The year 2012 heralds a big anniversary for the American Boychoir — its 75th. As if that isn’t news enough, a new president and CEO has been named for the school, and the school is orchestrating its move into the new Princeton Center for Arts and Education, a joint enterprise with the French American School of Princeton and the Wilberforce School, at the former St. Joseph’s Seminary in Plainsboro.

Dean Orton has been named president and CEO of both the American Boychoir School (ABS) and the Princeton Center for Arts and Education (PCAE) by the boards of both institutions. Orton began his new role effective January 1.

Orton brings leadership, management skills, and development experience to ABS and PCAE. Most recently Orton was the senior vice president of media services and chief development officer of Connecticut Public Broadcasting. Orton was at the forefront of rebuilding station facilities as it transitioned to digital broadcasting and expanded its educational mission. He led a team of 60 in the areas of content, network operations, development, and community engagement. Additionally, he took a leadership role in building the new 20,000-square-foot Journalism and Media Academy for middle- and high-school students in Hartford. He is a graduate of Buena Vista University in Iowa.

“We welcome Dean Orton and his family to the American Boychoir School and look forward to a long and successful collaboration supporting the mission of ABS while advancing the Princeton Center for Arts and Education into a thriving community for students and audiences who value the arts and humanities,” says Chester Douglass, chairman of the board of the American Boychoir School.

The American Boychoir is the only non-sectarian boychoir school in the nation; the choir is regarded as the nation’s premier concert boychoir. Boys, in grades four through eight, reflecting the ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity of the United States and the world, with both U.S. and international students, pursue a challenging musical and academic curriculum at the school. The school was founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 1937, and has been located in Princeton since 1950.

“This is an exciting time to be joining both of these organizations,” Orton says. “The American Boychoir, a national treasure. PCAE, as a new organization, presents untold potential for the greater Princeton community.”

Orton will also lead the new Princeton Center for Arts and Education, which promotes the growth and sustainability of independent schools and arts organizations. PCAE facilitates the sharing of campus buildings among these organizations, which retain their autonomy and governance. This groundbreaking institution is believed to be the nation’s first such shared campus of independent schools at the elementary and middle school levels.

Robert L. D’Avanzo, chairman of the PCAE Board, notes that Orton was selected after a nationwide search assisted by the Catherine French Group of Washington, D.C., a premier arts leadership search firm. “Dean was chosen from an impressive field of candidates with vast experience in the arts, management, and fundraising,” D’Avanzo says. “From this national field, our search committee believes that Dean brings the perfect mix of experience to lead these two organizations.”

The American Boychoir School, PCAE’s lead resident organization and its only boarding school, will move to the Plainsboro campus in August, 2012. PCAE is already home to the Wilberforce School and the French-American School of Princeton.

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