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Remembering Joanne Saliba: A Champion of Education and the Arts

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Joanne Saliba, a beloved Board member and unwavering supporter of MUSYCA.

Joanne's impact on the worlds of education and the arts has left an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to have crossed her path. Joanne's journey in education began as a Theatre Arts teacher at Buckley School, where she ignited a passion for creativity and self-expression in her students. Her dedication and love for teaching later led her to work with adolescents facing learning and behavior challenges, and her commitment only grew stronger as she assumed the role of Executive Director at Poseidon School in West Los Angeles.

For over three decades, she dedicated herself to various aspects of non-profit education, proving her unwavering commitment to nurturing young minds. She emerged from retirement to serve as the Interim Executive Director of Charter High School of the Arts, Multi-Media & Performing (CHAMPS) in Van Nuys, impacting the school's artistic and educational pursuits.

Her dedication to inclusivity and advocacy for students with special needs shone brightly through her leadership position as the President of the Board of Directors of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (CAPSES). Additionally, she played an integral part in the Modified Consent Decree (Special Ed.) with LAUSD, demonstrating her commitment to creating a better future for students across Los Angeles.

In the civic arena, Joanne chaired the Community Action Board (CAB) with the City of Los Angeles. Joanne's legacy is particularly significant in the arts community. Her volunteer efforts knew no bounds – she was the President of the Colburn School's Friends of Colburn Executive Committee and a member of the President's Council. Joanne was also a founding member of the 24th Street Theatre's Board of Directors and served as its president for three years. She has served on the Board of Directors of the East Valley Family YMCA and played a vital role in the 2015 Community Support Campaign, demonstrating her commitment to community growth and well-being.

Joanne Saliba resided in Toluca Lake with her husband, Reynold. Her passion for the arts was passed down to her three children. Her son Leon Saliba-Blight performed in several choral groups led by MUSYCA's artistic director, Dr. Shtangrud, such as the Colburn Children's Choir, the Young Men's Chorus, and the Burbank Chorale.

Joanne profoundly impacted MUSYCA during her many years of serving as a dedicated Board member. Her legacy will forever resonate within the MUSYCA community, inspiring future generations to embrace the arts with the same enthusiasm and commitment that defined Joanne's life.

Joanne's journey was one of unwavering dedication to education, the arts, and her community. Her spirit will live on in the lives she touched, the students she inspired, and the institutions she enriched. As we remember Joanne's legacy, let us be inspired by her commitment to making the world a more vibrant, inclusive, and compassionate place through education and the arts.

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