Betsy May-Salazar has served as executive director of the McLean Community Center for just four months, but the job has been invigorating so far.
“Sometimes it feels like two days and sometimes feels like four years,” she told the McLean Citizens Association’s (MCA) board of directors during a brief presentation May 3.
May-Salazar on Jan. 3 succeeded acting executive director Evan Braff, who had held the job since the July 2022 resignation of Daniel Singh.
The community center’s pace is “very fast, with a lot of moving pieces, which I love,” she said. “The staff is enormously dedicated and invested in bringing the best experience to the community.”
The center’s programming is “fantastic and reaches many different audiences” and the facility gets support from many community groups, May-Salazar added.
“At its core, the McLean Community Center’s role is as a place for members of the community to connect,” she said. “Our vision is to generate inspiration, creativity and connection in McLean and its communities. Our goal is to be a warm, welcoming environment for all, a place for McLean residents who wish to learn, play, relax and connect.”
The center’s strategic plan for fiscal years 2024 through 2028, adopted recently by the facility’s Governing Board, will serve as a guiding document to help shape the center’s direction and emphasis, May-Salazar said.
The center also has implemented some new events, including Fiesta del Sol, which “knocked it out of the park,” she said.
May-Salazar said she plans to continue listening to the center’s community and staff and learning what opportunities there are for improvement and growth before identifying future priorities.
She also is excited about ongoing planning efforts for the center’s 50th anniversary in 2025.
“There’s so much enthusiasm and a plethora of ideas and I really look forward to helping shape and prioritize ways for the community to continue to connect,” she said.
MCA members said they have been impressed so far by the performance of May-Salazar, a longtime McLean resident who previously worked for the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
“I think your appointment to this position is reflective of how much talent we have in McLean and I appreciate that we looked within to find out that we have world-class expertise right in our back yard,” said Jo-Anne Sears of L’Ambiance of McLean Homeowners Association.
“I, too, have children that went through all the [community center’s] programs and all the camps, so it also has a place in my heart when raising my children,” May-Salazar said.