The Wellesley Public School system should get off to a strong start in Performing Arts for the 2015-2016 school year, having hired a new department director and a new high school orchestra director in June. While the news was shared with performing arts parents, students and staff shortly before school let out for the summer, little has been made of the moves more publicly until now.
Dr. Sabrina Quintana took over as head of the Performing Arts Department on July 1, returning to work in Massachusetts after spending the past 5 years with the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District in Texas, where she was director of music education for all K-12 programs and director of the performing arts center, which opened in 2013. She’s had a ton of responsibility there, supervising more than 65 music teachers at 25 different campuses serving some 20,000 students.
Quintana announced to her Texas colleagues in May that she would be leaving them for the job in Wellesley and graciously wished them the best of luck. Boston is actually home for Quintana, who earned her doctorate in musical arts at Boston University and served as director of music for Winchester Public Schools before heading to the job in Harlingen. Her husband remained in the Boston area for the past five years while Quintana shuttled back and forth to work in Texas.
Wellesley Parents of Performing Students had a chance earlier today to meet Quintana and are looking forward to the start of the new school year, which among other things will feature the musical Grease being performed at Wellesley High. Quintana impressed those at the get-to-know-you session with her background, which includes being trained as a classical singer and starting up a girls’ choir in Texas about 30 years ago that is still thriving. What’s more, she has two young adult children who are involved in music and education.
Wellesley’s Performing Arts Department has had its share of controversy and instability in recent years, though interim director Dr. Sandra Nicolucci helped to settle things down this past year.
Further stabilizing the program, Dr. Sergey Khanukaev will be joining the high school Performing Arts Department as orchestra director. He is a professional orchestra conductor, pianist, and violinist, and has earned doctorates in both Orchestral Conducting (from Boston University) and Music Theory (from the Moscow Gnessin Music Institute). Khanukaev has worked with youth and adult musicians at the Gates of Music private studio, as the musical director for the Jewish Community Center in Newton, and with the Boston Commonwealth Lyric Opera.