SJSA Welcomes New Acting Director, Music Education Director and Orff Instructor

After helming the St. John School of the Arts as executive director since 2006, Jan Kinder stepped down from the position on June 1.

Kinder, who is relocating to the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area, has accepted to be on the SJSA board of directors while the school’s assistant director Kim Wild — who has been with SJSA more than a decade herself — has taken over as acting director.

“The perfect choice to be at the helm as acting director is Kim Wild,” said Kinder. “I’m elated she accepted the position and confident in her ability to lead. I support her ideas and vision for the future of SJSA.”

“Kim has been an invaluable member of the school over the past 13 years,” Kinder said. “As a cherished colleague and friend, I thank her. I could not have done my part without her.”

Kinder, however, wore many hats in her duties at SJSA, including the school’s music education director and Orff instructor. She has tapped several impressive residents to help SJSA fill those roles

“Before stepping down as executive director on June 1, after 27 years being with the school administratively and as a faculty member, I’ve delegated my responsibilities to a few people I respect and admire,” said Kinder.

Bringing years of experience, Eddie Bruce is the art school’s new music education director, Kinder explained.

“His remarkable music experience and knowledge base will complement Kim’s excellence in dance education,” she said. “As a faculty member of both our in-school and after-school programs, he will be able to assist with the further development of the in-school curriculum, and the music and instrumental section of SJSA.”

“I am grateful Eddie accepted this position,” Kinder said. “We have shared similar ideas and visions over the years. Exciting additional programs for our youth will be starting in the fall.”

To head the school’s Orff Schulwerk Music for Children program, which has been a popular early childhood music program at the school since 1984, Kinder asked someone she has been trying to get in the SJSA fold for years, she explained.

“We have asked Shikima Jones to become a member of the SJSA family for many years,” Kinder said. “I am thrilled she has agreed to join us. I am entrusting her with the Orff Schulwerk program. SJSA will be sending her to Boston University in August for training and certification in level I of the Orff Schulwerk.”

“I think she will be a natural at teaching the Orff music approach,” said Kinder. “Her love for music is obvious and working with children her gift. I believe Shikima will add an important part to our long-standing Orff program with her use of cultural songs and stories.”

Kinder also hoped that Jones would launch glee clubs and performing choirs in the schools, she added.

In addition to the in-school Orff program, Jones will be coordinating additional after-school classes with SJSA, Kinder explained.

“SJSA recently partnered with the Department of Housing Parks and Recreation with DHPR Commissioner St. Claire Williams,” she said. “Our two organizations have agreed to work together by combining efforts to offer afterschool and weekend arts education opportunities and classes to the children participating in the DHPR program.”

“As project coordinator for DHPR, Shikima will be a key component and one of the teachers with classes being conducted at both facilities,” Kinder said.

Rounding out the SJSA family will be faculty member Thia Muilenburg, who will be assisting Wild as the school’s music and expressive therapy coordinator.

“I have asked music therapy colleague and SJSA faculty member, Thia Muilenburg, to help Kim as music and expressive therapy coordinator,” said Kinder. “It is my wish to once again provide sessions for children with special needs.”

Although Kinder is starting a new chapter, with so many talented instructors taking over at SJSA, the long-running arts school remains in great hands. The school is hosting a “Spirits of the Tainos” summer camp from June 20 through July 1. For more information on SJSA or the summer camp call Wild at the school at 779-4322.