
Sheesley has experience working with city, county, tourism development and chamber of commerce representatives, as well as local businesses and community organizations on fundraisers, cultural arts programming and opportunities for artists, including art walks and other arts festivals.
Sheesley's community involvement included being a county commissioner appointee to the Tourism Development Advisory Board; sitting on the "Alive After 5 Art Walk" committee and serving as missions director of the Susan G. Komen SW Florida organization. She is a graduate of University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in advertising/public relations.