VP of Education & Community Engagement
“fun, committed, creative”
With more than 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, Marshell Jones Kumahor’s career has been marked by an aptitude for building strategic partnerships among diverse stakeholders. She has leveraged a broad base of skills and experience in community engagement, arts education program design, team leadership and general management to forward the mission of the NJSO. Since Kumahor joined the NJSO in 2009, the ECE Team has increased the statewide reach of its offerings by more than 40%, nearly tripled its earned revenue, launched two nationally recognized programs, and garnered the department’s first ever endowed chair.
An alumna of the LEAD New Jersey Class of 2015, recipient of the 2015 Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award and member of the inaugural 2016 class of the Cultural & Ethnic Arts Executive Leadership Certificate Program (Rutgers Business School), Kumahor serves on the Steering Committee of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership and the Executive Committee of the Newark Arts Education Roundtable. She was recently invited by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Director of Education to serve on the 2016 NEA Arts Works grant review panel.
Prior to joining the NJSO, Kumahor led all aspects of single- and multi-year grantmaking at The Center for Arts Education in Manhattan. In this role, she helped to ensure that nearly $10 million in grant funds to support arts education was disbursed to more than 350 public schools and 250 arts and cultural organizations across the five boroughs.
An avid yoga practitioner, proud “newlywed” of fifteen years, mother of two boys and long-time resident of Montclair, NJ, Kumahor holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Education & Community Engagement Assisstant“Outspoken, determined, mobilizer”
Monika A. Szumski is a Montclair State University alumna where she graduated summa cum laude in Music Performance, focus on flute.
She currently works with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as the Education & Community Engagement Assistant, providing support to all programs in the NJSO education department and continues to aggressively advocate for the arts. It is absolutely imperative to expand the audiences of present day orchestras and musical programs to include those who may not have had the opportunity otherwise.
In addition to her work with the NJSO, Ms. Szumski maintains a private studio, giving flute, piccolo, and piano lessons in the North/Central Jersey areas. She performs regularly with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey as their second flutist/piccolo and gigs in the tri-state area in all genres of music on flute. Along with a classical background, Ms. Szumski highly values music of others cultures and is a West African Drummer, giving workshops for all ages to local schools, hospitals, summer camps, and functions of all kinds.
Overview of NJSO: Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.
Under the bold leadership of Music Director Jacques Lacombe, the NJSO presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.
What makes NJSO unique and necessary? In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music, serving more than 60,00 New Jerseyans annually. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People performances and multiple offerings—including the NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles and El Sistema-inspired NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project)—that provide and promote instrumental instruction as part of the NJSO Academy. The NJSO’s REACH (Resources for Education and Community Harmony) chamber music program annually brings original programs—designed and performed by NJSO musicians—to a variety of settings from preschools to hospice facilities in nearly all of New Jersey’s 21 counties.