YA Mourns the Passing of Former Trustee, Willa Spicer

We mourn the passing of Willa Spicer, who served as a Trustee of Young Audiences from 1999-2019.

Willa’s experience as a school administrator and her role at the NJ Department of Education were critical to advancing our teaching artist-led programs to align with school, educator, and student needs. She was a tireless advocate for creativity in children’s lives and learning. An educator who never really retired, Willa’s service to YA was one of the many generous ways she contributed her expertise to arts and arts education efforts across the state. “Willa was a strong leader with great wisdom. Her commitment to children, education, and the arts was unparalleled,” said Rich Goldman, YA Trustee.

Michele Russo, President & CEO, shared, “Willa Spicer was a household name for me growing up. I went through the South Brunswick School District, while she was in district leadership, and my dad served on the school board. When she joined the YA board, her decades of experience became incredible assets to YA. Willa never minced words or looked for an easy answer, and in doing so always reminded us of our responsibility to children.”

Willa chaired the board’s education committee, where she helped YA adopt the network’s national strategic plan that set the foundation for our guiding core principles: Experience, Understand, Create, Connect. Attending YA National convenings at the time, she instantly became a trusted advisor to many in the YA network, with her combination of direct and experience-informed insight, and her delightful anecdotes about children’s curiosity and intelligence. Willa will be greatly missed.

In recognition of her commitment to arts education, Willa’s family requested donations in her honor to be made to Young Audiences.