The Cathedral Arts Project (CAP) has appointed Melanie Hammer as its first Vice President of Strategy and Operations. She will begin her service on October 11, 2021.
This position was created to guide the implementation of CAP’s new strategic plan, which was developed with broad input from stakeholders throughout the community. In her new role, Ms. Hammer will advance the strategic plan’s four pillars: to enhance student programs that celebrate and develop every child’s unique skills and strengths; to team up with student families as crucial partners; to advocate for Northeast Florida to lead the nation in providing essential and accessible arts education that recognizes, amplifies and grows every child’s creative spirit; and to refine and develop CAP’s fellowship program infrastructure to become the national model.
Ms. Hammer brings more than 20 years of arts education leadership to the newly created role. She has served at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville for the past 16 years, including as Principal since 2017. Prior to that, she served as Assistant Principal for eight years, the Curriculum and Testing Coordinator for one year and as a math teacher for four years.
In 2016, the Art Schools Network honored Ms. Hammer with the Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Arts Leader Award — which recognizes the top emerging arts leader in the nation. Under her leadership, Douglas Anderson earned National Magnet Certification from Magnet Schools of America and the school was named an Exemplary Arts School by Arts Schools Network in 2018.
Helping children develop their full potential through a quality arts education has been Ms. Hammer’s life’s work — and her own life’s story.
“Growing up, I took dance classes multiple days a week and practiced on the days I did not have class. I loved dancing and performing, and would look forward to my dance classes each week. Little did I know that the dance training I received at a young age would not only make me a well-rounded student, but also prepare me for life,” Ms. Hammer said. “Dancing taught me patience, practice, confidence, problem-solving skills and collaboration — all skills that are needed to be successful in life. Arts education is essential for all students to gain crucial skills that they will carry with them in all they do.”
“Ms. Hammer has consistently demonstrated the kind of collaborative and curious leadership style that builds others up while reliably achieving and surpassing goals and objectives,” said Rev. Kimberly Hyatt, CAP President & CEO. “She is uniquely qualified to help CAP leverage its strengths as a nationally recognized, proven and trusted organization in order to help children develop the life skills they need to succeed.”Ms. Hammer is uniquely qualified to help CAP leverage its strengths as a nationally recognized, proven and trusted organization in order to help children develop the life skills they need to succeed. #CAPkidsjax Click To Tweet
In speaking about her new role, Ms. Hammer said, “Spending the last 20 years in arts high schools, I have seen firsthand the powerful impact the arts have on children. The arts not only teach important skills, but they also connect students to school in ways nothing else does. The biggest joy of my career in education is watching students be successful in ways they could never have imagined. Over the years, I have seen CAP’s impact on students and arts education in Northeast Florida. I am privileged for this incredible opportunity to join this passionate team, and to increase access to the arts for all children in Northeast Florida.”
“On behalf of Team Duval, I thank Ms. Hammer for her 16+ years of service to the Douglas Anderson community. Under her leadership, the school gained regional and national recognition for its exemplary programming — setting the stage for thousands of students and alumni to thrive in the visual and performing arts,” said Dr. Diana L. Greene, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools and a member of CAP’s Board of Directors. “While her presence and passion will be missed, we extend our warmest wishes for her continued success in her new role. Duval County Public Schools and CAP have a longstanding partnership, and I know her talent for arts education will bring even more opportunities to our students across the district.”
Ms. Hammer is a member of the Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2022. Prior to moving to Douglas Anderson in 2005, she taught math at a dual arts and math magnet school in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education, and the University of North Florida, where she earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
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