NECCA announces leadership transition

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Wed, 09/16/2020 - 8:59am -- Denise Sortor

After three years under the leadership of Jamie Hodgson as executive director, the New England Center for Circus Arts is launching a search for a successor and has appointed Wendy Harrison to serve as interim executive director.

The transition was announced by Elizabeth Wohl, chair of NECCA’s board of directors, to staff and students in late August.  Harrison assumed duties on Sept. 8.  Those interested in submitting materials to the Executive Director search committee can find more information on NECCA’s website.

Hodgson joined NECCA in 2006 as a coach, and has helped develop many of the classes being taught there. In 2009, she developed the school’s successful Intensive Training Program for aspiring professionals, and led that program until 2017, when she developed and led NECCA’s new three-year ProTrack program. She was appointed executive director in 2018. Wohl said that Hodgson’s three-year tenure as executive director at NECCA “has been marked by consistent growth, financial strength and a keen attention to maintaining and improving NECCA’s reputation for high-quality circus instruction in a safe, warm and supportive atmosphere.”

Hodgson is leaving NECCA to take a role closer to her home in Connecticut as the Deputy Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice. Harrison, who recently resigned her position as Rockingham municipal manager, brings to NECCA a deep reservoir of leadership experience and a demonstrated commitment to serving Brattleboro’s non-profit community.  Previously, she served as director of community and government relations at the Retreat Farm, and as director of development and community relations at the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust. Before coming to Brattleboro in 2015, she held a number of municipal management positions in Florida, and she earned a master’s degree in governmental administration from the Fels Center of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hodgson stated: “I am thrilled that Wendy will be shepherding NECCA through this next chapter and will bring her significant expertise to manage the organization we hold so dear. NECCA is stronger than ever and I know that Wendy will help to expand NECCA’s potential, while serving the mission, heart, and soul at the root of everything NECCA does.” NECCA was founded in 2007 by Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion, who currently serve as Director of Programming and Producing Director, respectively.

NECCA is an internationally recognized circus school known for outstanding physical and creative programming.  NECCA provides a high level of circus training for students who aspire to be professionals, is committed to excellent entry-level training and access to those in our community with limited options. It attracts visiting guest artists and instructors from around the world and offers inspiring professional circus performances. NECCA’s state-of-the-art circus trapezium on Putney Road in Brattleboro, hosts expanded programming with height for swinging trapeze and flying trapeze, trampoline and tramp wall with a foam pit, and superior teaching and performance facilities. On the web: