Change may not always be easy, but it is constant! Especially at an innovative organization like the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology. This month we are celebrating the tenure of Executive Director Kim Dabbs as she prepares to move to Germany with her family October 1, while also excitedly welcoming our new Executive Director Daniel Williams, who will join WMCAT in August and work with Kim through the transition.
Kim, executive director of WMCAT since 2012, is relocating to Germany where her husband, Steve Dabbs, will launch an office for Grand Rapids-based software company Appropos. MLive coverage of Kim’s depature
Under Kim’s leadership we increased investments for programming by 115 percent and applied new design principles to our curricula and organizational culture. Kim has empowered our staff to embrace design thinking as a means of strengthening the mission and empowering urban teens to address social issues through arts and technology. She leaves a legacy of sticky notes, filled whiteboards and many new ideas as we all engaged in design challenges!
Kim also positioned WMCAT to be recognized nationally by The Aspen Institute for our work in serving families; and by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities as a 2014 and 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program of the Year Award Finalist. And, this year the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce named WMCAT “Nonprofit of the Year” — a fitting tribute to how far Kim has brought this organization.
Daniel is a long-time friend of WMCAT as principal of one of our strongest partners, Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, and a WMCAT board member. He also accepted the WMCAT Award for Innovation on behalf of UPrep at iBall 2013. Our team is excited to work with and learn from Daniel as he brings extensive experience in urban education and innovation to WMCAT.
Daniel joined the newly created Detroit University Prep High School in 2005 as director of learning through internship and, later, principal support. In 2008 he was hand selected to help launch Grand Rapids University Prep Academy. He was later appointed principal of U-Prep, the first Centers of Innovation School in Grand Rapids Public Schools. The school is a model in innovative learning at the middle and high school level. Daniel received his Master of Education, Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University and his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from University of Iowa.
Change is bittersweet. Change is exciting. And, at WMCAT, change always leads to new opportunities. Good luck to Kim as she takes on Europe — and a hearty welcome to Daniel who joins a team of board, staff and students ready to get to work!