Essex Heritage Announces New Leadership and Presents Partnership Awards

Essex Heritage Announces New Leadership and Presents Partnership Awards

Regional leaders elected to serve on the Commission and Pioneer in Partnership Awards presented at Annual Fall Meeting on October 4


October 9, 2018 – The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage), a non-profit that manages and provides numerous programs preserving and enhancing Essex County’s historic, natural and cultural places, welcomed business and community leaders from around Essex County to its Annual Fall Meeting on Thursday, October 4 at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield. The business portion of the session focused on the importance of sustaining the region through youth engagement, partnership projects and regional awareness. The Commission also announced its newly elected trustees and commissioners, and presented its 2018 Essex Heritage Pioneer in Partnership Awards and Special Recognition Awards.


New Trustees, and Commissioners Elected

Essex Heritage is governed by a 25-member Board of Trustees and supported by over 100 Commissioners who live and/or work within Essex County and who serve as representatives of the communities, businesses, community organizations, educational institutions and historic, cultural and natural resources of the region. “Our Trustees and Commissioners serve an important role as ambassadors and advocates for this region,” said CEO Annie C. Harris. “Essex Heritage is pleased to welcome the new Trustees and Commissioners, and we’re grateful for their leadership and support in promoting regional cooperation in Essex County.” 

The following individuals were elected to serve the Essex National Heritage Commission:

New Trustees, 2018-2021

·John Thompson, from Rockport; with Curtin & Associates

·Arthur Veasey, from West Newbury; with the Whittier Birthplace

·Jared Ward, from Wenham; with Eastern Bank


New Commissioners, 2018-2021

·Matt Wilding, Peabody Essex Museum

·Jessica Pappathan, Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport 

·Jason Consalvo, Salem Five

·Kate Bowditch, Greenbelt


Pioneer in Partnership Awards

Each year, Essex Heritage and the National Park Service present the Pioneer in Partnership Awards to individuals and organizations who exemplify the commission’s spirit of collaboration. The award recognizes those who build partnerships and celebrate the nationally significant places that form the Essex National Heritage Area.

2018 Pioneer in Partnership Award Recipients:

1)Glenn Gibbs, Town of Ipswich:  in recognition of his dedication to preserving & enhancing the historic and natural resources of Essex County. Glenn Gibbs is the Director of Planning & Development for the town of Ipswich.  He has held this position for nearly 25 years, and prior to that, he served as the Planning Director for the City of Gloucester.  Glenn has always been a wonderful partner to Essex Heritage– representing the best interests of the region as well as his community In Ipswich, Glenn has undertaken numerous initiatives to preserve and celebrate the Town’s significant resources, including developing the pedestrian bridge and walk along the Ipswich River; streetscape improvements at the North Green; the development a way-finding sign program; the installation historical interpretive signs and at present, he is overseeing the extension of the Riverwalk directly into the heart of the downtown. He was recognized with a Pioneer in Partnership award in part for his wonderful help with the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. Glenn not only helped Essex Heritage with locating the kiosk in Ipswich but he also voluntarily refined and edited all of the content for the project – which required coordination between 14 different communities along the Byway. Glenn is someone who volunteered his professional expertise and passion for heritage to enhance a regionally focused initiative.


2)Jordan Ricciard, Sanborn Elementary School in Andover: in recognition of her dedication to connecting the community though art and creativity across generations. Jordan Ricciardi is a 5th grade art teacher at Andover’s Sanborn Elementary School and an alumna of Essex Heritage’s Park for Every Classroom program. Jordan is a real believer in immersive education and community collaboration - which is something that Essex Heritage feels is very important to the future of this region. Jordon  developed a very creative program for her students in which they developed interviews for over 30  people in the Andover community - including senior citizens, municipal employees, artists, lifelong residents, and newcomers - to find out what they think makes their town special. In addition to conducting the interviews, her 5th grade students also created a song with a local musician, & visited the Addison Gallery to get inspiration and ideas for creating community art. The result was each student and each community partner designed a piece of large puzzle – and there was a celebratory event in which the puzzle pieces were fit together And the students presented their song, spoke about the process, and community members spoke as well. The celebration transcended the school’s boundaries and created a very moving experience for the students and the larger Andover community.


