Southwest Florida Music Education Center names Jennifer Clark executive director.

Southwest Florida Music Education Center names Jennifer Clark executive director

Clark has served as vice president since the center launched

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) has promoted Vice President Jennifer Clark to executive director at the helm of its groundbreaking music, mental health, and life skills programming for neurodivergent young adults.

“Jen has proved a capable leader in the center’s launch, often the most challenging time for an organization,” said Rob Moher, founder and board chair of the Southwest Florida Music Education Center. “She has brought together an amazing team, helped us to solidify partnerships and welcomed new families and staff to our center. Her passionate leadership will see this important, first-of-its-kind education center well beyond launch to growth and success.”

Under Clark’s leadership, the center has launched programs, recruited students, partnered with community, arts and educational organizations, raised funding, renovated a temporary location, purchased a building for the permanent campus and developed plans for growth. SWFLMEC was named Nonprofit Rising Organization of the Year for Southwest Florida at The Community Foundation’s annual ENPY nonprofit awards Oct. 18.
Clark, a graduate of the University of Florida and a member of the Leadership Collier class of 2021, brings wide-ranging experience from several Southwest Florida nonprofits, excelling in nonprofit administration and community impact.

This fall, SWFLMEC began offering two-year and four-year post-secondary music certificates at Artis-Naples’ Toni Stabile Education Building, focusing on core areas of musical skill development for students who learn differently than their typical peers. The program is a partnership initiative with the Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

SWFLMEC has acquired the Gaynor building at 2655 Northbrooke Drive, part of the former Hodges University Naples campus, with plans to transform it into the new music center’s permanent campus. Initial planning has begun to renovate the building in a way that will allow student musicians from all over the country to experience a world-class facility, follow their passion for music and reach their full potential. Future plans include specialized practice rooms, state-of-the-art classrooms, a recording studio, a practice performance stage and administrative space to eventually accommodate up to 50 full-time students. Plans for the 5.8-acre campus also include adding a student dormitory, performance site and shared community space.

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Dr. Teresa Taylor

Dr. Teresa Taylor

Director of Mental Health

In her role as director of mental health, Dr. Teresa Herrero Taylor will provide behavioral and program support to student musicians and staff. Born and raised in Boca Raton, FL, Taylor has practiced as a licensed psychologist and doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst for over 15 years, conducting evaluations and providing individual, group and/or family intervention and therapy working with both children and adults with anxiety, depression, ADHD, executive functioning weaknesses, autism spectrum disorder, social skills weaknesses, behavioral difficulties at home or school, and/or other life adjustment needs. An experienced, independent, motivational leader, she is passionate about mission-driven work and is excited about empowering neurodivergent young adults to be at the center of change through music and the arts. She has been an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate Psychology Department at Rider University for the past nine years and has worked in New Jersey public education for more than 20 years, overseeing behavioral, social skills, and mental health assessment, intervention, and programming across multiple school districts as a director of special services.