3)Cheryl George, Danvers High School: in recognition of her ability to ignite community-based stewardship of the Putnamville Park area on the Danvers rail trail. Danvers High School Biology teacher Cheryl George inspired her students to work with the Danvers Rail Trail Committee and other partners to explore the Putnamville Park and wetlands area alongside the rail trail. After participating in a Park for Every Classroom, Cheryl inspired her students to create a community survey about and found that very few residents understood the importance of this place. They developed interpretive signs explaining the wildlife and plants. They also created a website so that visitors can get more information about these important environmental resources - so close to this well-used section of the trail.  With Cheryl’s help, her students are applying science and technology to educate and inspire their community to preserve this important resource.


4)Masconomet Regional High School Social Studies Department: in recognition of their commitment to connecting their students to the heritage of the region by providing innovative learning opportunities. Masconomet Social Studies Department holds a semester long historical documentary project that coincide with their study of early American History.  Using the Essex National Heritage Area as a starting point, students chose an historic site located in Essex County.  They conduct research on the site and into its context - the social, economic, and political climate  - in Essex County, and by extension, the United States. In addition to researching the site and interviewing the current occupants, the students also learn how to make a documentary film. Once the films are created, the students share them in class, providing their classmates with a virtual tour of important places in the Essex National Heritage Area; the results are extraordinary. Essex Heritage has enjoyed screening a number of these films during the past several years at the Salem Visitor Center. Essex Heritage greatly appreciate the Masconomet Social Studies Department’s commitment to recognizing the benefit of providing young people a window into the rich and diverse history of the Essex National Heritage Area. 


Special Recognition Awards

During the Fall Annual Meeting, Essex Heritage presents Special Recognition Awards to individuals who have gone above and beyond in their field and have completed work or are working toward enhancing initiatives that better the region. This year’s Essex Heritage Special Recognition Awards honored two individuals who’s hard work and dedication will be appreciated for generations to come.  

2018 Special Recognition Award Recipients:

1)Ana Nuncio, Salem: in recognition of her commitment to bridging cultures and communities and providing resources and opportunities for youth. Ana Nuncio recently retired as the manager of the House of the Seven Gables educational programs and settlement partnerships. In this role, she coordinated educational programing and services for the Latino community in Salem. Several summers ago, Essex Heritage partnered with Ana and the Gables to create the “Caribbean Connections” summer enrichment program for young English Language Learners.  The program has grown over the years to become a mainstay in the Gables curriculum – and is helping recent immigrants to understand the important connections that have existed between the north shore and the Caribbean for more than 300 years. Ana also spearheaded the Community Conversations at the Gables providing important interactive workshops about immigration past and present. She also taught adult English literacy and citizenship classes. In the greater Salem community, Ana served as the president of the Latino Leadership Coalition and was recently elected to the Salem School Committee. Ana’s commitment to bridging cultures, giving a voice to underserved communities, and to providing resources & opportunities for youth is an inspiration to us all. Essex Heritage is honored to call her a friend of the organization and appreciate her dedication and passion. 


2)Paul Crofts, Danvers: in recognition of his dedication to preserving natural heritage resources & inspiring the next generation of stewards. Paul Crofts teaches Natural Resources Management at the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers.  But his power & impact goes way beyond the classroom.  He regards the entire campus at Essex Tech as a learning lab – that presents endless opportunities for his students to solve real world problems.  From looking at water quality degradation problems caused by the campus farm animals to finding innovative solutions for eliminating invasive species – Paul is a master at asking the questions, providing the tools and then inspiring his students to solve the problems. Two years ago Paul enrolled in Essex Heritage’s Park in Every Classroom  summer workshop.  Not only did Essex Heritage’s Park for Every Classroom program help to enhance his work, but he also taught us some important lessons in student directed learning. This year Paul and his students offered a unique Trails & Sails event that showcased the new nature trail they built at Essex Tech. Several Essex Heritage trustees and staff attended and were amazed by what has been accomplished at the Tech and by the passion that his students have for the natural resources. Their unwavering enthusiasm for the environment and their commitment to protecting and enhancing it is a true mark of a wonderful educator.


Photos of the 2018 Pioneer in Partnership Award Recipients are available for download online at:


Media Contact: 

Anya Wilczynski, Manager of Membership & Programs

(978) 740-0444